Severity Appeal Successful for Low Range PCA Charge

Downing Centre Local Court / Sydney District Court

Represented by: criminal defence solicitor

Facts

Our client was driving from a work lunch meeting to his home when he was stopped by police for a random breath test (RBT). He admitted to having two glasses of white wine with lunch, and the breath test returned a positive result.

The client was then conveyed to the police station where he underwent further breath analysis. This returned a reading of 0.068 grams in 210 litres of breath, placing him in the low range of prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) offences.

He was given a court attendance notice to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court. Our client entered a guilty plea at the first possible opportunity and completed the Traffic Offenders Intervention Program.

Client’s need for his licence

Our client had a significant need for a licence as he was a chartered surveyor and ran his own small business. He needed his car to visit clients throughout the Sydney area.

As well as his day-to- day employment, he was also heavily involved in an entertainment company, transporting equipment to and from various locations on his evenings and weekends.

He had no prior criminal record and a good driving history, having held his driver’s licence for almost 15 years with only six minor traffic infringements during this time.

What happened in court

At the local court sentencing proceedings, our solicitor made submissions on behalf of our client, relating his good driving history and strong need for a licence and ultimately suggesting the matter be dealt with under section 10.

The magistrate felt there was nothing ‘extraordinary’ about the case and convicted the client, fining him $400 and disqualifying him for the minimum period of three months.

A severity appeal

After discussions with the client, our solicitor immediately lodged a severity appeal at the district court under Section 11 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001.

Once the appeal was lodged, the licence disqualification was stayed pending the outcome of the appeal. This meant that our client was able to continue to drive until the appeal date.

On appeal, our solicitor emphasised our client’s need for a licence and the fact that his employment ventures would be significantly impacted were he to be disqualified from driving. The Sydney District Court judge agreed that our client’s case fell into the category of ‘exceptional circumstances’ and the appeal was upheld.

The matter was dismissed under Section 10, meaning that our client was not convicted or disqualified from driving. This was a fantastic result, and our client was ecstatic.

Potential penalties for this offence

Providing it is a first offence within five years, Low Range PCA carries a maximum fine of $1,100 and an automatic disqualification period of six months, which can be reduced by the court to a period of no less than three months.

For a second or subsequent offence within five years, the penalties double to a maximum fine of up to $2,200. Participation in the Interlock program is mandatory, which means a minimum disqualification period of one month and an Interlock device fitted to the offender’s vehicle for 12 months.

At Nyman Gibson Miralis, we only handle criminal law matters, including traffic law.