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Decriminalisation of public drunkenness in Victoria

01 November 2023

From November 7, 2023, public intoxication (public drunkenness) will no longer be a criminal offense in Victoria, following the Government’s 2019 announcement that the law would be removed.

What does this mean?

Public intoxication is when someone is drunk in a public place. Decriminalising this means people will no longer face the possibility of being arrested for being drunk in public.

How do Victoria’s public intoxication laws work?

Up until the new laws come into effect on November 7, 2023, the laws in Victoria mean police can arrest people they suspect are drunk in a public place, with a penalty of roughly $1160.

If someone is also charged with being disorderly, they can be banned from a licenced venue, receive a fine of up to $900, or be sentenced to a month in prison with a criminal record.

Many people charged with public intoxication are taken into police custody to sober up, rather than their home or another place of safety.

There have been a significant number of deaths in police cells in many western countries where people are detained for public intoxication.

Are you a liquor licensee in Victoria?

As a liquor licensee in Victoria you must still meet all of your general obligations under the law, including planning, RSA and other training, and your specific liquor licence conditions.

More information

This article was originally published on the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website

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