Offences and penalties

Offences and penalties related to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs in NSW.

New combined drink and drug driving offence

A new law took effect on 28 June 2021 introducing new offences with harsher penalties if a driver is detected with an illegal level of alcohol as well as illicit drugs present in their system. The intention of this change is to deter this high risk behaviour and send a clear message to drivers that they are putting themselves and others at significant risk when mixing alcohol and drugs with driving and this behaviour will not be tolerated on NSW roads. For more information, visit the Combined drink and drug driving offence page.

Combined offence – high range PCA with prescribed illicit drug presence

Penalties First offence Second or subsequent offence
Maximum court- imposed fine $5500 $11,000
Maximum prison term 2 years 2 years
Minimum disqualification 18 months 3 years
Maximum disqualification Unlimited Unlimited
Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order) 4 years 6 years
Immediate licence suspension Yes Yes
Subject to an alcohol interlock order Yes Yes

Combined offence – mid range PCA with prescribed illicit drug presence

Penalties First offence Second or subsequent offence
Maximum court- imposed fine $3300 $6600
Maximum prison term 18 months 2 years
Minimum disqualification 12 months 2 years
Maximum disqualification Unlimited Unlimited
Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order) 2 years 4 years
Immediate licence suspension Yes Yes
Subject to an alcohol interlock order Yes Yes

Combined offence – low, novice or special range PCA with prescribed illicit drug presence

Note: This offence applies when a driver is detected with a low, special, or novice range PCA, combined with prescribed illicit drug presence, AND the driver was convicted of a previous combined offence in the previous five years.

For low, novice or special range PCA offences and cannabis, speed/ice, MDMA/ecstasy or cocaine in oral fluid, blood or urine offences, see table below.

Penalties Second or subsequent offence
Maximum court- imposed fine $5500
Maximum prison term 18 months
Minimum disqualification 18 months
Maximum disqualification Unlimited
Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order) 2 years
Immediate licence suspension Yes
Subject to an alcohol interlock order Yes

High range PCA (0.15 or above), refuse breath analysis, a blood sample and/or alter concentration in the blood

Note: If an offender is issued with an alcohol interlock order, the disqualification period may differ from those listed in this table.

Penalty First offence Second or subsequent offence
Maximum court- imposed fine $3300 $5500
Maximum prison term 18 months 2 years
Minimum disqualification 12 months 2 years
Maximum disqualification Unlimited Unlimited
Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order) 3 years 5 years
Immediate licence suspension Yes Yes
Subject to an alcohol interlock order Yes Yes

Mid range PCA (blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 to less than 0.15)

Note: If an offender is issued with an alcohol interlock order, the disqualification period may differ from those listed in this table.

Penalties First offence Second or subsequent offence
Maximum court- imposed fine $2200 $3300
Maximum prison term 9 months 12 months
Minimum disqualification 6 months 12 months
Maximum disqualification Unlimited Unlimited
Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order) 12 months 3 years
Immediate licence suspension Yes Yes
Subject to an alcohol interlock order Yes Yes

Low, novice or special range PCA

  • Low range PCA: blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 to less than 0.08
  • Novice range PCA: blood alcohol concentration more than zero for learner, P1 or P2 drivers
  • Special range PCA: blood alcohol concentration over 0.02 for special category drivers

Note: If an offender is issued with an alcohol interlock order, the disqualification period may differ from those listed in this table.

Penalty First offence Second or subsequent offence
Penalty notice fine $581 N/A
Immediate licence suspension Yes Yes
Maximum court- imposed fine $2200 $3300
Maximum prison term N/A N/A
Minimum disqualification 3 months 6 months
Maximum disqualification 6 months Unlimited
Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order) 6 months 12 months
Subject to an alcohol interlock order No Yes

Drive under the influence of alcohol or another drug

Note: If an offender is issued with an alcohol interlock order, the disqualification period may differ from those listed in this table.

Penalty First offence Second or subsequent offence
Maximum court- imposed fine $3300 $5500
Maximum prison term 18 months 2 years
Minimum disqualification 12 months 2 years
Maximum disqualification Unlimited Unlimited
Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order) 3 years 5 years
Subject to an alcohol interlock order Yes (alcohol offences only) Yes (alcohol offences only)

Cannabis, speed/ice, MDMA/ecstasy, or cocaine in oral fluid, blood or urine

Drive with the presence of any of the following drugs in oral fluid, blood or urine:

  • Active THC (Cannabis)
  • Methylamphetamine (Speed/ice)
  • Methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA or 'ecstasy') or
  • Cocaine
Penalty First offence Second or subsequent offence
Penalty notice fine $581 N/A
Licence suspension (if offence is dealt with through a penalty notice) 3 months N/A
Maximum court- imposed fine $2200 $3300
Minimum disqualification 3 months 6 months
Maximum disqualification 6 months Unlimited
Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order) 6 months 12 months

Morphine in blood or urine

Drive with the presence of morphine in blood or urine (unless proven for medical use).

Penalty First offence Second or subsequent offence
Maximum court- imposed fine $2200 $3300
Minimum disqualification 3 months 6 months
Maximum disqualification 6 months Unlimited
Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order) 6 months 12 months

Refuse to provide samples

Refuse to provide oral fluid sample or refuse or fail to submit to providing a blood sample when unable to provide an oral fluid sample.

Penalty First offence Second or subsequent offence
Maximum court- imposed fine $3300 $5500
Maximum prison term Not applicable 18 months
Minimum disqualification 6 months 12 months
Maximum disqualification Unlimited Unlimited
Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order) 3 years 5 years
Subject to an alcohol interlock order Yes Yes

Introduce or alter the amount of a drug in oral fluid or blood

Wilfully introduce or alter the amount of a drug in oral fluid or blood after being required to provide an oral fluid or blood sample.

Penalty First offence Second or subsequent offence
Maximum court- imposed fine $3300 $5500
Minimum disqualification 6 months 12 months
Maximum disqualification Unlimited Unlimited
Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order) 3 years 5 years

After a fatal accident

Refuse to submit to taking of a blood or urine sample after involvement in a fatal crash or wilfully introduce or alter the amount of a drug in blood or urine after involvement in a fatal crash.

Penalty First offence Second or subsequent offence
Maximum court- imposed fine $3300 $5500
Maximum prison term 18 months 2 years
Minimum disqualification 6 months 12 months
Maximum disqualification Unlimited Unlimited
Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order) 3 years 5 years
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