MJTougher penalties for drink-driving offences came into effect in NSW aimed at reducing trauma on our roads. The changes are particularly significant for those convicted of first-time mid-range offences i.e. a blood alcohol reading between 0.08 and 0.149 and no convictions of a similar kind or major drink-drive offences in the previous 5 years.

Penalties from 3 December 2018

If you are convicted of a first-time mid-range drink driving offence committed on or after 3 December 2018 the court must now order you to participate in the interlock program for a minimum 12 months and disqualify you from driving for a minimum 6 months. If you wish to drive after the disqualification period has passed you must apply for an Interlock licence which carries with it a zero alcohol limit.

What is an alcohol interlock device and who pays?

An interlock is an electronic breath testing device that is connected to the ignition of a vehicle and prevents it from starting if alcohol is detected. It is also programed to require random breath tests whilst the vehicle is being driven and records all alcohol readings, vehicle starts, engine shut-offs and violations. Data is downloaded from the device monthly and sent to NSW Roads and Maritime Services for review. Interlock devices also have built in cameras to reduce the risk of another person providing a breath sample to start the vehicle.

The cost of the interlock program is born by the participant and costs between $2,200 and $2,500.00 for one year. This is on top of an increased potential fine of up to $2,200. Although the Court can approve a concession rate or grant an exemption from participating in the interlock program (and extend the disqualification period) they will only do so in limited circumstances.

A conviction for first-time mid-range PCA will cost you.

If you have been charged with a drink-driving offence the Solicitors at Everingham Solomons can assist you in preparing and presenting your case to help achieve the best possible outcome because Helping You is Our Business