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What happens to a driver's licence?

Information about circumstances where a person’s licence may be saved after a drink driving offence, and work licence information.

Mandatory cancellation of licence or permit

In most cases, if someone is fined or is found guilty/convicted of a drink driving charge their licence will be cancelled for at least 3 months. If the driving offence happened after 29 April 2018, the driver must be disqualified and the licence or permit will be cancelled for at least the minimum term set out in Schedule 1 of the Road Safety Act 1986, or according to s. 89C where the matter was dealt with by issue of an infringement.

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

Offences before 30 April 2018

If the offence occurred after 30 September 2014 and before 30 April 2018, the following categories of drivers cannot avoid driver disqualification:

  • all P plate and learner drivers (regardless of BAC)
  • fully licensed driver under 26 (BAC 0.05 or more)
  • all fully licensed drivers (BAC 0.07 or more)
  • taxi drivers (BAC 0.07 or more)
  • bus or truck drivers vehicles over 15 tonnes (BAC 0.07 or more)
  • inexperienced motorcyclists (subject to zero BAC) (BAC 0.07 or more)
  • professional driving instructors (BAC 0.07 or more)
  • repeat offenders (regardless of BAC)
  • refusal offenders
  • drivers who commit serious alcohol related motor vehicle offences under Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)
  • drivers caught with both illicit drugs and alcohol in their system.

See s. 50—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and s. 97P, 89 89A—Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

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

See also Schedule 1AB for minimum disqualification periods for drivers with combined drugs and alcohol in Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

When a court has discretion and may choose not to cancel a licence

If the offence happened before 30 April 2018, the court has discretion not to record a conviction for very low readings. If no conviction is recorded the court may choose not to cancel a licence. For drivers who are caught drink driving after 30 September 2014 and it is their first drink driving offence, it may be possible to save a licence where the driver:

  • is a supervising driver, or
  • is found guilty driving with a BAC of less than 0.05 and is a fully licensed driver and subject to zero BAC, or
  • is found guilty of driving with a BAC of 0.05 or more but less than 0.07 and
    • driver 26 or older and

    • no conviction is recorded, and

    • driver must not be subject to zero BAC licence condition under s. 52 unless they are:

      • bus or truck driver (vehicle over 15 tonnes)
      • taxi driver
      • professional driving instructor
      • inexperienced motorcyclist (authorised to drive motor vehicle).

Disqualification and licence cancellation is not mandatory for these categories of drivers. The court has discretion not to cancel their licence if they had not been found guilty of drink driving within the last 10 years.

See ss. 50, 52, Schedule 1—Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Demerit points will apply

If a licence is not cancelled for a drink driving offence, the driver must have 10 demerit points added to VicRoads demerit register. Points will be counted from the date that the offence happened.

See cl. 3 Schedule 3—Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)—Schedule 3 Demerit points(opens in a new window).

Is it possible to get a work licence in Victoria?

No, but if a driver has been charged with a drink driving offence and has been bailed to appear in court at a later date, the court could impose a bail condition that allows them to continue driving—but only to and from work—until the matter can be fully decided by a court.

This has been granted even in a serious drink driving charge where the driver was charged with drink-driving, culpable driving and failing to render assistance after the death of a motorcyclist.

More information

Legislation

Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)

  • s. 24—VicRoads power to cancel or suspend licences
  • s. 25—demerit points procedure
  • s. 25(2A)—demerit points will accrue where licence is not cancelled
  • s. 28—sets down mandatory minimum periods for loss of licence for excessive speed offences
  • s. 50—court power to cancel driver licence where driver found guilty of drink-driving offence
  • s. 50 (1A)—circumstances where person must have licence cancelled for drink-driving offence (repealed and replaced on 30 April 2018)
  • s. 50 (1AB)—court does not have to record a conviction and cancel licence if person is found guilty but no conviction recorded (repealed and replaced on 30 April 2018)
  • s. 50(1B)—refusal and driving under influence offences list the mandatory licence cancellation period
  • s. 50(6)—exemption for supervising driver
  • s. 89C—cancellation of licence or permit for drink-driving infringements
  • Part 8—suspension of driver licence
  • Schedule 1—minimum disqualification periods

See Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)

  • s. 87P—defines 'serious motor vehicle offence'
  • s. 89—provides for suspension or cancellation of driver licence for a serious motor vehicle offence
  • s. 89A—provides for suspension or cancellation of driver licence or learner permit and driver disqualification for any offence

See Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)

See Road Safety (Drivers) Regulations 2019 (Vic)—Schedule 3 Demerit points(opens in a new window).

Updated