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A celebration of Origin: Alcohol Ignition Interlock in New South Wales and Queensland

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June 20, 2016

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This second article in our ‘State of Origin’ series will explain the way in which mandatory Alcohol Ignition Interlock (“Interlock”) requirements operate between New South Wales and Queensland.

This topic will pose the question ‘If I travel interstate to watch the Origin, what happens to my Interlock requirement?’

Alcohol Ignition Interlock

It is the law in New South Wales as well as in Queensland that a person whose driver licence is disqualified by a court for certain drink driving offences, must be subject to a mandatory Interlock requirement after they are granted the entitlement to hold a driver licence again.  In short, an Interlock requirement means that a person is obliged to fit a breath testing device to a vehicle and to only drive that vehicle for a certain period.  The function of the testing device is to measure a person’s blood alcohol content and to prevent the vehicle from being started if alcohol is present in the person’s system.  Contravening an Interlock requirement is an offence in both states, as is failing to comply with a condition of a licence.

So what happens to a person who is the subject of an Interlock requirement in one state, and they travel to the other? Does the requirement carry-over, or are they free to drive without an Interlock device while on the other side of the border?

To use our State of Origin case study: could a person who has an Interlock in either state travel to the other to watch the remaining games, and drive a friend’s car or a hire car while there?

The Interlock requirements carry over from Queensland to New South Wales and in the reverse so our hypothetical Origin fan would not be permitted to drive without their Interlock device.  Additionally, if our travelling supporter did drive without their device in either state, they risk committing not one, but two offences (one in each jurisdiction).

The Blue position

The holder of a New South Wales Interlock licence is required to have an Interlock device fitted for between 1 and 4 years.  To drive a vehicle without an Interlock device during this period (or to in any other way contravene a condition of the Interlock licence) constitutes an offence in New South Wales.

The holder of a New South Wales Interlock licence who comes to Queensland is required by the law here to abide by all the conditions of their New South Wales licence, this includes an Interlock requirement.  Failure to abide by a condition (not just an Interlock condition, but any condition) is an offence under Queensland law.

This means that a Blues supporter who has an Interlock licence might commit an offence in both New South Wales and in Queensland if they were to drive any but their nominated vehicle, with their Interlock device fitted, while travelling to watch the game.

The Maroon position

In Queensland, after a person gets their licence back in the wake of a disqualification for certain drink driving offences, their licence is subject to a mandatory Interlock condition for 12 months.

As with New South Wales, it is an offence in Queensland to contravene an Interlock requirement (for example by driving any but a nominated vehicle fitted with an authorised Interlock device).  If our hypothetical Maroons supporter were to travel to New South Wales and drive a vehicle without their Interlock device they risk committing an offence against Queensland law.  Additionally, the New South Wales driver licencing regulations require the holder of an interstate licence to comply with all conditions of that licence while in New South Wales.  This means that, in addition to an offence against Queensland law, our travelling fan also risks committing an offence in New South Wales if they do not comply fully with their Interlock requirement.

While it is, of course, our advice that you comply in full with all conditions of an Interlock licence, or an Interlock condition, if you should happen to find yourself the subject of proceedings for offences across both Origin states, the Armstrong Legal team stand ready to advise and assist you with experienced traffic lawyers in each.

About the Author

John is partner of Armstrong Legal and head of the Criminal Law Division. The experience John possesses, being a high quality mix of defence and prosecution skills, together with his team at Armstrong Legal, mean you can be certain of accurate, dependable and practical advice on how your matter can dealt with.

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