Much harsher penalties have been introduced as of 28 June 2021 for drivers who are caught with both alcohol and illegal drugs in their system.
In order to reflect the seriousness of these offences, new laws have been passed by Parliament, known as the ‘Four Angels Rule,’ following the shocking deaths of four children in Western Sydney.
Warnings will no longer be issued in accordance with the NSW ‘Zero Tolerance Policing’ policy in relation to offences of such a serious nature. If you blow a blood alcohol level in the mid-range (between 0.08 and 0.15), even if it is your first offence, your licence can be suspended for a period of 12 months, a minimum interlock period of 12 months and a maximum prison term of 18 months. Moreover, the Police have the ability to impound your vehicle for 3 months (or if you’re a repeat offender, you may never receive it back).
You are not permitted to refuse participation in either roadside breath tests or oral fluid tests. Failure to do so will result in you being charged with refusal or failure to submit a test, analysis or assessment.
A charge under one of these new combined offences, will mean an automatic loss of licence. An automatic disqualification means that regardless of your traffic record, you licence will be disqualified for a prescribed minimum period.
Minimum and Maximum Disqualification Periods:
|First Offence||Mid-Range BAC||12 months||Unlimited|
|High-Range BAC||18 months||Unlimited|
|Second & Subsequent offence||Low, Novice or Special Range BAC||18 months||Unlimited|
|Mid-Range BAC||2 years||Unlimited|
Alcohol Interlock Programs:
The interlock system comprises of a device which is linked to your car’s ignition that prevents it from starting until you provide a breath sample to show you have no alcohol in your system. If you are found to be guilty of one of these combined offences, then this will be mandatory.
In addition to the breath test when you start the car, drivers may have to undertake random tests throughout longer drives.
These devices also include cameras to take photographs while the sample is being given in order to eliminate the possibility of another person providing the sample.
The interlock programs begin at the end of the disqualification period, which means it will probably be years until you can drive freely again.
If your employment requires you to drive multiple vehicles, each vehicle will need to be fitted with an interlock device at your own cost (up to $630 per installation and $310 per 2-monthly service).
Minimum Interlock Periods for Combined Drug/Drunk Driving Offences:
|First Offence||Mid-Range BAC||12 months|
|High-Range BAC||2 years|
|Second & Subsequent Offence||Low, Novice or Special Range BAC||12 months|
|Mid-Range BAC||2 years|
|High-Range BAC||4 years|
Prison Terms and Fines:
It is at the discretion of the Court is issue heavy fines and full-time custodial sentences of up to 2 years.
|Maximum Prison Terms|
|First Offence||Mid-Range BAC||18 months|
|High-Range BAC||24 months|
|Second & Subsequent offence||Low, Novice or Special Range BAC||18 months|
|Mid-Range BAC||2 years|
|Maximum Court Fines|
|First Offence||Mid-Range BAC||$3,300|
|Second & Subsequent offence||Low, Novice or Special Range BAC||$5,500|
What to do if you are found guilty of one of these offences and need your licence?
All of these decisions are able to be appealed. If you have been disqualified from driving on NSW roads as a result of an automatic decision and you require a licence to undertake your daily activities, whether it be for work or caretaker responsibilities etc., contact Warwick Anderson of our office today. If this is you, it is important that you reach out as early as possible as these appeals must be lodged within 28 days of their issue date. If you are outside of this window, you may still have a right to appeal if you have a valid reason for not lodging an appeal in the 28-day window.