Strict conditions apply to probationary licences. Infringement notices involve no court hearing. Drink-drive offences include drinking alcohol while driving and can lead to loss of licence. Drug-driving and excessive speed can also lead to loss of licence. Detection device or speed camera offences involve a fine and possible demerit points. Demerit points can be lost for various offences. The sheriff may suspend licence and car registration for non-payment of fines. Speeding at more than 25km/h over the speed limit incurs a minimum six month loss of licence. Penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) are heavier than for driving with excessive blood alcohol content (BAC). Refusing breath or blood tests can lead to two-year licence disqualification. Licence restoration after a drink driving offence will entail tests, courses, reports and a court appearance. Alcohol interlock devices are now more widely used. Drug driving convictions involve fines and disqualification. Heavy fines and possibly imprisonment can follow driving while disqualified. Dangerous driving incurs automatic licence disqualification. Police and courts can order the impoundment or immobilisation of motor vehicles for a variety of offences, apart from hoon driving. Repeat offenders may forfeit vehicles.

Contributors

Peter Lynch

Lawyer

Madeleine Lynch

Lawyer, Fitzroy Legal Service

Types of driver licences

Last updated

1 July 2020


Overview

VicRoads may grant a driver licence to any qualified person over 18 years old (s 19 Road Safety Act). The driver licence authorises the person to drive any category of motor vehicle referred to in the licence (e.g. a car or motorcycle). The two types of licences:

  1. a probationary licence, and 
  2. a full licence.

In addition, learner drivers are issued with a learners permit and are subject to additional conditions.

Probationary licences

There are two types of probationary licences:

  1. P1 licence: This is for drivers who are aged under 21 years and have never held a licence; P1 licences are held for 12 months.
  2. P2 licence: This is for drivers who are aged 21 years or older and have never held a full licence, and for drivers who have had a P1 licence for 12 months. P2 licences are held for three years.

Both P1 and P2 licences are subject to additional conditions. Probationary drivers:

  • must have zero blood-alcohol content (BAC);
  • must display P-plates (red P-plates for P1 licence holders and green P-plates for P2 licence holders) – the plates must be able to be seen from 20 metres away;
  • must not use their mobile phone at all while driving, including using it hands-free and reading text messages;
  • are prohibited to drive certain types of vehicles and vehicles with certain types of engines, such as a car where the engine has been modified to increase the car’s performance, unless one of the exceptions applies;
  • must not drive a manual car, unless they were tested in a non-automatic car.

P1 licence holders are subject to additional restrictions, including:

  • drivers must not drive with more than one passenger who is between the ages of 16–22, unless they are the driver’s spouse or sibling;
  • drivers must not tow another vehicle or trailer, unless one of the exceptions applies.

Full licences

‘Full licence’ is the term commonly used to describe a driver licence held for longer than the probationary period. Probationary licence holders may have to pass a VicRoads test before they become full licence holders (s 21 Road Safety Act). Full licence holders are not subject to the same restrictions as probationary licence holders, but they must have a BAC below .05.

Victoria does not have ‘restricted licence orders’ as in other states. Although, restrictions on licence use (e.g. to be used only for work purposes) may rarely be the subject of an adjourned undertaking without conviction, providing the penalty section does not exclude this sentencing order (e.g. see ‘Speeding offences’ and ‘Drink-driving offences’, below). A full licence holder who has their licence suspended or cancelled in that case has the full licence status restored.

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