JJ Blog Content 24 APR 2023 01

The NSW Alcohol Interlock Program: What You Should Know

Are you a driver in New South Wales who has been convicted of a drink driving offence? If so, you may be required to participate in the NSW Alcohol Interlock Program as part of your drink driving penalties in NSW. This program is an important part of the legal system’s efforts to reduce drink driving offences and improve road safety in NSW. Here’s what you should know about the program, including what it is, how it works and how to participate.

The Alcohol Interlock Program in NSW

The Alcohol Interlock Program is a mandatory program that requires certain drink driving offenders in NSW to install an alcohol interlock device in their vehicle. These include drivers who are convicted of mid-range, high-range, repeat and other serious drink-driving offences. The program aims to reduce drink driving offences, improve road safety and prevent accidents caused by drink driving in NSW.

If the court orders you to participate in the program, you will face a period of driver licence disqualification and be required to install an alcohol interlock device in your vehicle for at least 12 months. This is on top of any other penalties that may be imposed.

What Is an Alcohol Interlock?

An alcohol interlock is a device that is installed in a vehicle and requires the driver to provide a breath sample before the vehicle can be started. If the breath sample shows that the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is above the set limit, the vehicle will not start. The driver must then wait a period of time before they can provide another breath sample. The device also requires the driver to provide random breath samples while driving to prevent others from providing a sample on the driver’s behalf.

To further prevent attempts to circumvent the program, a camera is typically installed with the interlock and takes a photograph of the person providing the breath sample. The interlock also records all breath test results, photographs of the person providing the sample, and any attempts to tamper with the device. This information is crucial in monitoring attempts to drink and drive and detecting any breaches of interlock license conditions. 

Understanding Interlock Offences, Disqualifications and Interlock Periods

The disqualification periods for drink driving offences vary, but typically range from 6 months to several years. The interlock period is usually 12 months, but can be longer for repeat offenders or for those who are unable to install the device immediately after their disqualification period ends. For detailed information about disqualification and interlock periods that apply, click here.

It is important to note that in NSW, all program participants must maintain a zero blood alcohol concentration while driving, meaning you cannot have any alcohol in your system while operating a vehicle. An alcohol interlock device is there to help keep you and other drivers safe on the road. If you attempt to drink and drive or interfere with the interlock device, it will be recorded by the device. You can find the other interlock licence conditions here.

It is illegal to drive without an interlock device when you are on an interlock licence. If you decide to drive another vehicle after drinking, you may be charged with a drink driving offence. This can result in additional penalties and licence disqualification.

Furthermore, it’s a serious offence for another person to assist you in starting a vehicle with an interlock. For example, if someone else gives a breath sample to start your vehicle so that you can drive, both of you could face serious consequences.

Failing to meet the requirements of the court order can have serious consequences, including a driver licence disqualification of at least five years. Therefore, it is crucial to comply with all aspects of the Alcohol Interlock Program to avoid further legal issues and potential harm to yourself and others on the road.

How to Participate in the Alcohol Interlock Program

To participate in the Alcohol Interlock Program, you must first be eligible. This usually means that you have been convicted of a relevant drink driving offence and have completed your disqualification period. To get your interlock licence, you need to:

  • Visit your doctor and get a Medical Consultation Certificate.
  • Install an alcohol interlock device in your vehicle and get your Interlock Installation Certificate.
  • Apply for your interlock license at a Service NSW centre.

Take note that it’s actually against the law for anyone who isn’t an accredited interlock service provider or their agent to install, maintain or remove an interlock, as well as label or remove the label from an interlock. So make sure you’re hiring a qualified professional for those tasks.

You will also need to attend regular servicing and monitoring appointments to ensure that the device is functioning properly. Your drink driving lawyer can provide you with more information about the program and help you navigate the process.

The NSW Alcohol Interlock Program is an important part of the drink driving penalties in NSW. If you are required to participate in the program, speak to a drink driving lawyer for more information and guidance on how to navigate the program and get your driving privileges back.

Are you facing charges related to drink driving? At Jackson John Defence Lawyers, our team of expert drink driving lawyers can help you navigate the legal process and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. With a commitment to justice and a proven track record of success, you can trust us to fight for your rights and protect your interests. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you.