Changes to drink-driving laws could end up hitting some offenders harder than others, according to a University of Wollongong academic.
Last week the state government announced plans that would see low-range drink drivers - those who blow between 0.05 and 0.079 - lose their licence for three months on the spot.
On top of that, they will receive a $561 fine.
Drug drivers picked for the first time will also cop a three-month suspension and a $561 fine.
"Drivers who have an illegal level of alcohol in their blood or have used illegal drugs have no place on the road," Transport and Roads Minister Andrew Constance said.
The new laws come into effect on May 20.
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University of Wollongong Associate Professor in the law faculty Julia Quilter said the fine - which was at the low end of what could be levied by a court - could lead to other problems.
"I think for the large majority of people - around 75 per cent - will pay the fine and it will be like most other bills," Prof Quilter said.
"But for 25 per cent of people, they can't actually pay the fine and that will lead to other forms of debt and other things that can happen as a result of not paying the fine."
For the 75 per cent of people who are able to pay the fine, Prof Quilter said "the thing that bites the hardest" would be the licence disqualification.
That disqualification would affect people differently, based on where they lived.
"In rural or regional areas where there's no or low public transport, a licence disqualification can be much more significant for someone who has no other means of getting to work, getting to an educational facility or doing the shopping."
The introduction of fines and licence disqualification sees first-time drink drivers removed from the court system.
The NSW Law Society has spoken out against the move, claiming a court appearance can act as a significant deterrent for first-time offenders.
Prof Quilter disagreed, adding that increased penalties didn't act as a deterrent.
"We know that most punishments don't deter people," she said.
"The fact that we hand out higher and higher jail sentences doesn't generally deter people.
"The one thing they have found in terms of deterrents that does work is your chances of being caught for the offence.
"With drink driving we know that random breath testing has had a significant deterrent effect on a large majority of people because of the fear of being caught and the likelihood of being caught on one of those random breath tests."