The NSW government brought in strict new drink driving laws because too many courts were dismissing such cases, according to a magistrate in Bega.
Starting from May 20 the changes mean drink driving offenders - no matter if they are first-time low, special or novice range - will receive a three-month licence suspension.
Offenders who drive with the presence of illicit drugs will also for the first time receive a $561 fine and a three-month licence suspension if the offence is confirmed by laboratory analysis.
When Member for Bega Andrew Constance announced the changes he said there would be "no court appearances" as in the past, when low-range offenders appeared before court, around 56 per cent recorded a non-conviction.
During hearings in the Bega Local Court on Tuesday, May 28, Magistrate Doug Dick spoke about the new laws, including saying "too many courts have been dismissing matters".
"The reason we got these new laws is because courts weren't doing their jobs," he said.
"If courts don't do what governments want, then governments get other ways around it."
Another reason the laws were important was because they provided consistency between sentencing for the same offence, he said.
He made the comments over the course of hearings for three offenders on the day, who were each disqualified from driving for three months.
One woman, sentenced for driving with an illicit drug in her blood, lived in Bega but worked in another town in the region, according to her defence solicitor.
She was on a minimal income of $600 per week, her rent was $400 per week, had several children dependent on her and was the only person in her household with a licence.
It was her first offence, the same as a man who appeared for the same charge.
When sentencing this man, Magistrate Dick said he had already been imposing only the minimum three-month disqualification because it was "very hard to get around in a regional area without a licence".
"What the new law provides is very similar to what's been happening in this court for years," he said.
The defence solicitor for a second young man living in the ACT, appearing for driving with a low-range PCA, said the man had been at a friend's house for over five hours so thought he would be fine to drive home.
They said he drove 17km each day to work and without a licence he would have to catch public transport which would take an hour.
Magistrate Dick countered by telling the man it was hard to accept he thought he was okay to drive when he had told police "I'll go over, I probably shouldn't be driving".