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Interlocks in Victoria
Alcohol Interlocks

 

Interlock Conditions

Interlock devices are breath test machines hard wired onto the ignition system of your vehicle. They will not allow the vehicle to start unless a 0.00% breath sample is provided.

Interlock conditions are now mandatory for every person who loses their licence for a drink driving offence committed from 1/10/14.   Your new licence will permit you to drive a motor vehicle only if the vehicle has an authorised interlock device installed in it.

Interlock conditions are not imposed when the court sentences you. They are imposed when you apply to get a new drivers licence. If you want to avoid the mandatory interlock laws, then you need to avoid being found guilty of drink driving.

interlock


The interlock tables below apply only to people who have lost their licence for drink driving.


Interlock Periods
for offences committed since 1.10.2014
Your latest reading
1st offence
2nd offence
3 or more offences

Under 0.15%

At least 6 months

At least 12 months

At least 4 years

0.15% or more,

Refusals.

At least 6 months

At least 4 years

Interlock Periods
for offences committed between 10.10.2006 and 30.9.2014
Your latest reading
1st offence
2nd offence
3 or more offences

Under 0.07%

No Interlock applicable

At least 12 months

At least 4 years

0.07% to 0.149%

P-Platers: at least 6 months.*
Under 26 y.o.: at least 6 months*
All Others: Discretionery 6 months.

0.15% or more,

Refusals.

At least 6 months

At least 4 years

* Asterixed provisions apply to offences committed after 1 January 2007 only.

Interlock Periods for offences committed between 13.5.2002 and 9.10.2006
Your latest reading
1st Offence
2nd Offence
3 or more offences

Under 0.15%

No interlocks

At least 6 months

At least 3 years

0.15% or more, Refusals

Optional 6 months

At least 3 years

First time offenders

If you lost your licence as a result of a drink driving offence committed after 1/10/14 and it was the only drink driving conviction within 10 years of the date you apply for a licence then you will automatically receive a 6 months interlock condition on your licence from VicRoads. The period of ten years is calculated from the date of conviction to the date of the application for a licence. The offence dates are not relevant.


Repeat offenders

The court is obliged by legislation to impose an interlock condition on your licence if you have lost your licence for a drink driving related offence and you have been found guilty of two or more drink driving or drug driving related offences in the period of ten years prior to the date on which you make your application for licence restoration (i.e. if your most recent drink driving offence is not your first drink driving offence in the past 10 years). 

The date you were found guilty of the earlier offence is the relevant date in determining whether or not the prior offence will be counted. If more than 10 years has passed since the date you were found guilty of a drink driving offence then that offence will not be counted as a prior offence.  If your licence was cancelled because of an Infringement Notice, then you were found guilty 28 days after the date of the infringement notice. If your licence was cancelled by a court, the relevant date is the date the court found you guilty of the drink driving offence, even if sentencing was adjourned to a later date. 

If you make a relicencing application within 10 years of the relevant date, the prior offence must be counted and the above tables will apply. The date of your application is arguably the date you appear before the Magistrate and request the court to make the licence restoration order. A contrary view is that the relevant date of your application is the date that you file the notice of intention to apply for relicensing with the court and pay the court fee. So best to err on the long side when lodging the application with the court if you are trying to avoid falling within the 10 year period. Sometimes it is prudent to delay filing your application for re-licencing if the passing of time will see an old offence become more than 10 years old and thus reduce or eliminate the burden of an interlock.


Avoiding an Interlock

If your most recent offence is after 1/10/14 and you lost your licence, then the only way to avoid an interlock is to apply for an exemption on health grounds - i.e. you can not physically use an interlock. A person who applies for an exemption on health grounds will then be subject to medical review and which could result in licence conditions or suspensions if their poor health makes them unfit to drive.


Cost

There are several providers of interlocks and they set their own fees. Typically there is an installation fee, a monthly service fee and a removal fee. Expect about $140 per month. There is also a mandatory $40 per month administration fee charged by VicRoads which is collected by the interlock installer.


Interlock removal

If you have a VicRoads managed interlock condition, then apply to VicRoads to remove the interlock condition.

If a court imposed your interlock condition, then you will need to apply to a court to have the condition removed. You can not apply for removal until the minimum period has passed. You need to give the police and the court 28 days notice of your application, so go to the court 28 days prior to the end of your minimum interlock period. A fee applies. You will need to go through another assessment and report much like the one you went through to get your licence restoration order (which is undertaken by the same type of people). 

The court will not remove an interlock condition from your licence unless you can show reports for a total of 6 months of interlock use. So you need to get an interlock installed in a vehicle for at least 6 months - even if you don't drive the vehicle anywhere other than to the interlock service centre. If you have an interlock condition on your licence for 3 years, you do not need to have the interlock installed for the entire 3 year period. A court can remove an interlock condition after the 3 year period has ended provided you have actually used the interlock for at least 6 months. So, you could choose not to drive at all for the first 30 months and then drive with an interlock installed for the last 6 months only.

When you go to court for the interlock removal application, the court will receive a report including a print-out of every time the interlock was used. If the magistrate finds that you attempted to use the vehicle whilst in excess of 0.000%, your application will very likely fail. That is because you are on a zero limit and you need to prove that you are capable of complying with a zero condition before the interlock will be removed. The magistrate will likely tell you to come back in 6 months if you have any positive results on the interlock report.


Zero Condition

All people who have an interlock condition on their licence are subject to a 0.00% prescribed alcohol limit for a period of 3 years from the date they are given permission to be relicenced, or for the duration of the interlock period, whichever is longer.


Interlock Offences

If you drive a motor vehicle prior to getting permission to be relicenced, you will be charged with driving whilst unlicensed and you risk getting a further period of licence cancellation. 

If you have an interlock condition on your licence and you drive any motor vehicle (which is used or intended to be used on a road) while it is not fitted with an interlock - regardless whether you drive it on a public road or on private property and regardless whether the vehicle is capable of being registered -  or you drive with an interlock that has been tampered with, you will be charged with driving in breach of an interlock condition. This carries maxiumum penalties of $3500 and 4 months imprisonment,  optional licence loss and optional vehicle immobilisation for up to 12 months.

If you want to drive more than one vehicle then you will need more than one interlock. You will not be able to install an interlock on a motor cycle.


Legal Assistance: Most applicants can complete all the relicencing steps without the need to engage a lawyer. However, some cases are exceptional and can benefit from legal assistance.  If you fail in your application to be relicenced, or fail to have an interlock removed, or desire to avoid having an interlock fitted, you may wish to seek legal assistance. 

You have 28 days to appeal against any decision to impose an interlock condition on your licence. You lodge an appeal by attending at any Magistrates Court and signing a notice of appeal. An appeal is heard in the County Court and can be a full re-hearing of the licence restoration application or a re-hearing of just the decision to impose an interlock condition on the licence. It is wise to get legal prepresentation if you are considering an appeal.  Expect to pay between $900 and $1,500 to have a lawyer handle a licence restoration application and about $2,200 for an appeal. 

 

Problems with current Interlock laws

Victorian legislation requires the court to make it a condition of being relicensed (if you fall within the above circumstances) that the person not drive a motor vehicle unless it is fitted with an Interlock. The legislation (s.50AAA - 50AAH Road Safety Act) does not require the person to install an Interlock on any vehicle. The legislation does not require a person to own a car or to install an interlock on any car. But unless you get an interlock installed in a car,  then you are not going to be able to get a report that covers 6 months of successful interlock use. 

So if you have a 6 month interlock condition and no one will let you put an interlock on their car, you won't be able to drive unless you buy a car and put an interlock on it. 

The rules of interlock use suggest that no one else use your interlock. If you put an interlock on someone else's car and they are also using it, you risk the other person blowing alcohol into the device - or apparently even the vapour of pepperoni or after shave will set it off.   A positive result would be attributed to the person with the i-condition, and this will be recorded and brought up in court. It could prevent the interlock condition being removed at the end of the 6 month period. 

When a person wants to have an interlock condition removed from their licence, they have to make an application to the court. S.50AAB(5) Road Safety Act obliges the person to obtain a report from an interlock supplier and requires the court to take into account that report. The report must:

cover all of the period, being at least 6 months, since an approved alcohol interlock was installed by an approved alcohol interlock supplier in a motor vehicle driven by the person during that period; and includes an assessment by each approved alcohol interlock supplier who maintained or authorised a person or body to maintain the approved alcohol interlock during that period on the extent to which the person complied with the manufacturer's instructions for using the approved alcohol interlock.

So in order to get an interlock condition removed, the person must have an interlock installed on a vehicle for at least 6 months. Parliament tells the court not to remove the interlock condition unless you get a satisfactory report. If you do not own a car, you have no ability to have an interlock installed. So parliament seems to be saying that you can not get your licence back unless you buy your own vehicle, install an interlock in it, and don't let anyone else drive it. If you are planning to drive an employer's car then you might never be able to drive again unless they let you install an interlock in their car. If you drive taxis for a living and do not own your own taxi, then you may never get a chance to work as a driver again. With an interlock condition you can not hire a car, participate in car-sharing, or drive your employer's vehicles. These issues will not affect you if you are rich enough to own your own car and ignore the detrimental environmental consequences that flow from personal car ownership. On the one hand the Federal government is encouraging a reduction in car ownership by promoting car-sharing, while the State government requires people to have interlocks that make car-sharing impossible.



Related Pages:

Relicensing process
Drink Driving FAQ
Drink Driving Penalties

Related Links:

VicRoads Interlock Brochure

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