If you have been convicted of drink driving you may be required to participate in the Alcohol Interlock Program.
The program allows drivers to finish their licence disqualification early, on the condition that an interlock device is installed in their car for a period of time.
The interlock device is a breathalyser that is linked to your vehicle’s ignition. You will be required to blow into the device before driving as well as randomly during the trip. If there is alcohol on your breath then the vehicle will not start.
Who has to participate in the Interlock Program?
The program applies to anyone who has committed:
- A second or subsequent Novice Range, Special Range or Low Range PCA within 5 years;
- Mid Range PCA;
- High Range PCA;
- Driving Under the Influence of alcohol; and
- Refusing or failing to submit to a breath analysis or blood sample.
How long do I need to have interlock for?
The magistrate will decide how long you need to participate in the program.
The law sets out different minimum participation periods for different offences. The magistrate can order a longer participation period if they think it is necessary.
|Offence||Disqualification period with interlock||Minimum Interlock participation period|
|Novice Range, Special Range, Low Range PCA – second or subsequent offence within 5 years||1-3 months||12 months|
|Mid Range PCA – first offence||3-6 months||12 months|
|Mid Range PCA – second or subsequent offence within 5 years||6-9 months||24 months|
|High Range PCA – first offence||6-9 months||24 months|
|High Range PCA – second or subsequent offence within 5 years||9-12 months||48 months|
|Driving Under the Influence – first offence||6-9 months||24 months|
|Driving Under the Influence – second offence within 5 years||9-12 months||48 months|
|Refuse or fail breath analysis or blood sample – first offence||6-9 months||24 months|
|Refuse or fail breath analysis or blood sample – second or subsequent offence within 5 years||9-12 months||48 months|
Interlock Program Exemptions
A magistrate can exempt you from participating in the Interlock Program. The Exemption Order is made at the time of sentencing.
The magistrate can only grant an exemption if:
- You don’t have access to a vehicle in which to install the interlock device;
- You have a medical condition that prevents you from using the device (diagnosed by a doctor); or
- If your offence was a first offence of Mid Range PCA, the making of the interlock order would cause you severe hardship such that the exemption order is more appropriate.
In practice, it is not easy to obtain an interlock exemption, and often drivers would prefer to participate in the program as the alternative is a much longer disqualification period. Contact us today for an assessment of whether you may qualify for an exemption and if so, if it would be best in your situation.
What happens if I don’t complete the interlock program?
Your licence will be disqualified for 5 years if you don’t complete your interlock program.
How do I get the interlock device installed?
You can begin the process of enrolling in the interlock program 28 days before your disqualification finishes. The RMS will usually send you a letter around this time.
Follow these steps to begin the interlock program:
1. See your doctor: Your doctor will assess you and complete a Medical Consultation Certificate. You must see your doctor within the 28 days before you apply for the interlock licence.
2. Have the device installed: The device must be installed before you apply for your interlock licence. You will need to provide a certificate from an accredited interlock service provider to prove this. You can find a list of accredited interlock service providers on the RMS website.
3. Sign your driver’s licence statement and privacy declaration: This needs to be done before you apply for your interlock licence. You can download the form from the RMS website.
4. Apply for your interlock licence: Once your disqualification period has finished, you can apply for your interlock drivers licence at a Services NSW registry.