Mandatory alcohol interlock orders were extended recently to have application to all mid-range drink driving offences, in addition to other serious alcohol offences and repeat offenders. Mandatory interlock orders are now a standard part of sentencing for drink driving offences in the Local Court. Interlock exemption orders are also available in certain circumstances.
By Lawyers content updated
Amendments have been made to the commentary and some precedent letters in the By Lawyers Traffic publication, within the NSW Criminal Guide, to cover in greater detail mandatory alcohol interlock orders and interlock exemption orders. Enhancements in this regard have also been made to the Appendix of traffic penalties for drink driving offences, located at the end of the Traffic commentary.
Mandatory alcohol interlock orders
Offenders who are subject to an alcohol interlock order can choose to install an interlock device in their vehicle at their own cost – currently about $2200 – and thereby reduce their disqualification period. The device prevents the vehicle being started unless the driver has a zero blood alcohol level. The devices also now incorporate facial recognition technology.
An offender who chooses to re-commence driving under an alcohol interlock order is then subject to a period during which they can only drive a vehicle fitted with an alcohol interlock device. The length of that period will depend upon the seriousness of the offence for which the order was imposed. If they choose not to install the interlock device, their disqualification period will continue for five years.
Interlock exemption orders
It is possible to seek an interlock exemption order. This means that the offender completes their entire disqualification period and must attend a Sober driver program – which currently costs $770 – but they are not subject to any interlock period. Good reasons need to be provided in support of an application for an interlock exemption order.
Practitioners should see the By Lawyers NSW Traffic Guide for further information.