Drink driving is a serious offence and can result in the disqualification of your licence, a criminal conviction, a fine, or in some cases a term of imprisonment.
Drink driving charges in NSW are known as offences of “driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol. (PCA)”. In NSW there are four categories of PCA (drink driving) offences:
- Special range PCA applies to special category drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.02 and 0.049 g/100 Ml
- Low range PCA applies to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.05 and 0.079 g/100 mL
- Mid range PCA applies to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.08 and 0.149 g/100 mL
- High range PCA applies to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.15 g/100 mL
The limit that is applicable to an individual depends on the classification of an individual’s license and the type of vehicle that is being driven.
The 0.00 limit applies to all learner drivers, all Provisional 1 drivers; and all Provisional 2 drivers.
The 0.02 limit applies to:
- Drivers of vehicles of “gross vehicle mass” greater than 13.9 tonnes
- Drivers of vehicles carrying dangerous goods
- Drivers of public vehicles such as taxi or bus drivers
The 0.05 limit applies to all other licences not subject to a 0.00 or 0.02 limit.
In NSW, Police have the power to stop drivers at random to test for alcohol consumption. If the driver fails the initial random test, the police have the power to arrest that person for the purpose of taking them to a Police station for a further evidentiary breath analysis.
If a person fails that test, they can be charged by Police, finger printed, photographed and have to appear in court. Middle and high range offenders will generally have their licence suspended on the spot.
Most drink driving charges carry with them automatic periods of disqualification. A summary of penalties and disqualification periods for drink driving matters is contained below:
High range PCA (blood alcohol concentration of above 0.15)
Mid range PCA (blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 to less than 0.15)
Low, novice or special range PCA
Offences are considered second or subsequent offences if the person was convicted of a major traffic offence (including any prior PCA offence) in the previous five years. Major offences include not just prior drink drive offences, but other offences such as dangerous or negligent driving offences, driving under the influence of drugs, or refusing to submit to testing for drugs or alcohol.
Drivers convicted of serious drink driving offences are restricted to driving vehicles with alcohol interlock devices for a period of time when they return to driving. This ensures offenders separate their drinking from driving and do not re-offend. The program is designed to reduce drink-driving and improve safety for all road users.
Under the new legislation:
- First time mid-range drink-driving offenders will need to have an alcohol interlock device installed to show that they can separate their drinking from driving.
- Repeat offenders, and high range drink-driving offenders will continue to need to have an alcohol interlock device installed to show that they can separate their drinking from driving.
- Police will be able to apply vehicle sanctions, including confiscating number plates or impounding the vehicle of high-risk, repeat drink driving offenders.
In NSW there is no potential to obtain a “work licence” and there is no scheme that allows you to drive if you have otherwise been disqualified.
It is therefore important to get the right legal advice to get the best court result. At Peak Law Group we help you get back on the road as soon as possible.
The lawyers at Peak Law Group are solicitors and barristers. We offer the services of expert criminal defence lawyers who can fight to get the best result in your case.
Peak Law Group regularly appears in all criminal jurisdictions, from the Supreme Court, District Court and Local Court.
We regularly appear in all court registries including Sydney and the Downing Centre, Sutherland, Liverpool, Bankstown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Wollongong, Port Kembla, Albion Park, Kiama and Nowra.
Don’t risk your future. Our experienced drink driving lawyers can provide you with the help you need to get the best possible result in your criminal case.