Alcohol Interlock Device NSW

Alcohol Interlock Device NSW

Introduction to the Alcohol Interlock Program in NSW

Legislation introducing the Alcohol Interlock Program was introduced into New South Wales on 8th of September 2003 which allowed for certain offenders to be granted the option of carrying out their drink driving penalties and sentences through this alternative program. The discretion as to whether or not a person is provided with the option to participate in the Alcohol Interlock Program is left entirely up to the Court to make the appropriate order. However, the Courts will generally not make such an order unless the offender or the offenders legal representative puts such an application before the Court.
 
The whole idea surrounding the Alcohol Interlock Program is to allow offenders to get back on the road in a shorter period of time yet be restricted to the use of a vehicle that is fitted with an Alcohol Interlock Device NSW which requires the user of the vehicle to have a blood alcohol reading under 0.02 in order to be able to operate the vehicle. This program is especially aimed towards repeat offenders and people who have displayed signs of problems with alcohol consumption. The Alcohol Interlock Program ensures that these types of offenders are subject to blood alcohol testing every time they attempt to operate their motor vehicle.
 
The program is clearly designed to help keep drink drivers off the roads and help maintain safer driving environments. 
There have been many studies from Australia, the United States and other countries which have been well conducted and shown that the use of the Alcohol Interlock Device NSW has very positive effects on reducing the amount of re-offending in relation to drink driving offences. Furthermore the studies have show longer term benefits of reducing alcohol consumption for those offenders using the Alcohol Interlock Device.
For these reason and many more which we will discuss throughout this article, the Alcohol Interlock Program can be extremely effective is keeping our roads safer.

How to apply for the Alcohol Interlock Program?

VERY IMPORTANT: It is very important for you to know the the following points:
  • The Court must make the order for Alcohol Interlock Device at the time of sentence.
  • If the Court does not make an order for the Alcohol Interlock Program at the time of sentence then it will be too late to go back and ask the Court to make an order at a later date.
  • The Court has a discretion to decide whether or not to grant an order for you to take part in the Alcohol Interlock Program.
  • The Court is the only authority who has the power to make an order for a person to participate in the Alcohol Interlock Program.
  • To be eligible to participate in the Alcohol Interlock Program you must have been found guilty of one or more of the offences outlined in Section 210 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (see table below).
If you have been charged with a drink driving offence then you may be able to apply to the Court for an Alcohol Interlock order to be made which will enable you the option of participating in the Alcohol Interlock Program. It is crucial as a first step that you seek that the Court makes the order at the time of sentence.
 
If the Court decides to make the order on sentence then it becomes pretty easy to participate in the program as long as you understand what steps are involved and your obligations for completing the program.
 
However, there will be various costs involved in the installation and monthly calibration of the Alcohol Interlock Device. You will also be required to serve out a reduced period of disqualification before you will be issued a Special Interlock Licence by the RMS. Furthermore, before you are granted the Special Interlock Licence you will need to get certain certificates signed off by a Medical Practitioner and also by the approved Alcohol Interlock Device NSW installer.
 
To get a better idea of exactly what steps are involved in the Alcohol Interlock Program see the steps below: 
STEP # 1: GET THE COURT ORDER MADE
STEP # 2: IS THE ALCOHOL INTERLOCK DEVICE SUITABLE FOR YOU?
STEP 3 #: SERVE OUT THE REDUCED DISQUALIFICATION PERIOD
STEP # 4: OBTAIN A MEDICAL CERTIFICATE FOLLOWING CONSULTATION
STEP # 5: INSTALL ALCOHOL INTERLOCK DEVICE BY APPROVED INTERLOCK INSTALLER
STEP # 6: APPLY TO RMS FOR SPECIAL INTERLOCK LICENCE
STEP # 7: AGREE TO SPECIAL INTERLOCK LICENCE CONDITIONS
STEP # 8: BE ISSUED WITH A SPECIAL INTERLOCK LICENCE
STEP # 9: SUBMIT YOUR CAR & INTERLOCK DEVICE FOR MONTHLY CALIBRATIONS
STEP # 10: SERVE OUT THE ALCOHOL INTERLOCK PROGRAM & APPLY FOR UNRESTRICTED LICENCE
 

 

 

How does the Alcohol Interlock Device NSW work?

Once the appropriate and approved Alcohol Interlock Device has been fitted into your vehicle you will then been required to blow into the device before attempting to start the ignition of the vehicle. If you try to turn the ignition of the vehicle on before attempting to blow air into the device then your vehicles ignition will simply not turn on. 
 
The device works in the same way as the devices used by Police when testing a persons blood alcohol reading. Basically, there is a small computer or micro-computer within the device that can assess what the blood alcohol reading is of the sample of air that has been blown into the device. In order to pass the Alcohol Interlock Test so that you can successfully start the ignition on your vehicle then the breath sample submitted into the device must record a blood alcohol reading of less that 0.02.
 
It must be remembered that if you are a driver who is taking part in the Alcohol Interlock Program and also a person who is on their Provisional drivers licence then the 0.00 blood alcohol reading laws still apply despite being able to start a vehicle with an Alcohol Interlock Device when your sample of breath is over 0.00 but under 0.02. The zero tolerance laws still apply and a person can still be charged with drink driving if found to be over the 0.00 limit and in charge of a motor vehicle.
 
One significant feature of the Alcohol Interlock Device is that it can randomly ensure that your have not started the vehicle having consumed no alcohol and then decided to leave the car running whilst consuming alcohol and then deciding to drive the vehicle afterwards. The unique feature means that random intervals throughout your driving trip the Alcohol Interlock Device can require the drive to pull over to the side of the road and provide a breath sample to ensure that the drivers blood alcohol reading is still under the 0.02 level. Once this has been done and the driver has successfully passed the test then they are able to start the vehicle ignition back up and continue on their trip.The micro-computer in the Alcohol Interlock Device is quite advanced as it records a large amount of data surrounding the use and testing that it provides to the user. This data is easy to be accessed by the approved device calibrators and installers to assess whether or not the Alcohol Interlock Device is working properly or whether or not it has been tampered with. This is predominantly the reason why the participant in the Alcohol Interlock Program is required to have the device assessed and calibrated on a monthly basis.
If a driver takes a breath test and fails the test because their blood alcohol reading is above 0.02 then the device with lock the user out for a period of 5 minutes or 30 minutes depending on the level of the users blood alcohol reading. Once the lock out period has expired the user can then resubmit a new breath test in order to try to start the vehicles ignition.
If a person does seek to exercise their Court orders to take part in the Alcohol Interlock Program then when it comes time to have the Alcohol Interlock Device installed into their vehicle by an approved installed then they will be further briefed on how the device works, how to use and treat the device and how often they need to come back to the approved installer for assessment and calibration of the Alcohol Interlock Device.
 
 

Alcohol Interlock Laws in NSW

In New South Wales specific legislative provisions have been put in place to be followed by the Courts.
 
The Road Transport Act 2013 has several sections which set out the laws in which the Alcohol Interlock Program can operate in New South Wales. These sections include the following:
 
Road Transport Act 2013 – Division 2: Use of interlock devices to disqualification
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It is worth having a look at all of the laws that relate to the Alcohol Interlock Program however the quite possible the most important section that relates to it is section 210 which outlines the Minimum Disqualification Period and also the Minimum Interlock Participation Period as per the particular drink driving offence that you have been charged with. 
 
In most circumstances, participation in the Alcohol Interlock Program can dramatically reduced the Court imposed disqualification period for the particular offence that you have been charged with. However, the catch is of course that you must participate in the Alcohol Interlock program for a set period of time, which basically means you can only drive a vehicle with an Alcohol Interlock Device NSW properly installed.
 
If you look at the regular disqualification periods for drink driving offences then you can see that some of the offences obtain significantly reduced disqualification period through participation in the Alcohol Interlock Program – Regular Drink Driving Disqualification Penalties. Take a look at the table set out below you can refer to the particular drink driving offence and then compare the Minimum Disqualification Period and also the Minimum Interlock Participation Period.
 
 

Section 210 of the Road Transport Act 2013

OFFENCE
MINIMUM DISQUALIFICATION PERIOD
MINIMUM INTERLOCK PARTICIPATION PERIOD
Drive or attempt to drive with a high range (>0.15) PCA (prescribed concentration of alcohol) (where there is a previous conviction for any alcohol-related major offence within the previous five-year period)

12 Months

48 months

 
Drive or attempt to drive with a high range (>0.15) PCA (where there is NOT a previous conviction for any alcohol-related major offence within the previous five-year period)

6 Months

24 Months

Drive or attempt to drive with a middle range (0.08 to <0.15) PCA (whether or not there is a previous conviction for any alcohol-related major offence within the previous five-year period)

6 Months

24 Month

Drive or attempt to drive with a low range (0.05 to <0.08) PCA (where there is a previous conviction for any alcohol-related offence within the previous five year period)

3 Months

12 Months

Drive or attempt to drive with a special range (0.02 to <0.05) PCA (where there is a previous conviction for any alcohol-related offence within the previous five year period)

3 Months

12 Months

 
Attempt to drive under the influence of alcohol (where there is a previous conviction for any alcohol-related major offence within the previous five-year period)

12 Months

24 Months

 
Attempt to drive under the influence of alcohol (where there is NOT a previous conviction for any alcohol-related major offence within the previous five-year period)

6 Months

24 Months

 
Drive under the influence of alcohol (where there is a previous conviction for any alcohol-related major offence within the previous five-year period)

12 Months

48 Months

 
Drive under the influence of alcohol (where there is NOT a previous conviction for any alcohol-related major offence within the previous five-year period)

6 Months

12 Months

 
Refuse or fail to submit to breath analysis test (where there is a previous conviction for any alcohol-related major offence within the previous five-year period)

12 Months

48 Months

 
Refuse or fail to submit to breath analysis test (where there is NOT a previous conviction for any alcohol-related major offence within the previous five-year period)

6 Months

24 Months

 
 
So in order to assess which Alcohol Interlock Program participation periods will be applicable to you then you need to match up what type of offence you have been charged with and also whether or not it is a “second or subsequent dui offence” then see what the applicable periods to that offence are.
 
 
 

Benefits of the Alcohol Interlock Program 

For some people there are certainly some major benefits in taking part in the Alcohol Interlock Program. However, it may not be for everyone since it can restrict a person to driving just one vehicle that has the Alcohol Interlock Device fitted. In addition to this there can be some significant ongoing expenses involved in having the device installed and further paying for monthly assessments and calibrations as required in the program. 
 
So for people who drive around in a work truck or vehicle on a daily basis the Alcohol Interlock Program may not be suitable for them because it may depend on their employer agreeing to have the device fitted into the work vehicle.
 
However, if a person is desperate to get back on the road driving again in order to get some normalcy back into their lives and to help them in their ability to work and earn an income then the Alcohol Interlock Program may be just the alternative form of sentence that they may wish to take.
 
Instead of serving out the entire full length disqualification period handed down by the Court, they can take the option of entering into the Alcohol Interlock Program and significantly reduced the disqualification period set by the Court. However, the offender will have to commit to all of the legal obligations and requirements of participating in the Alcohol Interlock Program.
 
 

Alcohol Interlock Summary

So after reading through the information and attached resources to this article on the Alcohol Interlock Device in New South Wales you should be in a far better position to assess whether you think the Alcohol Interlock Program could be beneficial for you. It would be a good idea to weigh up all of the advantages and disadvantages of the Alcohol Interlock Program to see whether it is right for you.
Remember that the Alcohol Interlock Program is designed to help make the roads a safer place by ensuring that drivers who have been involved in serious drink driving offenses or have accumulated repeat drink driving offenses can be subject to breath testing every time they wish to operate a motor vehicle on the roads. We have found from many of our clients is that the most crushing thing about being sentenced for a drink driving offence is the disqualification of a person licence and losing the ability to operate a motor vehicle.
Many people do not know about the additional option of participating in the Alcohol Interlock Program and being able to get back on the roads quicker. So it can certainly be a fantastic opportunity to return your life back to a bit of normalcy if you are able to reduce your period of disqualification and bet on with you normal daily living.
Throughout this article we have provided you with a very broad overview of how the Alcohol Interlock Program in New South Wales works. If there are some issues which are not clear then you should know that you can contact our very experience drink driving lawyers who can best advise you on how the Alcohol Interlock Program works and also discuss various strategies in presenting a case to the Court in order to get you the best result possible.

***

Contact DUI Lawyers NSW – Joshua Boorman on (02) 9283 8622.


SYDNEY DRINK DRIVING LAWYERS

Our Sydney DUI Lawyers can be contacted at:

Sydney Drink Driving Lawyers

14/362-370 Pitt St

Sydney NSW 2000

Ph: (02) 9283 8622

Alcohol Interlock Device NSW was written by Josh Boorman a Sydney Drink Driving Lawyer.
Joshua Boorman
Sydney Drink Driving Lawyers are experts in dealing with all drug and alcohol related Traffic Laws. We attend all courts in Sydney and the surrounding suburbs. Call (02) 9283 8622 or Email: sydneytrafficlawyers@gmail.com
Joshua Boorman
Joshua Boorman
Joshua Boorman

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