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Drink Driving Penalties in South Australia

The serious consequences of drink driving include fines and lengthy driver licence disqualifications

The Road Traffic Act creates three major drink driving offences in South Australia. If you are charged with one of them, defences are available. You should consult with a lawyer to determine which defence is best suited to your case.

PCA

Driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) is the most common drink driving offence in South Australia. The offence is committed if you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that equals or exceeds that PCA that applies to you.

For most drivers, the PCA is 0.05. The penalties for exceeding the limit always include a fine. Additional penalties are:

  • First offence

First offence penalties are given to drivers who have not been convicted of a drink driving offence within the previous 5 years (or 3 years if the prior conviction was a PCA offence of less than 0.08).

BAC less than 0.08 — 4 demerit points and a 3 month licence disqualification (although those penalties can be expiated by the court).

BAC at least 0.08 but less than 0.15 — 5 demerit points and an automatic licence disqualification of at least 6 months.

BAC of 0.15 or higher — 6 demerit points and an automatic license disqualification of at least 12 months.

  • Second offence

BAC less than 0.08 — 4 demerit points and a licence disqualification of at least 6 months.

BAC at least 0.08 but less than 0.15 — 5 demerit points and an automatic licence disqualification of at least 12 months.

BAC of 0.15 or higher — 6 demerit points and an automatic license disqualification of at least 3 years.

  • Third offence

BAC less than 0.08 — 4 demerit points and a licence disqualification of at least 9 months.

BAC at least 0.08 but less than 0.15 — 5 demerit points and an automatic licence disqualification of at least 2 years.

BAC of 0.15 or higher — 6 demerit points and an automatic license disqualification of at least 3 years.

  • Subsequent offence

The penalties are the same as for a third offence, except that the licence disqualification is at least 12 months for a BAC of 0.08 or less.

DUI

Driving under the influence means driving, or attempting to drive, when the consumption of alcohol has made the driver incapable of exercising effective control of the vehicle. In addition to a fine, the penalties are:

  • First offence

A licence disqualification of at least 12 months, 6 demerit points, and possible imprisonment for not more than 3 months. If the court finds that the offence was trifling, however, the minimum license disqualification is one month.

  • Second offence

A license disqualification of at least 3 years, 6 demerit points, and possible imprisonment for not more than 6 months.

Refusal

Refusing to take a breath test that a police officer is authorized to request is an offence. In addition to a fine, the penalties are:

  • First offence

A licence disqualification of at least 12 months and 6 demerit points.

Subsequent offence

A licence disqualification of at least 3 years and 6 demerit points.

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