Blood Alcohol Limits

In NSW there are three blood alcohol concentration limits:  zero, under 0.02 and under 0.05. The limit that applies to you depends on the category of your licence and the type of vehicle you are driving.

A blood alcohol concentration level measures the amount of alcohol you have in your system in grams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. A blood alcohol concentration level of 0.05 means you have 0.05 grams (50 milligrams) of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood.

A Zero alcohol limit applies to:

  • Learner drivers or learner riders
  • Provisional 1 drivers or riders
  • Provisional 2 drivers or riders
  • Visiting drivers or riders holding an overseas or interstate learner, provisional or equivalent licence

A zero limit means that you must not drink any alcohol at all before you drive or when you are driving.

A 0.02 alcohol limit applies to:

  • Drivers of vehicles of “gross vehicle mass” greater than 13.9 tonnes
  • Drivers of vehicles carrying dangerous goods
  • Drivers of public vehicles such as taxi or bus drivers

A under 0.05 alcohol limit applies to:

  • ALL other licences (including overseas and interstate licence holders) not subject to a 0.02 or zero limit
  • Under 0.05 is the legal limit for most drivers

Being over your legal alcohol limit is a criminal offence. If you are arrested for being over your legal blood alcohol concentration limit you will be charged and have to appear in court. There are also penalties if you refuse to take a breath test.

In NSW, police have the power to:

  • Stop drivers at random to test for alcohol
  • Arrest drivers who test over the legal limit
  • Require a driver to take a sobriety test in certain circumstances
  • Breath test any driver or supervising driver involved in a crash

If you have been charged with an offence, or are seeking further information on a Criminal or Traffic legal matter, call North Shore Criminal Law on (02) 9955 2298 or our 24 hour Emergency Service on 0400 44 64 24.