Generally, the alcohol interlock program lasts for as long as the original disqualification period imposed by the Magistrate’s Court. However, the convicted drink driver can only enroll in the alcohol interlock program after serving at least half of the disqualification period.
There are convicted drink drivers who stubbornly refuse to apply for and obtain a license with an alcohol interlock condition. There are also those drivers who refuse to apply and obtain an alcohol interlock registration but continue to drive their cars just the same. These recalcitrant drivers can be charged with and penalized with a fine (30 penalty units), with imprisonment (up to four months) and/ or immobilization of their car (for twelve months). Aside from these penalties, they will be sentenced to the alcohol interlock program for an extended disqualification. Under the Road Safety (Alcohol Interlocks) Act 2002, the Magistrate’s Court was given the discretion to determine the length of the alcohol interlock extension.
Some magistrates imposed alcohol interlock for a period of three years especially for subsequent drink drivers, for those who were convicted of drink driving and their blood alcohol concentration is above 0.15%, for those who figured in a collision as a result of driving drunk. These orders of the Magistrate’s Court have been assailed on appeal as being oppressive as three years was considered to be too harsh and disproportionate to the traffic offence committed.
The Road Safety Act 1986 was amended to make the penalties uniform. Under Section 5 (5) (d) (i) of the Road Legislation (Projects and Road Safety) Act 2006, the Magistrate’s Court was given the discretion to impose an extension of the alcohol interlock but the extension cannot be lower than 6 months or longer than twelve months for first time offenders. This means that the Magistrate’s Court must impose the disqualification as originally set forth in the law (anywhere from three months to 12 months) but this penalty may be extended (that is, a new period is tacked on the original interlock disqualification).
The Magistrate’s Court was also given discretion to extend and tack on an alcohol interlock period for up to four years when the driver is a repeat or subsequent offender.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.