Alcohol Interlock Devices

The consequences of being convicted of a drink driving offence in Queensland can include significant penalties including, fines, mandatory imprisonment, driver licence disqualification and the imposition of an alcohol interlock device.

Drink driving is a particularly prevalent offence in Queensland and deterrent sentences are regularly imposed. In an effort to deter repeat drink drivers there is a requirement to fit an alcohol interlock device, which prevents the vehicle from being started if the driver has any alcohol in their breath.

The program has been running in Queensland since 2010 and has been adopted by other states, including New South Wales as part of their drink driving regime.

Who is subject to Interlock Conditions?

An alcohol interlock condition is automatically applied to an offender convicted in the following circumstances:

  1. Convicted of Driving under the influence of alcohol
  2. Convicted of a driving offence with a BAC of greater than .15;
  3. Convicted of an offence of failing to provide a specimen of breath for analysis.
  4. Convicted of a an offence of dangerous driving while affected by alcohol.
  5. Convicted of a second drink driving offence within a periof of five (5) years.

What are the conditions of an alcohol interlock?

The program is for 12 months. This time starts the day after your drink driving disqualification period ends.   You may only drive a nominated vehicle that is fitted with an approved interlock, while holding the interlock licence.

What happens if I don’t fit an alcohol interlock?

Should you choose not to install an alcohol interlock device (and do not apply for an exemption) you will be unable to drive for a period of two (2) years.

Can I get an exemption from the alcohol interlock?

In some limited circumstance you can apply for an exemption from the interlock program. You may be able to apply for an exemption if you:

  1. live in a remote location, outside a 150km radius from the nearest interlock installer’s place of business;
  2. live on an island not connected to the mainland by a bridge, where there is not interlock installer and the island is not a non-exempt island;
  3. have a medical condition that stops you from providing the required volume of breath to operate the alcohol interlock; or
  4. have extenuating circumstances such as severe hardship.

What are the consequences if I drive a vehicle not fitted with an alcohol interlock?

If you are intercepted driving outside of the requirements of your interlock licence you will be a disqualified driver and you can be disqualified from driving from between 2 to 5 years.  The maximum penalty for disqualified driving includes a period of imprisonment.

What happens if I drive a work car?

Should you drive a company vehicle, you will need to obtain the permission of your employer for an interlock to be installed in the vehicle so that you may legally drive it over the 12 months of the interlock program.

How do I leave the program?

You could leave the program after the minimum period if you do the following for 12 months:

  1. hold a valid Queensland driver licence with an ‘I’ (for ‘interlock’) on it;
  2. have your chosen vehicle fitted with an approved interlock;
  3. drive only your nominated vehicle; and
  4. do not drink alcohol while driving.

What happens if someone else drives my car?

Other drivers, such as family members, may drive the vehicle with the interlock installed.  These drivers must also check their BAC by blowing into the ignition interlock.  If any driver’s BAC is over the limit the engine will not start.  There will also be a record of the failed breath test.

What sort of licence will I have?

You will have a probationary licence which will be marked with an “I” condition. Any conditions associated with a probationary licence will apply, such as demerit points etc.

If you or someone you know has been charged or is about to be charged with a traffic offence, you should contact an experienced traffic lawyer for advice. Call Gatenby Criminal Law today.