Skip to: Navigation | Content | Footer

Driving offences and penalties

You must drive within all of the conditions listed on your driver licence, and drive according to New Zealand's traffic laws.

If you don't you could incur penalties such as fines and demerit points. You could even have your licence suspended, or be disqualified from driving.

Lower alcohol limit for adult drivers 20 years and over

From Monday 1 December 2014, the alcohol limit for drivers aged 20 years and over will be lowered.

This change means that drivers aged 20 years and over must not drive if:

- the amount of alcohol in their breath is more than 250 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.
- the amount of alcohol in their blood is more than 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood

For drivers under the age of 20 years, the limit remains at zero.

Drivers who are over 400mcg of alcohol per litre of breath, or 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, will continue to face criminal sanctions as is currently the case.

Drivers who fail an evidential breath test between 251 and 400mcg of alcohol per litre of breath will receive an infringement notice with a $200 infringement fee and 50 demerit points. Drivers in this range will not be able to elect an evidential blood test.

Drivers who accumulate 100 or more demerit points from driving offences within two years will receive a three month driver licence suspension. An infringement offence will not result in the driver receiving a criminal conviction.

See our demerit points section to find out more about demerit points.

Our offences and penalties page provides information about the infringement fine for adult drivers 20 years and over who exceed the limits.

For further information about the lower alcohol limit for adult drivers, including frequently asked questions, please visit the Ministry of Transport's website.

.

Lower alcohol limit for adult drivers 20 years and over
Visit our advertising page to find out more about the public information campaign that supports the change.

Offences and penalities

You’re legally required to hold a current and valid driver licence if you drive on New Zealand roads. If you don’t, for example you drive with an expired licence, you risk incurring a range of penalties.
more

Alcohol sentencing

From 10 September 2012, two additional sentencing options became available to the courts when dealing with repeat or first time high-end drink-drivers: alcohol interlock and zero alcohol sentences. These are in addition to the two existing options: set period disqualifications and indefinite disqualifications
more

Demerit points

Certain driving offences incur demerit points. If you accumulate 100 or more demerit points in any two-year period, your licence can be suspended for three months. Find out which offences incur demerit points, and the number of demerit points for each of those offences.
more