Drink driving penalties

You may have to go to court if you're caught drink driving in the Northern Territory (NT).

A magistrate will decide how long your licence must be disqualified for and whether you receive a fine or a jail term.

Your penalty will depend on:

  • your blood/breath alcohol concentration at the time of the offence
  • whether you have been previously convicted of a drink driving offence.

Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is measured in a percentage per 100 millilitres of blood.

You breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) is measure in a percentage per 210 litres of breath exhaled.

To find out more about penalty units and other offences read traffic offences and penalties

The details of penalties are in the Traffic Act. Read the law.

First drink driving offence penalties

This table shows the maximum penalties that may apply for a first drink driving offence:

Blood/breath alcohol concentration

Minimum licence disqualification

Maximum fine amount

Demerit points

Maximum term of imprisonment

Over 0.00%

  • under 18
  • learner licence driver
  • provisional licence driver
  • probationary driver
  • unlicensed driver
  • visitor/tourist who doesn't hold an NT driver licence
3 months (mandatory)Court ordered fine of 5 penalty units 3 months

Over 0.00%

Drivers of certain vehicles including:

  • vehicles over 15t GVM
  • vehicles carrying dangerous goods
  • commercial passenger vehicles
  • vehicles that can carry more than 12 people including the driver
  • vehicles carrying more than 12 people
  • vehicles designed to carry goods when a person is travelling in that space

NA

$400 traffic infringement notice (on-the-spot fine)

or

Court ordered fine of 5 penalty units

3

3 months

Over 0.05%, but under 0.08%

3 months

$400 traffic infringement notice (on the spot fine)

or

Court ordered 5 penalty units fine

3

3 months

Over 0.08%, but under 0.15%

6 months

7.5 penalty units fine

 

6 months

0.15% and over

12 months

10 penalty units fine

 

12 months

Second or subsequent drink driving offence penalties

Blood/breath alcohol concentration

Minimum licence disqualification

Maximum fine amount

Demerit points

Maximum term of imprisonment

Over 0.00%

  • under 18
  • learner licence driver
  • provisional licence driver
  • probationary driver
  • unlicensed driver
  • visitor/tourist who doesn't hold a NT driver licence

6 months (mandatory)

Court ordered fine of 7.5 penalty units for second offence 

6 months

Over 0.00%

Drivers of certain vehicles including:

  • vehicles over 15t GVM
  • vehicles carrying dangerous goods
  • commercial passenger vehicles
  • vehicles that can carry more than 12 people including the driver
  • vehicles carrying more than 12 people
  • vehicles designed to carry goods when a person is travelling in that space

3 months for second offence

6 months for subsequent offence

$400 traffic infringement notice

or

Court ordered 7.5 penalty units fine for second offence

3

6 months

Over 0.05%, but under 0.08%

6 months

7.5 penalty units fine

3

6  months

Over 0.08%, but under 0.15%

12 months

20 penalty units fine

 

12 months

0.15% and over

18 months

20 penalty units fine

 

12 months

Immediate suspension

Your licence will be immediately suspended if you:

  • have been charged with a second or subsequent low-range drink driving offence
  • have been charged with a second or subsequent mid-range drink driving offence
  • have been charged with a high-range drink driving offence
  • fail to provide police with a sample of breath or blood when requested
  • have been charged with a second or subsequent offence for dangerous operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence
  • have been charged with a second or subsequent drink driving offence and are a driver instructor, the holder of a licence or a driver of a vehicle to whom a zero blood or breath alcohol concentration applies.

The immediate suspension will end when the drink driving charge has been finalised by a court, is withdrawn or discontinued.

You may appeal to the Local Court against an immediate suspension notice.

Getting your licence after disqualification

When your disqualification ends you can apply to have your driver licence reissued by going to an MVR office in person.

You will be charged a licence fee and issued with a probationary licence, which you must hold for at least one year.

After one year, if you have not received any further driving penalties or disqualifications, you can get your open NT driver licence.

You may also have to install an alcohol ignition lock.

Last updated: 27 June 2017