What is Low Range Drink Driving / Low Range PCA?
If you have been charged with Low Range Drink Driving / PCA (Prescribed Content of Alcohol), the police are alleging that you were driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 to below 0.08. This is at the lower end of the drink driving spectrum. However, all drink-driving offences are considered to be serious, and you still face significant penalties.
Most people who are prosecuted for this offence are genuinely surprised that they were over the limit. Quite often it comes down to a miscalculation about how much alcohol can be consumed or how long it takes for alcohol to be eliminated from your system.
If your reading is in the Low Range, it may be possible to challenge the reading. It is important to note that police give you a certificate stating the blood alcohol concentration at the time of analysis – not at the time of driving. Quite often there is a difference between the two readings, although the different reading might still be within the same range. However, there are many instances where we have successfully challenged the reading and had the charge withdrawn – avoiding a criminal record, avoiding a conviction and avoiding loss of licence.
What are the penalties for Low Range Drink Driving / Low Range PCA?
If you are found guilty of Low Range Drink Driving / PCA, you may have a criminal conviction recorded against you. This can affect your life in a number of ways, including your employment and your ability to travel to certain countries.
The penalty for a first offence within a 5 year period is a maximum fine of $1,100 and an automatic disqualification period of 6 months which can be reduced to not less than 3 months. It is possible to have no conviction recorded under Section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act and we can advise you of your prospects of achieving this result.
If this is your second major offence within a 5 year period, then the maximum fine increases to $2,200 and the automatic disqualification period doubles to 12 months, able to be reduced to not less than 6 months. We can however apply to get your licence back in only 3 months.
We will provide you with advice in relation to character references, likely court outcomes, Traffic Offender Intervention Program attendance, Interlock Programs and much more.
Summary of Penalties for Low Range Drink Driving
|First major offence within 5 years|
|Minimum disqualification||3 months|
|Maximum disqualification||6 months|
|Automatic disqualification (in the absence of a specific court order)||6 months|
|Second major offence within 5 years|
|Minimum disqualification under Interlock||1 month|
|Maximum disqualification under Interlock||3 months|
|Interlock period||12 months|
Although it doesn’t happen very often, in certain circumstances the court may grant you an exemption to the Interlock program for a second offence, which means the disqualification period increases.
How severe is the charge against you?
Low Range Drink Driving / Low Range PCA is taken seriously by the court, because of the risk of injury to members of the public that drink driving poses. The disqualification periods and fines are harsh, and can cause significant problems in your daily life.
Traffic Offender Intervention Program
This is a course which you can choose to sign up for. During the course, you will learn about traffic rules, why it is important to keep them and the potential consequences of failing to do so. After completion of the course, a certificate will be provided to the court, which may be taken into account in your sentencing.
If you have been found guilty of your second drink driving offence within five years, participation in the Interlock program is mandatory. Under the program, a device fitted to your vehicle will prevent your vehicle from starting if you blow over zero.
What happens next with a Low Range Drink Driving / Low Range PCA charge?
It is crucial that you obtain legal advice promptly once you have been charged with Low Range Drink Driving / PCA.
We can outline the likely penalties, and advise you on the steps to take immediately after you are charged, which can assist in establishing potential defences.