What is a novice driver?
A novice driver is someone who:
- Holds a learner licence (“L plater”)
- Holds a provision licence (“P plater”)
- Has an interlock driver licence
- Has had an application for a driving licence refused
- Has ceased to hold a driving licence because it was cancelled or suspended, or they were disqualified, or their licence expired
- Has never held or obtained a driving licence
What is the offence?
If you are a novice driver and you have a blood alcohol level of 0.00 or more it is illegal to:
- Drive a motor vehicle; or
- Occupy the driving seat of a motor vehicle and attempt to put the motor vehicle in motion
If you are a novice driver and you have a blood alcohol level of more than 0.00 but less than 0.02 you are guilty of an offence. If you have a blood alcohol level of more than 0.02 then you are guilty of a different offence (not novice range) and should see our other pages about drink driving.
What is a novice range blood alcohol level?
A novice range blood alcohol level for this offence is a concentration of more than zero grams, but less than 0.02 grams, of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood.
Obviously this is very low, and can be exceeded very easily.
What is the potential penalty?
The maximum financial penalty for a first offence is $1,100, and for a second or subsequent offence it is $2,200.
You do not lose any demerit points for drink driving offences. There is no possible jail sentence for this offence.
The automatic licence disqualification period for a first offence for a novice is 6 months, with a minimum disqualification period of 3 months. For a subsequent offence within 5 years the automatic disqualification period is 12 months.
You will suffer a licence suspension unless the court exercises it’s discretion pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes Act to not enter a conviction. We can discuss whether or not you are likely to be dealt with under section 10 during our free, no obligation first interview. There are other defences like religious observance (e.g. communion wine) or food or even non food substances consumed for a purpose other than the purpose of consuming alcohol (e.g. grandma's trifle or medicine).