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Mandatory Interlock Orders

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

In NSW, courts are required to make Mandatory Interlock Orders upon conviction of certain drink drive and traffic offences. If you commit one of the offences on or after 1 February 2015 and are convicted, you will be disqualified from driving and ordered to install an interlock device in your car, motorbike or truck.

What is an interlock order?

An interlock order is an order made by the court when you are sentenced for certain offences. It is a court order that disqualifies you from driving and, after that disqualification period ends, requires you to obtain an 'interlock drivers licence' and participate in the interlock program for a specified time.

Participation in the interlock program means that you must:

  • Go to your GP for an assessment to get a Drink-less medical certificate. This must be done within the last 4 weeks of your disqualification period;
  • Get an interlock device installed in your car by an approved provider;
  • Blow into the device and register a nil alcohol reading to start your car;
  • Blow into the device and register a nil alcohol reading at random times while you are driving your car; and
  • Drive no other car for the duration of the program.

If the device detect alcohol on your breath, the car’s engine will turn off and you won’t be able to re-start the car. The device also keeps a log of when this occurs which can be viewed by Police and can lead to further charges.

Limited exemptions apply to the program. If you are not granted an exemption by the court and you cannot or do not comply with the interlock order then you will be disqualified from driving for 5 years.

What offences will always result in a Mandatory Interlock Order?

The court must make a Mandatory Interlock Order if you are convicted of certain serious driving and alcohol related offences, including:

  • Refuse or fail to provide a sufficient sample for analysis;
  • Drive with High Range PCA;

The court may make a Mandatory Interlock Order if you are convicted of:

  • Dangerous driving occasioning death;
  • Dangerous driving occasioning GBH;
  • Aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death; or
  • Aggravated dangerous driving occasioning GBH.

The court must also make a Mandatory Interlock Order for some offences if you have been convicted of a certain other offence within 5 years.

When else will a court impose a mandatory interlock order?

The court must make an order if you are convicted of any of the following offences:

  • Drive with Novice Range PCA;
  • Drive with Special Range PCA;
  • Drive with Low Range PCA;
  • Drive with Mid Range PCA; or
  • Drive under the influence of alcohol or other drug

AND in the previous 5 years you were also convicted of any of the following offences:

  • Drive with Novice Range PCA;
  • Drive with Special Range PCA;
  • Drive with Low Range PCA;
  • Drive with Mid Range PCA;
  • Drive with High Range PCA;
  • Drive under the influence of alcohol or other drug; or
  • Refuse or fail to provide a sufficient sample for analysis.

How long are the interlock orders for?

The table below outlines the length of time you must be on the interlock program:

Offence Minimum time off the road Maximum time off the road Minimum time in interlock program
Novice Range, Special Range or Low Range (second offence) 1 months 3 months 12 months
Mid Range (second offence) 6 months 9 months 24 months
High Range 6 months 9 months 24 months
High Range (second offence) 9 months 12 months 48 months
DUI (second offence) 6 months 9 months 24 months
Refuse/fail to provide sample 6 months 9 months 24 months
Refuse/fail to provide sample (second offence) 9 months 12 months 48 months

What happens if I try to drive the car after I’ve been drinking?

All drivers on the interlock program are treated as 'novice' drivers. This means they are the equivalent of provisional licence holders and must have zero alcohol in their breath when driving a car.

The interlock device will take a photograph and store data of any attempt to drive with alcohol in your breath. This data is reviewed by the RMS and the RMS may take further action. The RMS can issue warning letters, require you to undertake further medical assessments, require you to complete a fitness to drive assessment, extend the interlock program or suspend your licence.

The police may also charge you with a further offence if there is sufficient evidence.

When is the interlock order made?

The Interlock Order is made when you are being sentenced for the offence.

Are there any exemptions?

Yes, but only where very strict requirements are met.

What do I need to prove to get an exemption?

To be exempt a person must prove that:

  • They do not have access to a car; or
  • They have a medical condition preventing them from providing a big enough sample of breath AND the machine can’t be reasonably modified.

To prove that you do not have access to a car you must show that:

  • You are not a registered operator of a car;
  • You are not an owner or part owner;
  • You do not share a car with a registered operator;
  • You do not share a car with an owner or part owner; or
  • If you are any of the above, that it is unreasonable to install a device.

The person is only granted an exemption from the interlock program. They will still have to serve the disqualification period if the exemption is granted.

When do I need to prove this?

If you wish to apply for an exemption you must be able to prove it to the court when you are being sentenced for the offence.

How do I get the interlock device installed?

Once an order is made you must get an interlock device installed in your car, motorbike or truck by an approved provider. An approved provider is a company authorised by the government to install interlock devices.

You must return to your installer once a month to get the device monitored and recalibrated.

You can search for your closest interlock installer at the following website: http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/index.cgi?action=interlocksearch.form



*This information is accurate as at 1 February 2015.


where to next?

In NSW, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

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