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Combination drug and alcohol offences in drug driving topic

Information about the offence of driving with both alcohol and a drug in their system.

A driver can be charged with a more serious offence if they are caught driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle with both illicit drugs and alcohol present in their systems.

Two offences have been created to capture drivers caught:

  • driving with both prescribed concentration of alcohol and more and prescribed concentration of drugs
  • providing a sample within 3 hours of driving which contains the prescribed concentration of alcohol and a prescribed illicit drug (failing the test).

See ss. 41(1)(bc) and 49(1)(j)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Penalties

The penalties are more severe than for drivers with only one substance in their blood or breath.

Fine or imprisonment

The maximum penalties depend on the concentration of alcohol in the person's blood or breath (BAC) and whether the driver has been caught drink or drug driving before.

  • first offence—30 penalty units
  • second offence and BAC is less than 0.15—90 penalty units or 6 months jail
  • second offence and BAC is 0.15 or more—180 penalty units or 12 months jail
  • third offence or more and BAC is less than 0.15—180 penalty units or 12 months jail
  • third offence or more and BAC is 0.15 or more—270 penalty units or 18 months jail.

See s. 49(3AAB)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Licence cancellation and disqualification from driving

The length of time that a driver's licence must be cancelled for depends on whether the driver has been caught drink or drug driving before within the last 10 years and what their BAC reading was for the most recent offence.

First offence

If it is the driver's first offence their licence must be cancelled for:

  • at least 12 months if their BAC is between 'less than 0.07' and up to 0.09
  • at least 16 months if their BAC is 0.10 or more but less than 0.11
  • at least 17 months if their BAC is 0.11 or more but less than 0.12
  • at least 18 months if their BAC is 0.12 or more but less than 0.13.

The minimum licence cancellation increases in this way by one month for each percentage increase in BAC up to a maximum of 30 months for a BAC of 0.24 or more.

See Schedule 1AB—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Subsequent offence

If this is not their first offence the driver must have their licence cancelled for:

  • 24 months if their BAC is less than 0.07
  • 26 months if their BAC is between 0.07 and under 0.08
  • 28 months if their BAC is between 0.08 and under 0.09
  • 30 months if their BAC is between 0.09 and 0.10.

If it is a subsequent offence the minimum licence cancellation increases by 2 months for each percentage increase in BAC up to a maximum of 60 months for a BAC of 0.24 or more.

See Schedule 1AB—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Immediate suspension

A driver licence will be suspended by police if the person:

  • is a fully licenced driver with a BAC of 0.10 or more, or
  • is a learner or probationer and their BAC is 0.07 or more.

See s. 85(3)—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and Penalties for drink driving.

Vehicle immobilisation, impoundment or forfeiture

Combination drink and drug driving offences are included as a relevant offences under hoon driving law. This means that if a driver is caught drug and drink driving with a BAC of 0.10 or more police may immediately immobilise or impound the vehicle for up to 30 days, even for a first offence.

If this is the driver's second relevant offence then the police may apply to court for an order that the vehicle be impounded for up to 30 days. A third relevant offence could mean that the vehicle is confiscated permanently.

See Hoon driving—Which are the relevant offences?

Behaviour change programs

Drivers will have to participate in behaviour change programs before they can get a licence after serving their disqualification period.

See Licence restoration—Behaviour change program.

Alcohol interlock

An interlock condition is mandatory for drivers who have been found guilty of a combination drink and drug driving offence. The minimum alcohol interlock period is 6 months for first offence, 12 months for a second offence if BAC less than 0.15, or at least 4 years in any other case.

See Schedule 1B—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information

Legislation

Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)

  • s. 49(1)(bc)—drives a motor vehicle with both prescribed concentration of alcohol (or more) and prescribed illicit drug
  • s. 49(1)(j)—has sample of blood taken within 3 hours of driving and found both prescribed concentration of alcohol (or more) and prescribed illicit drug
  • s. 49(3AAB)—establishes the fine penalty for drink/drug driving offence
  • s. 50(1AD)—mandatory disqualification and licence cancellation according to new schedule 1AB
  • s. 50A(1B)—requirement that the driver complete a driver education program
  • s. 85—offences are included in those for which a driver can have their licence immediately suspended
  • Schedule 1B —interlock mandatory for offences after 31 July for 6 months for first offence, 12 months 2nd offence if BAC less than 0.15, 4 years in any other case
  • Schedule 1AB—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window)—minimum disqualification periods for combined drink/ drug driving offences

See Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)—Schedule 1B—Alcohol interlock requirement(opens in a new window).

Updated