Drug and alcohol assessment

Drink driving conviction for second or subsequent time within three years

In addition to the above penalties, a person convicted for a second or subsequent time within three years of a drink driving offence must, before being sentenced, be referred to an assessment clinic to determine whether they suffer from alcoholism or addiction to a drug [Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) s 47J]. At present this requirement relates only to offences committed in the metropolitan area before 1st February 2010.

Assessment report and consequences

The assessment clinic reports to the court on its examination of the person. A court that is satisfied that the person suffers from alcoholism or addiction to a drug must disqualify the person from holding or obtaining a driver's licence until further order. A person may, after the minimum period of disqualification to which they would have been liable if dealt with otherwise than under s 47J has expired, apply to the court for a revocation of the disqualification order. The court may revoke the order on the basis that the person no longer suffers from alcoholism or drug addiction or that there is other proper cause for him or her to be allowed to drive, and may grant a full or conditional licence. Before applying to the court for this order, the person must submit to a further assessment by the assessment clinic, which makes a report to the court.

Failure to attend assessment

If a person is ordered to attend a s 47J assessment, and does not attend the appointment, the court has power treat them as if they do suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction, and disqualify them until further order.

Licence applicants (including drivers applying for reissue of licence after disqualification)

An applicant for the issue of a licence must attend alcohol or drug dependency assessment if, during the five years immediately proceeding the date of the application, they have been disqualified (whether in South Australia or interstate) as a consequence of:

  • A drink driving offence and
  • they have not held a licence or learner’s permit since the end of the disqualification period and
  • if the offence was a prescribed drink driving offence (i.e. anything other than a Category 1 offence) – been convicted of at least 1 other drink driving offence OR been convicted of or expiated at least 2 other drink driving offences committed within the period of 5 years before the date of commission of the disqualifying offence;
  • in any other case – been convicted of or expiated at least two other drink driving offences committed within the period of 5 years before the date of commission of the disqualifying offence.
  • A drug driving offence and
  • they have not held a licence or a learner’s permit since the end of the disqualification period and
  • they have been convicted of or expiated at least 1 other drug driving offence committed within the period of 5 years before the date of commission of the disqualifying offence.

[Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) s 79B]

Any driver having served a period of disqualification will need to reapply for their licence once their disqualification period has been served, so drug and alcohol dependency assessments will apply if they fall within the above provisions.

* A serious drink driving offence is defined as any drink driving offence other than:

a.     a category 1 offence OR

b.     a category 2 offence that is a first offence

Drug and alcohol assessment  :  Last Revised: Fri Dec 17th 2010
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