Drink driving is an offence that involves driving after consuming too much alcohol. To get an idea of how much is “too much,” read our article about alcohol concentrations and standard drinks.
Drug driving is driving under the influence of a drug. It also includes driving with any amount of certain drugs in the driver’s system.
A number of offences in the ACT fall under the umbrella of drink and drug driving. This article provides an overview of those laws. Since the authorities regard drink and drug driving as a serious offence that often carries severe penalties, you should always consult a lawyer if you are accused of a drink or drug driving offence.
The most common drink driving offence is driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA). For most drivers, that means driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 or more. PCA offences are described in more detail in a separate article.
It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a road or an area related to a road while under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. “Under the influence” means the driver is incapable of maintaining proper control of the vehicle. The offence is punishable by a fine and by imprisonment of not more than 6 months for a first offence or 12 months for a subsequent offence. Conviction also requires a license disqualification of 6 months to 3 years for a first offence and 12 month to 5 years for a repeat offence.
Riding a bicycle or a horse, cattle, or sheep while under the influence is also an offence. It is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of not more than 6 months.
A defence is available to a person charged with DUI if the person did not start, or attempt to start, the motor vehicle, and if the person did not attempt to put the motor vehicle in motion. Whether the driver was actually “under the influence” often provides a basis for defending against a DUI charge.
It is an offence to drive with any detectable amount of certain drugs in the driver’s system. Those drugs are:
A first offence is punishable by a fine and a licence disqualification. A repeat offence is punishable by a fine, a licence disqualification, and imprisonment of not more than 3 months.
Drivers can be tested for the consumption of drugs or alcohol. Refusing a test is an offence. A separate article explains refusal offences in more detail.