You're a bloke out drinking with mates. It's your shout,
but the publican refuses to serve you. He says you've had too
much to drink and orders you to leave the premises. You are
outraged. You don't feel drunk and haven't caused any
problems. You feel your rights have been violated. What does the
You've had a few drinks and are pulled over for a breath
test. What if you refuse to cooperate?
You're a pregnant woman having lunch with girlfriends. You
ask for a glass of wine and the waitress refuses to serve you
alcohol "in your condition". You are outraged and
insulted. You insist one glass won't hurt, besides it's
none of their business. Is the law on your side?
The Liquor Act 2007 forbids pubs selling alcohol to an
intoxicated person and even allowing intoxication on the premises.
Do so and the pub and staff can be fined $1,100. Drunks have to
leave the premises immediately. Refuse and the pub must call
police. If you refuse to leave you can be fined $550 on the spot or
face a court fine of up to $5,500. Police can take a drunk home or
leave them with a responsible person. If they can't find one,
they can keep them in a police holding cell.
The law states a person is intoxicated (a) if their speech,
balance, co-ordination or behavior is noticeably affected and (b)
if it is reasonable to believe these symptoms are the result of the
consumption of liquor.
But the pub has to be sure it is not refusing service on the
grounds of discrimination such as race, sex or disability. A person
has the right to go to the Anti-Discrimination Board if they feel
they have been subjected to discrimination. The pub must have
available free water and sell food that helps slow down
And if you think it's smart to refuse a breath test, think
again. The penalty for refusing is the same as being found guilty
of high range PCA – up to $3,300 fine, 18 months jail and
lose your licence for three years. But police can't test you if
you are inside your home and they must test you within two hours of
The pregnant woman has the law on her side. While it is illegal
to serve alcohol to anyone under 18, it is quite legal for kids to
drink with their parents' permission or at home. There is no
law against serving alcohol to a pregnant woman. It may not be best
for the baby, but the law doesn't protect the foetus.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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