No Disqualification for Mid Range PCA Charge

Represented by solicitor, criminal defence lawyer and traffic law expert.

Facts

Our client drank three schooners of full strength beer in the space of 45 minutes, returning a positive result when he was pulled over at a stationary random breath testing station on the New England Highway at Uralla.

He was arrested and taken to Uralla Police Station for a breath analysis, which recorded a reading of 0.086 grams of alcohol in 210 litres of breath. Given the level of our client’s reading, he was charged with Mid Range PCA and given a field court attendance notice requiring him to appear at Armidale Local Court. The police elected not to exercise their power to immediately suspend our client’s driver’s licence.

Given that our client had only recently finished consuming alcohol, it may have been possible that his blood alcohol concentration increased between the time he was driving and the breath analysis. If that were the case, a pharmacological report could have established whether the “true” reading at the time of the alleged offence might have been below 0.08 and within the category of Low Range PCA.

However, on our advice, this course of action was rejected and our client decided to enter an early plea.

The possible penalties

If convicted of the offence, our client faced a maximum fine of up to $2,200, as well as a potential prison sentence of up to nine months. He also faced having his driver’s licence disqualified for at least six months and for an automatic period of twelve months unless he was able to convince the court otherwise.

Mitigating factors

Our client, who had held his driver’s licence for over 20 years, had an excellent traffic history, with only three minor traffic infringements. There were also no serious offences on his traffic record, meaning that this charge was classified as a first offence and our client faced lower penalties.

A particularly relevant factor in our client’s defence was that he was employed as a regional sales manager covering the whole of NSW, and he was required to travel throughout the state every second week.

His need for a driver’s licence was clear. Our client was also the major breadwinner for his young family, who would have been severely impacted by his inability to perform his job.

Result

The matter was initially listed at the Armidale Local Court. We entered a guilty plea on behalf of our client and requested that the matter be adjourned so that our client could participate in the voluntary Traffic Offender Intervention Program (TOIF).

We also made submissions requesting that the matter be transferred to the Hornsby Local Court, which was closer to where our client lived.

Our client attended the TOIF prior to his sentencing date, and on our recommendations, obtained character references.

At the Hornsby Local Court, we made submissions arguing that as our client had participated in the TOIF, had an excellent driving record and relied very heavily upon his driver’s licence, the potential loss of employment arising from a disqualification would have a significant and disproportionate effect, amounting to extra-curial punishment.

Happily, the magistrate agreed and our client was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond.

A spectacular outcome

Having availed himself of prompt legal advice, our client was able to secure the best possible outcome and avoid any period of driver’s licence disqualification. This meant that he was able to keep his job and continue to support his young family.