Changes to Drink Driving Laws in NSW


As of May 2019, if you are caught drink driving in NSW, you will be subject to new changes to the law. NSW Police now have the power to issue infringement notices for low-range drink driving and suspend your NSW Drivers Licence on the spot.

Under the new laws, the fine payable under an infringement notice for low-range drink driving is $561.00 and the police will suspend your NSW Drivers Licence for three (3) months, which is the minimum disqualification period that a court may impose upon conviction for the offence.

You still have the right to elect to take your infringement notice to court within ninety (90) days after it was issued if you have already paid. However, if you are charged with drink driving in NSW it is important to seek legal advice first.

The court has discretion not to record a conviction, however, it will only be in appropriate circumstances and the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal has written a guideline judgment which has been in existence for some time. There is always a risk of a criminal record, increased fine and longer period of disqualification when electing to take such an infringement notice to court.

Police also still have the power to issue you with a summons to attend court if the facts of your low-range drink driving offence place it in the worst case of offending.

If you are found guilty and convicted of mid-range drink driving by a court you may also be ordered to have an interlock device fitted to your vehicle, unless you can satisfy the court that the making of a mandatory interlock order would cause severe hardship to you and an interlock exemption order is more appropriate in all of the circumstances.

It is important to note, that not being able to afford the cost of an interlock device, or having a family member who does not want it installed in a vehicle you have access to, or being prevented from driving a vehicle during the course of your employment will not amount to hardship.

Drink driving is a serious offence. Mid and high-range drink driving is punishable by substantial fines and terms of imprisonment. It is important to know your rights before making an election or entering a plea to the charge.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence we can provide you with the right advice and we have the experience to guide you through the legal process to ensure that you achieve the best result. Contact our firm today!