This website is for use by legal professionals (lawyers and law practices) only. If the information is used incorrectly, you could risk losing money or your legal rights. If you are a member of the public looking for free advice about your legal problems please visit legalaid.vic.gov.au, or contact our Legal Help advice line on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. 

If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

The offence of 'being drunk in public' has been repealed. LawHub has been updated.

Information is now available on the repeal of public intoxication related offences in the Summary Offences Act.

Published:
Tuesday 7 November 2023 at 10:00 pm

The public intoxication related offences in the Summary Offences Act 1966​(opens in a new window) (SOA) were repealed on 7 November 2023 by the Summary Offences Amendment (Decriminalisation of Public Drunkenness) Act 2021 (Vic)

The repealed offences were: 

  • Section 13 – found drunk in a public place
  • Section 14 - found drunk and disorderly in a public place
  • ​Section 16 ​-    
    ​(a) behave in a riotous or disorderly manner in a public place while drunk  
    (b) while drunk, is in charge, in a public place, of a carriage (not including a motor vehicle under the Road Safety Act 1986) or a horse or cattle or a steam engine.  

Victoria has transitioned to a new health-based model for responding to public intoxication. The health-based model:

  • prioritises the use of non-criminal justice response options (consent-based options) such as the use of local health-based, outreach and alternative support services, to respond to people who are intoxicated in public, who require non-emergency forms of support and assistance
  • seeks to reduce unnecessary contact with the criminal justice system, by minimising the role of Victoria Police in responding to public intoxication incidents.

Under the health-based model, police officers will:

  • only attend public intoxication incidents involving risks to community safety
  • continue to provide general support and assistance, in a community policing capacity, to members of the public who are intoxicated in public and in need of assistance when members are on patrol or alerted to a person in need of assistance while on duty. 

Health workers or police officers may approach a person if they are affected by alcohol in public and appear to need support. They have different roles as part of the public health response. The person can choose whether they want the support offered by health workers. The Department of Health’s public intoxication reform webpage has more information.

Updated pages include:

More information

Department of Health

Public intoxication reform

Updated