Signs that a person is unduly intoxicated

You are responsible for monitoring patrons for signs of undue intoxication. You are not required to count drinks or use a breathalyser but you should observe the patron's speech, coordination, balance and behaviour.

The amount of liquor that each person consumes before becoming unduly intoxicated varies. The signs of intoxication may be influenced by:

  • gender
  • age
  • size
  • health
  • state of mind
  • rate of drinking
  • food consumed
  • medication
  • frequency of drinking.


Incoherent, rambling and slurring.


Rude, offensive, overly friendly, annoying, confused, aggressive, violent and inappropriate.


Unsteady on feet, staggering and swaying.


Spilling drinks, inability to find one's mouth with a glass, drowsiness and difficulty opening and closing doors.

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You may consider the following indicators when assessing if someone is unduly intoxicated, but this is not a definitive list.

  • Incoherent or muddled speech
  • Loss of train of thought
  • Rambling or unintelligible conversation
  • Slurring words
  • Bumping into or knocking over furniture or people
  • Falling down or cannot stand
  • Difficulty walking straight
  • Staggering or stumbling
  • Swaying uncontrollably
  • Unsteady on feet
  • Difficulty counting or paying money and fumbling change
  • Difficulty opening or closing doors
  • Dropping drinks
  • Inability to find mouth with a glass
  • Spilling drinks
  • Aggressive
  • Annoying/pestering others
  • Argumentative
  • Bad tempered
  • Belligerent
  • Confused
  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Disorderly
  • Drowsiness or sleeping at a bar/table
  • Exuberant
  • Inappropriate sexual advances
  • Loss of inhibition
  • Loud/boisterous
  • Not understanding normal conversation
  • Offensive, including the use of offensive language
  • Overly friendly
  • Physically violent
  • Rude
  • Vomiting

If you note any of the above indicators in a patron’s conduct, assess if there could be causes other than intoxication. Speaking to a person about the possible causes for their signs of intoxication is important in meeting your obligations under the Liquor Act. It also ensures that you do not unlawfully discriminate against a person with mental or physical impairments.

Your observations of the quantity, rate and type of liquor consumed by a patron on the premises can help inform your assessment of whether that person is unduly intoxicated.

In the situation where you observe a patron has consumed little or no liquor at your venue but they are showing signs of being unduly intoxicated, they may have consumed liquor (or other intoxicating substances) before entering your venue, or you may not have seen their previous consumption at the premises. If they display indicators of undue intoxication and you have spoken to them to ascertain there are no other causes, you still have grounds for reasonable belief that they are unduly intoxicated.

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