News Category - Criminal Law and Traffic Offences By Alice Cheek 04 December 2018

On Monday 3 December 2018 the NSW Government introduced new laws relating to drink driving offences. As of yesterday, there has been an increase in the number of drink driving offences which the Court will order a Mandatory Alcohol Interlock device be fitted to a drink drivers car. 

The new laws now mean that any first time Mid Range offender, or any first time offender found guilty of the offence of ‘drive motor vehicle under influence of alcohol’, will now be required to undertake the Alcohol Interlock Program. This effectively means that all drink driving offences, except for first time Low Range offenders, will be required to have an Alcohol Interlock device fitted to their cars.

What is an Alcohol Interlock?

Interlocks are electronic breath testing devices linked to the ignition system of cars, motorcycles and heavy vehicles. Drivers must provide a breath sample that the interlock analyses for the presence of alcohol before the vehicle will start.

If a positive sample is detected, the vehicle will not start. Randomly timed breath tests must also be passed during a journey. The interlock also includes a camera and takes a photograph of the person providing the breath sample to reduce the risk of a driver circumventing the program.

What are the changes and when do they apply?

These new laws apply to any drink driving offence committed on or after the regime start date of Monday 3 December 2018. Anyone who has been caught drink driving before the 3 December date, will be subject to the old regime. The government has indicated that they believe approximately 6,500 more offences each year will require Alcohol Interlock devices to be fitted to vehicles.

In respect of Alcohol Interlock devices the process for having one fitted to your car is as follows:

  1. Be convicted of a drink driving offences mandating an Alcohol Interlock device be fitted;
  2. Serve a period of disqualification as Ordered by the Court;
  3. Apply to have an Alcohol Interlock device fitted to your vehicle;
  4. Serve the period of having an Alcohol Interlock device fitted.

The current minimum period of time to have an Alcohol Interlock device fitted to your car is 12 months. If you are convicted of drink driving and required to have an Alcohol Interlock fitted, you will need to pay for the fitting and associated costs for your vehicle. 

New Laws in 2019

There has also been advance warning that in mid 2019 even harsher drink driving laws will be introduced in New South Wales. Under those new proposed amendments any Low Range drink driver will be issued with a $561 fine, but more importantly an immediate 3 month suspension. It has also been touted that these amendments will include legislation that repeat drink driving offenders will face vehicle sanctions, licence plate confiscation and vehicle impoundment for further offences.

If you have any questions in relations to these new laws, contact our expert team on 1800 650 656 to obtain detailed legal advice for your individual situation.

Alice Cheek |  Solicitor

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