Driving Under Influence (DUI) In Australia

Drink driving, undoubtedly, leads to many accidents, death and other forms of road trauma. Because of the seriousness of this, a DUI offence is a criminal offence in most parts of the world, including Australia.

It is also commonly referred as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). However, sometimes there are certain differences between a DUI and DWI, although largely they fall under similar offences. These differences can vary depending on which country, or state you are in.

This article will highlight important information regarding DUI offences including various penalties, and the differences from jurisdiction to jurisdiction in Australia.

What exactly is a DUI?

DUI is an offence of operating, driving or being in control of a vehicle when being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  

Drugs can also include over-the-counter drugs and prescriptive drugs. Notably, there are other offences related to drink driving. A DUI is considered to be a more serious offence compared to standard drink driving offences.

Therefore, if you have been charged with a DUI, there are numerous things that you need to consider. Such as:

1. Were you in charge, or in control of a vehicle?
2. Did you drive while you were under the influence of any drugs or alcohol?
3. Did that, in turn, affect your ability to properly control the motor vehicle?
4. History of similar prior offences.


PCA stands for prescribed concentration of alcohol. PCA offences are common when people are caught during a random police breath test. Police can conduct random breath tests on the roads. Notably, refusing to take a breath test is a serious offence in itself.

In Australia, the severity of the penalty or PCA charge generallydepends upon the blood alcohol concentration or BAC for short.It is considered to be a breach of law if a person’s BAC level is equal to or more than 0.05.

Importantly, for people on the learner’s license, or provisional license, the BAC level should not be more than 0.00. It will be an offence if it crosses this level.

Moreover, there are different ranges under PCA charges, depending on the level of the BAC reading:

1. Low range PCA – BAC ranging from 0.05 to less than 0.08
2. Mid-range PCA – BAC ranging from 0.08 to less than 0.015
3. High range PCA – BAC of 0.015 or higher

Depending on the levels of PCA charges, the penalties can include either a fine, disqualification or imprisonment.

DUI Charges

On the other hand, DUI charges are considered in cases where it was not possible to get an accurate reading of the BAC level.

This could be because of different reasons such as the police officer not being able to get a proper breath test, or because a lot of time passed between the person driving the vehicle and the breath test being administered.

DUI is considered to be a criminal offence. It must be taken very seriously. With the growing awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving, many people today remain alert about such matters.

However, this has not completely reduced the number of drinking and driving offences in any country. If you have been charged with a DUI or other similar offences, it is recommended that you get legal representation.

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