Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor or of Any Drug (DUI)

Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor or of Any Drug (DUI) is found in section 49(1)(A) of the Road Safety Act 1986 in Victoria. It is committed by a person who was found to have driven or have been in charge of a motor vehicle whilst under the influence of any intoxicating liquor or drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the motor vehicle.

Have you been accused of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor or of Any Drug (DUI)?

Police Interview
The Police will conduct a field interview where they will ask you standard questions about how much alcohol you consumed that day if they think you are above the limit. The Prosecution will rely on the evidence of your reading and your responses to the field interview questions as evidence in Court to prove the charge of DUI against you.

Pleading Not Guilty
If you dispute a DUI charge, there will be material that needs to be subpoenaed from Victoria Police. Possible defences include:

  • a factual dispute that you were driving the car,
  • a dispute as to the accuracy of the evidentiary reading,
  • a dispute as to what you consumed that day and if it could be mistaken for alcohol.
Our defence lawyers are experienced in contesting DUI charges and can guide you through the Court process.

Pleading Guilty
Before deciding to plead guilty to a charge of DUI, one of our experienced defence lawyers will explain the penalties to you so you know exactly what you are facing. It is important to understand that in addition to time off the road, there are also interlock conditions that apply to certain readings.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, a Magistrate might exercise their discretion to interfere with your driver’s licence for a period longer than the prescribed minimum. Our lawyers will look at the facts of your case and advise you of courses you should complete before your Plea Hearing to prevent this from happening.

Our lawyers are sympathetic to the fact that for some clients their driver’s licence is crucial to their livelihoods. Our lawyers ensure that the Magistrate is aware of this.

Sentencing
Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Drive or In Charge of Vehicle Whilst Under Influence of Intoxicating Liquor in the Magistrates' Courts
Examples of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor or of Any Drug (DUI)
  • A man was at a festival and took drugs for three days. On the last day he did not take any drugs and drove home. He was stopped by the Police and still had drugs in his system
  • A woman met her friend for drinks and they shared one bottle of wine, she did not have much to eat. When she was pulled over she was above the limit.
Defences
  • You did not have any alcohol or drugs in your system and there must have been a mistake in the sample.
  • You were on medication that has been picked up by the test.
There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions that are asked in cases like this:
  • Did you take drugs in the days before the test?
  • Are you on any medication?
  • How much did you have to drink?
Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge
There is a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of 25 penalty units for anyone found guilty of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of any drug (s49(1)(A) of the Road Safety Act 1986) as a first offence.

If you are caught testing positive to traces of illegal drugs then your licence will be disqualified for 6 months and you must attend a drug driver behaviour change program.

The maximum penalty for a second time offence is 12 months imprisonment and/or a fine of 120 penalty unit.

For subsequent offences, the maximum penalty is 18 months imprisonment and/or a fine of 180 penalty units.

New regulations that came into effect from 31 January 2018 mean that Victorian offenders will face Victorian driving penalties should they be caught interstate.

The offence of driving under the influence (DUI) is the sort of charge regularly heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
You are likely to get a fine or a Community Corrections Order for a first time offence. If you have been found guilty of this offence before and you have other charges, then you may receive a prison sentence.

What is the legal definition of Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor or of Any Drug (DUI)?
Driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug.

“Were you drink or drug driving?”

The Law
The section that covers this offence is section 49(1)(A) of the Road Safety Act 1986.

Other Important Resources
Case Studies