Western Australian alcohol laws are controlled by the Liquor Control Act 1988 which regulates how alcohol is to be sold, supplied and consumed. Each State and Territory in Australia has different liquor laws. Below is a summary of some of the important liquor laws in Western Australia.
People Under 18 Years of Age
The legal drinking age in Australia is 18 years old.
A person under 18 years of age is not allowed to buy, supply or drink alcohol on licensed or regulated premises, even if they are with their parents or guardian.
It is illegal to sell alcohol to, or purchase it on behalf of, anyone less than 18 years of age.
The maximum penalty for any person under the age of 18 years to consume alcohol on licensed premises is a AUD$2,000 fine. Any person under the age of 18 years is prohibited to enter or remain on licensed premises except under specific circumstances outlined in the Liquor Control Act 1988.
Acceptable Identification for Proof-of-Age
Western Australian alcohol laws only allow the following identification as legally accepted proof-of-age in licensed premises in Western Australia:
Current Australian Driver's Licence with photograph
Current Western Australian Proof-of-Age card*
The proof of age card is a personal identity card which is available to anyone 18 years or over.
For more information about proof of age cards, see the Department of Transport website.
Drunk and Disorderly Behaviour
It is an offence to sell or supply alcohol to a drunken person on licensed premises or to allow drunkenness on licensed premises.
It is against the law for anyone to help a drunken person obtain or consume alcohol on licensed premises.
Violent, disorderly and argumentative behaviour is not permitted on licensed premises.
Entry into licensed premises may be refused for reasons such as drunkenness, disorderly behaviour, unacceptable dress, false or insufficient photo identification relating to suspected juveniles, or being underage.
Drinking in a Public Place
It is an offence under Western Australian alcohol laws for persons of any age to drink in public, such as on the street, park or beach. (Maximum Fine: AUD$2,000 or on the spot fine of AUD$200 - Section 119(4a) Liquor Control Act 1988)
Drinking and Driving
Drink driving is a major contributor to road trauma in Western Australia with around one in every four fatal road crashes involving alcohol.
Alcohol and driving do not mix. Consuming alcohol prior to driving impairs driving abilities and increases the risk of crashing.
Alcohol impairs performance by affecting your concentration and perception, judgement of speed and distance and ability to assess risk.
In Australia, it is against the law to drink and drive with a BAC of 0.05% or over. Some drivers are subject to 0.02% BAC; including:
Anyone who has been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) (for three years after the offence)
Anyone who has been convicted of failing to comply with a request for breath, blood or urine (for three years after the offence)
N.B. Learner drivers (L Plates) and Probationary drivers (P Plates) are subject to 0.0% BAC.
It doesn't take much to put you over the limit.
As a guide, one standard drink increases a woman's BAC by 0.03%. This means to stay under 0.05% an average sized healthy woman should drink no more than one standard drink per hour.
Similarly, one standard drink increases a man's BAC by 0.02%. This means to stay under 0.05, an average sized healthy man should drink no more than two standard drinks in the first hour and one standard drink every hour after.
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Also, be aware that if you have had a large number of alcoholic drinks over an evening, you could still be over 0.05% BAC when you wake next morning. It could be many hours before the alcohol has left your body and you are safe to drive.
Wine and champagne glasses can be deceptive. Many of those commonly used in restaurants and hotels contain much more than one standard drink and often hold nearer to two standard drinks.
Of course, it is safer not to drink alcohol at all before driving. So, if you are planning to drink then plan not to drive.
Visit the Office of Road Safety website for more information on drinking and driving.
Random Breath Testing (RBT)
Police can stop a vehicle at anytime and ask the driver to take a breathalyser test. This will assess a person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If a driver refuses to do so, they commit an offence.
For further information on Western Australian alcohol laws, please visit the Drug and Alcohol Office website.