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Victorian liquor laws prohibit the sale and supply of alcohol to intoxicated persons.

Licensees also have a legal obligation to prevent intoxication from occurring on their premises.

If alcohol is served to an intoxicated person or intoxication is permitted, the following penalties can apply:

  • Fines.
  • Higher annual licence fees.
  • Possible suspension or cancellation of a licence.

It is also an offence to permit drunken or disorderly persons to be on any licensed premises.

A person is in a state of intoxication if:

  • their speech, balance, coordination or behaviour is noticeably affected, and
  • there are reasonable grounds for believing that this is due to consuming alcohol.


Compliance inspectors or police officers can issue infringement notices to licensees. This incurs demerit points against the liquor licence for intoxication-related offences. These offences include:

  • supplying liquor to an intoxicated person
  • permitting a drunken or disorderly person on licensed premises
  • procuring liquor for an intoxicated person on licensed premises
  • aiding or abetting an intoxicated person to obtain liquor on a licensed premises.

Further information about penalties is available on our Fees, fines and penalties page.

Intoxication guidelines

Our intoxication guidelines provide information on how to determine if a person is intoxicated.

How to decide if a person is intoxicated

Working out whether a person is intoxicated is a 2-step process.

First, consider whether the person is displaying one or more of the following signs of intoxication. Are they:

  • becoming loud and boisterous
  • having difficulty walking straight
  • becoming argumentative
  • bumping into furniture or customers
  • annoying other customers and staff
  • rambling in their conversation
  • using offensive language
  • losing their train of thought
  • spilling drinks
  • having difficulty paying attention
  • fumbling and having difficulty in picking up objects
  • not hearing or understanding what is being said
  • swaying
  • appearing drowsy or dozing while sitting at a bar or table.

Second, determine whether the signs they are showing from the list above are the result of consuming alcohol.

You can do that by considering information, such as:

  • the amount of alcohol you have seen the person drink
  • how much other staff members have seen the person drink
  • whether the person smells of alcohol.

Conditions that show similar signs to intoxication

Sometimes, physical and mental disabilities lead to a person showing symptoms similar to alcohol intoxication. You should consider the possibility of a customer having such a condition before refusing service because you think they may be intoxicated.

Intoxication Checklist

We have developed a checklist for managers and staff to help ensure alcohol is consumed safely and responsibly.

The checklist will help identify what your venue is doing well when managing intoxicated patrons and identify areas for improvement. We encourage all venues to go through the checklist with their staff to look for anything that might need attention.

Intoxication videos

We have also developed a video that highlights five key areas to keep in mind to help prevent people from becoming intoxicated at your premises and manage intoxicated patrons.

There are several intoxication videos to support your staff in recognising signs of intoxication and demonstrating how to refuse service to intoxicated customers.

Managing and preventing intoxication at your premisesExternal Link highlights five key areas to prevent intoxication and how to manage intoxicated customers.

The video covers:

  1. the definition of intoxication
  2. intoxication guidelines
  3. how licensees can prevent intoxication at their venue
  4. how licensees should manage refusing service to intoxicated patrons
  5. how to identify a standard drink.

Remember that intoxicated customers can remain at your venue but they cannot be served alcohol.

Behaviours to look out for is a video about the signs of intoxication and how to identify them.External Link

Refusal of ServiceExternal Link shows tips for refusing service.

Reviewed 21 August 2023


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