Breach Alcohol Interlock Condition

Breach Alcohol Interlock Condition

If you get your licence back after being found guilty of a drink-driving offence you will need to pay for an alcohol interlock device to be installed in any vehicle you drive. This means you are participating in the ‘Victorian Alcohol Interlock Program’. This program is compulsory for all drink-driving offenders, regardless of their BAC reading.

An alcohol interlock device is a breath test machine wired onto the ignition system of a vehicle. The device will not allow a car to start unless a 0.00% blood alcohol concentration (‘BAC’) reading is registered.

If you breach the alcohol interlock condition on your licence, you can be charged under section 50AAD(1) of the Road Safety Act 1986. If you are charged, contact a lawyer immediately. Our firm is experienced in dealing with driving matters and can help explain to a Magistrate the reasons behind your offending or perhaps explain why the charge should be withdrawn.

Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of Victoria Sentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Breach Alcohol Interlock Condition in the Magistrates' Courts
Cases related to this offence will be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.
What is the legal definition of Breach Alcohol Interlock Condition?
This offence is legally defined as the act of breaching the alcohol interlock condition imposed on an accused’s driver’s licence.

Examples of Breach Alcohol Interlock Condition
  • You decide that the interlock device is too expensive so you take it off your car, and drive without it, even though your licence is still subject to the alcohol interlock condition.
  • You drive to a bar to meet your friends and have a couple of beers. You know your BAC reading will be over 0.00, but you don’t want to leave your car, so you ask your friend to blow into your alcohol interlock device instead.
A breach of an alcohol interlock condition is governed by section 50AAD(1) of the Road Safety Act 1986.

Elements of the offence
Under section 50AAD(1), the prosecution will need to prove that:

  1. The accused had a driver licence or learner permit which was subject to an alcohol interlock condition
  2. The accused breached that condition, or
  3. The accused drove a car with an interlock but the car had been started –
    1. With the approved alcohol interlock disengaged, or
    2. In a way that breached the manufacturer’s instructions for use of the interlock, or
    3. In a way other than the person blowing directly into the appropriate part of the interlock

Defences to this section may include sudden or extraordinary emergency, necessity, duress, impossibility, factual errors and the concept of putting the prosecution to their proof.

Questions in cases like this
  • Was the alcohol interlock broken through no fault of your own, and it was not reasonable for you to be aware of this?
  • Did your licence actually have an alcohol interlock condition? (You licence should have an “I” condition)

The offence of Breach Alcohol Interlock Condition (s50AAD(1) of the Road Safety Act 1986) carries a fine of 30 penalty units (around $4,835) or four months imprisonment as the highest possible sentence. In addition, the court has the option to make orders in relation to the status of your licence.

Many magistrates view this offence as a breaching of the original court order and so treat it very seriously. Repeated offending of this nature will often end in prison sentences unless the context of the offending is explained well to the magistrate.