Interlock driving licence
On 8 September 2003 the Alcohol Interlock Program commenced as a new penalty for Courts to use in sentencing of drivers convicted of certain serious drink driving offences. The Alcohol Interlock Program is designed to enable convicted drink drivers to continue to legally drive after serving a short period of disqualification. The exact period of disqualification depends upon the offence charged.
It also addresses underlying alcohol abuse issues through its requirement that the offender attends a mandatory brief medical consultation to discuss alcohol issues before the Interlock Driver Licence is issued.
How does the interlock device work?
An RMS (RTA) approved Interlock Device is an electronic breath testing device wired to the ignition of a car to prevent the car from being started unless the driver passes a breath test. To reduce the potential for a bystanders to start the car the interlock device is programmed to require retests to be taken at random intervals. Should a driver fail a retest the interlock device is programmed to sound an alarm of horn and lights until the ignition is turned off. A breath test is then required to start the car. The interlock device is also programmed to immobilize the vehicle in response to fail breath tests.
Who is eligible for an interlock driving licence?
You may be eligible to participate in the program if you have been issued with a Court Attendance Notice for one of the following offences.
- Low-range PCA (if you have previously been convicted of a PCA offence within the last five years)
- Mid-range PCA
- High-range PCA
- Refuse or fail to submit to breath analysis.
How does the interlock penalty operate?
A Court that convicts a person of any of the offences mentioned above will have the discretion to order the Licence Disqualification be suspended if the person participates in the Interlock Program. The Court must issue 2 penalty orders. The first penalty order is for a full disqualification period for the offence. The second penalty order is the disqualification suspension order. The disqualification suspension order provides for a mandatory reduced disqualification period (known as the disqualification compliance period) followed by a period on an Interlock Device Licence (known as the Interlock participation period).
The offender may apply for an Interlock Device Licence within 28 days of the disqualification compliance period expiring. The Interlock participation period commences when the offender is issued with an Interlock Drivers Licence. The effect of the Interlock participation period is to suspend the remainder of the full disqualification period. On successful completion of the Interlock participation program the full disqualification period is deemed to have been served.
When can you apply for an interlock driving licence?
The law requires that you complete a disqualification compliance period before you are eligible for the interlock driving licence program.
After an order is made by the court the RMS (RTA) will send you an Interlock information package that will contain full details of what you must do to obtain your interlock driving licence.
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.