Drink driving offences are treated seriously by the authorities, and any person who is found to be intoxicated while driving a motor vehicle faces serious penalties including suspension of their licence, disqualification, imposition of demerit points, If the offence is a serious or repeat offence, the perpetrator may face a period of imprisonment.
Drink Driving & PCA law Sydney & NSW
If you are found to be driving with more than the legal limit of alcohol in your system, you will be convicted of the offence of drink driving. The allowable limit differs depending on the status of your licence, the period for which you have been driving and other factors. It is also an offence to refuse to undergo a test to determine the level of alcohol in the blood if requested by a police offices.
The amount of drink in your system is assessed on the basis of Blood Alcohol Concentration or BAC. This measures the number of grams of alcohol in 100ml of your blood.
Certain drivers are subject to a 0.00 BAC limit, or ‘zero tolerance’ policy:
All novice drivers, those who have previously been convicted of a DUI offence, those who hold an extraordinary driver’s licence and those who drive vehicles which can carry passengers (and are carrying them at the time of the offence) are subject to an allowable limit of 0.00 – that is to say, zero alcohol present in their system. Any driver who has been disqualified in the last three years is also subject to such a limit.
In New South Wales, drink driving offences are split into 3 categories depending on the levels of blood-alcohol concentration, known as ‘PCA’ or Prescribed Concentration Of Alcohol.
Low Range PCA Offences
Driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of over 0.05 but less than 0.08 will result in a maximum fine of up to $1,100 for a first offence and $2,200 for a second or subsequent offence. For first offenders, the court cannot impose a period of imprisonment. In terms of disqualification, the minimum disqualification is 3 months for a first offence. Subsequent offences may result in a potentially unlimited disqualification.
Mid-Range PCA Offences
Mid-Range PCA offences are committed by driving with a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.08 but less than 0.15. For these offences, the maximum penalty for a first offence is a fine of up to $2,200 and $3,300 for a second or subsequent offence. Your licence is also suspended immediately on conviction for a mid-range PCA offence. Unlike low-range PCA offences, imprisonment is an option available to the court. For a first offence, the maximum period of imprisonment is up to 9 months for a first offence, and a year for subsequent offences.
High Range PCA offences
These offences and refusal to undertake a breathalyser test carry the same penalty. Driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of over 0.15 is regarded as a high-range PCA offence. The maximum fine for a first offence is a fine of up to $3,300 and $5,500 for a subsequent offence. Imprisonment is again an option, with a maximum of 18 months for a first offence and 2 years for a second or subsequent offence. On conviction, the result is an immediate suspension of the perpetrator’s licence.
Given the serious penalties available to the Courts, it’s important to take legal advice straight away. If you think that the concentration of alcohol in your blood is wrong, or that you have been assessed against the wrong BAC/PCA limit, contact us for expert road traffic law advice.
Szabo & Associates – DUI Lawyers Surry Hills
If you are have been charged with driving under the influence, contact our solicitors today on 02 9281 5088 or book a consultation.