Alcohol protection orders

If you are given an alcohol protection order (APO) it is an offence to:

  • possess alcohol
  • consume alcohol
  • enter a licensed premises, except if it is your work or home.

Your first APO is issued for three months. You will not be able to drink or possess alcohol in your own home during the order. 

When you can be issued an APO

Police can give you an APO to you if are over 18 years old and:

  • are charged with an offence punishable by six months in prison, known as a qualifying offence
  • or they believe you were affected by alcohol at the time you committed the offence.

You will not automatically receive the order, it is up to the police to decide.

If you breach your the order, or commit another qualifying offence within 12 months of the order finishing, you may be issued another order for six months.

If you breach the conditions of your six month APO you may receive another order for 12 months.

Police can give your name and photograph to licensed venues to tell them you are the subject of an APO and when it will end. 

Only the staff, not the general public, will see your details. When the order expires the police will destroy the information. 

If the charges that resulted in your order are withdrawn, or if you are found not guilty, it will be cancelled.

If you disagree with an APO being issued, you can lodge a written application at a police station. You will receive written notice of the decision by a senior police officer within three days.

If you are still unhappy you can apply to a local court to review within seven days of the decision.

Your APO will remain in force during this time.

Breaching the conditions of an APO

It is an offence to do any of the following:

  • breach the rules of an APO, unless you can give a reasonable excuse
  • give alcohol to a person who is subject to an order
  • refuse to take a breath test during an order.

You can be fined 25 penalty units and/or receive three months in prison if you break the conditions of your APO or give alcohol to a person who is subject to an order.

If police believe you may have consumed or be carrying alcohol during an APO, they can:

  1. Stop and hold you.
  2. Give you a breath test to see if you have been drinking alcohol.
  3. Search you and your belongings.

If you refuse to take a breath test you may be arrested. If you are carrying alcohol the police can take it and destroy it.

Applying for a voluntary APO

You can apply for a voluntary APO at a police station. The police will make sure you understand the process and penalties before they issue you with the order.

You can cancel it at any time by going to the police station and asking for it to be cancelled.

Last updated: 28 November 2017