Interlock Device

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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Interlock Driver Licence


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.

The program 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?

A Transport for NSW-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 bystander 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 immobilise the vehicle in response to failed breath tests.

Who is eligible for an interlock driver 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 two 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 Driver Licence (known as the interlock participation period).

The offender may apply for an Interlock Driver Licence within 28 days of the disqualification compliance period expiring. The interlock participation period begins when the offender is issued with an Interlock Driver 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 driver licence?

The law requires that you complete a disqualification compliance period before you are eligible for an interlock driving licence.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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