The Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) outlines the legal requirements for drivers in Victoria. Traffic offences are mainly broken into two categories: summary and indictable offences. Summary offences are heard in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. The more serious indictable offences are heard before the County Court or Supreme Court of Victoria. However, some indictable driving offences, such as Dangerous Driving Causing Serious Injury, and Reckless Conduct, can be heard summarily in the Magistrates’ Court.

Summary Offences

The Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) contains numerous summary driving offences, including:

  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (s49): The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers in Victoria is 0.05%. A zero BAC applies to probationary and learner drivers, as well as professional drivers such as bus, taxi and truck drivers. Zero BAC also applied to some drivers who have previously been found guilty of drink driving.
  • If you have been charged for the first time, you may be issued with an infringement notice. Depending on the level of BAC, you may be immediately suspended and summoned to appear in Court. If you are found guilty in Court, you may be disqualified from driving for up to two years, depending on the severity of the offence. You may also face large fines, and a conviction may be recorded against you.
  • The Court may also decide to have an interlock device installed in your vehicle after your licence has been restored.
  • It is an offence under section 49(1)(ba) to drive a motor vehicle while being impaired by a drug.
  • The penalty for drug driving varies depending on the amount of illicit substance detected, and whether it is a first or subsequent charge. For a first offence, the penalty may be a fine, loss of licence and potential conviction. For subsequent offences, you may be fined much more heavily, have your licence disqualified for two years, and face 18 months in prison.

  • Careless Driving (s65): This charge carries a maximum penalty of 12 units for a first offence and 25 units for a subsequent offence. Defendants may also be subject to a period of licence suspension.
  • Dangerous Driving (s64): This charge carries a maximum penalty of 240 units or 2 years imprisonment or both. It also mandates disqualification from driving for a minimum period of 6-12 months.
  • Driving Unlicensed (s18): Maximum penalties range from 60 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment depending on the circumstances of the offence.
  • Driving Whilst Suspended or Disqualified (s30): Maximum penalties range from 10 penalty units or 1-months imprisonment up to 240 penalty units or 2 years imprisonment, depending on the charge.
  • Failure to Report an Accident to Police when a Person is Injured or Property is Damaged (s61): Maximum penalties range from 5 units or 14 days’ imprisonment to 240 units or 2 years imprisonment, depending on the circumstances of the offence.

Indictable Offences

The Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) also has several serious driving offences that fall under the indictable category in Victoria, including:

  • Reckless Conduct Endangering Life or Serious Injury (s22 and s23)
  • Culpable Driving (s318):
  • Dangerous Driving Causing Death or Serious Injury (s319)
  • Dangerous or Negligent Driving While Pursued by Police (s319AA)

It is important to seek legal representation if you are facing any of these charges. Our team of experienced criminal lawyers can provide you with expert legal advice and representation.