Drink Driving Ranges & PCA Offences in NSW

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Penalties for drink driving offences ranges can be based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to, your prescribed concentration of alcohol, the type of licence you hold and whether or not this is your first offence or a second and subsequent offence.

Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA) is the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) range that parliament has deemed to be an offence. There are five types of PCA offences.

1. Novice Range PCA (0.00 to 0.019 BAC)

This category pertains to drivers holding a Learner or Provisional licence with a BAC of more than 0.00 and less than 0.02. Regardless of whether this is a first or subsequent offence, there is no gaol term associated with this offence.  However, the maximum court-imposed fine for a first time offender is $1,100 compared to $2,200 for second or subsequent offenders.

The minimum and maximum disqualification also varies depending on whether it is a first or subsequent offence. If it is a first offence expect an automatic disqualification period of 6 months with a minimum disqualification period of 3 months.. If this is a second or subsequent offence expect an automatic disqualification period of 12 months with a minimum of 6 months.  There is no such thing as a maximum disqualification period.

2. Special Range PCA (0.02 to 0.049 BAC)

This category is for a special group of drivers with a BAC of more than 0.02 and less than 0.05 and who is not a licence holder for these reasons:

  • Their licence has been cancelled or suspended
  • They have been disqualified from holding a licence or from obtaining a licence
  • They applied for a licence but it was refused
  • They never held a driver licence
  • They did not have the authority for driving in NSW

Special Range PCA offences carry with them the same penalties as Novice Range PCA offences (see above).

3. Low Range PCA (0.05 to 0.79 BAC)

A Low Range PCA is an offence that relates to drivers with a BAc of more than 0.05 and less than 0.08. Low Range PCA offences carry with them the same penalties as Novice and Special Range PCA offences (see above).

4. Mid Range PCA (0.08 to 0.149 BAC)

A Mid Range PCA applies to drivers with a BAC of over 0.08 and less than 0.15. Again, depending on whether this is a first or subsequent offence, the penalties vary.

First time offenders can expect:

  • The immediate suspension of their licence
  • A maximum fine imposed by the court of $2,200
  • A maximum gaol term of 9 months
  • A minimum disqualification period of 6 months

Second time or subsequent offenders can expect:

  • The immediate suspension of their licence
  • A maximum fine imposed by the court of $3,300
  • A maximum gaol term of 12 months
  • A minimum disqualification period of 12 months

 

5. High Range PCA (0.150+ BAC)

A High Range PCA offence occurs when a driver on a public road has a BAC of over 0.150. The penalties vary largely depending on whether it is a first time offence or a second and subsequent offence.

First time offenders can expect:

  • The immediate suspension of their licence
  • A maximum fine imposed by the court of $3,300
  • A maximum gaol term of 18 months
  • A minimum disqualification period of 12 months

Second time or subsequent offenders can expect:

  • The immediate suspension of their licence
  • A maximum fine imposed by the court of $5,500
  • A maximum gaol term of 2 years
  • A minimum disqualification period of 2 years

Please note that those who refuse a breath analysis, obstruct the taking of a blood sample or purposely alter the concentration of their blood can be penalised in the same way as a High Range PCA offence.

If your liberty, work or lifestyle is at stake due to a drink driving offence, you need a reliable drink driving lawyer on your side. Contact us to arrange expert legal representation.