What is Mid Range Drink Driving / Mid Range PCA?Mid Range Drink Driving NSW / Mid Range PCA

In NSW, the offence of Mid Range Drink Driving / PCA applies if you drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 to below 0.15. Potential penalties include a fine, licence disqualification and imprisonment, and vary according to whether this is a first or repeat offence.


Proving the offence

It is important to be aware that it is not the reading at the time of analysis which is important, but your blood alcohol content at the time that you were driving. You should seek immediate legal advice if you have any reason to suspect that the two readings may differ – for example, if there was a lengthy delay between the time that you were driving and the time that the analysis was conducted.

If you successfully challenge your blood alcohol reading, then you may end up facing a lesser charge such as Low Range PCA, which attracts lower potential penalties. You may even find yourself with a reading below 0.05, which would mean that you cannot be charged with an offence if you have an ordinary driver’s licence.

We can give you advice on whether there are grounds to challenge the reading, how to do so, the costs involved and details on the process.


What are the penalties for Mid Range Drink Driving / Mid Range PCA?

If you are found guilty of Mid Range Drink Driving / PCA, a criminal conviction may be recorded against your name, unless you are able to successfully seek leniency in accordance with section 10, or you can establish that the breath test was inaccurate.

If you are convicted of Mid Range PCA you  will be automatically disqualified from driving for 12 months if this is your first offence. It is at the court’s discretion to reduce this further to not less than six months – unless you are able to avoid a conviction altogether under section 10.

A fine of up to $2,200 may also be imposed on you and, in certain circumstances, it is possible to be imprisoned for a Mid Range PCA offence. We can give you advice on the best arguments available in your situation, and assist you to prepare arguments in mitigation of any penalty.

If you are charged with a second or subsequent offence within a five-year period, your driver’s licence will be disqualified for an automatic period of three years and not less than 12 months – except in certain circumstances. We can advise you as to whether you may be eligible for a lower disqualification period.


Mid Range PCA Penalties NSW
First major offence within 5 years
Maximum fine$2,200
Minimum disqualification6 months
Automatic disqualification (In the absence of a specific court order)12 months
Maximum prison sentence9 months
Second major offence within 5 years
Maximum fine$3,300
Minimum disqualification under Interlock6 months
Maximum disqualification under Interlock9 months
Interlock period2 years
Maximum prison sentence12 months


In very few cases, the courts will exempt a driver convicted of a second offence from the Interlock program, which means disqualification periods are more severe.


How severe is the charge against you?

While less serious than High Range Drink Driving / PCA, Mid Range Drink Driving / PCA is not an offence to be taken lightly – you can face prison if you are convicted. Having a criminal conviction can affect your employment prospects and even future travel plans. It is therefore important that you obtain legal advice as soon as possible after you have been charged with the offence.


Section 10 and Mid Range PCA

Even if you plead guilty to the offence of Mid Range PCA, a court may order that no conviction is to be recorded under section 10 and your licence is to be returned. We can give you advice on the best ways to argue for leniency depending on your individual circumstances, including by obtaining character references.


Traffic Offender Intervention Program

If you are charged with a traffic offence, you can elect to participate in this course. The aim is to teach you about general traffic rules, and why it is important to obey the law. Once you have completed the course, a certificate will be sent to the court where your matter will be heard, and is considered when you are sentenced.

More information about Traffic Offender Intervention Program


Interlock program

If you have been found guilty of your second Mid Range Drink Driving / Mid Range PCA offence within five years, you will be ordered to participate in the Interlock program. An Interlock device will be installed in your vehicle for two years after your disqualification ends, and you will be unable to drive if you have any alcohol in your system.

More information about the Interlock program


What happens next with a Mid Range Drink Driving / Mid Range PCA charge?

While there are numerous penalties which could be imposed if you are found guilty of Mid Range Drink Driving / PCA, the outcome of your matter depends on your particular circumstances.

This is why it is so important to seek expert legal advice as soon as possible after you have been charged.

We can help you understand what penalties you may face, and the defences that may be available to you.

Mid Range PCA Drink Driving FAQs

Can We Assist You With Advice To Obtain The Best Result At Court?

Yes. Our solicitors only practice criminal law and We have an accredited specialist in criminal law which includes drink driving matters. We also have lawyers that lecture at the Traffic Offender Program. Go to our lawyer profiles. Whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty, we will advise you of what needs to be done in terms of character references; possible reports to obtain including expert reports, medical reports, psychological or psychiatric report; programs to attend; penalties; anticipated outcomes and much more.

Is The Breath Analysis Reading Accurate?

The analysis is accurate but often does not reveal your blood alcohol concentration at the time of driving. You are charged with having a certain blood alcohol concentration at the time of driving – depending on your drinking history, food intake and many other factors such as the time of your last drink, time of your breath test and time of breath analysis – we can provide you with advice about challenging the reading. It could make a big difference to the outcome of your case – especially if we could demonstrate that you were not driving in the mid range at all!

So It Is Possible That My Breath Reading Was Lower?

Yes. Alcohol takes time to enter your blood system as well as time to be eliminated from your system. It may be the case that recently consumed alcohol that was not absorbed at the time of driving was absorbed at the time of breath analysis giving you a higher reading. It is possible that your reading at the time of driving was legal yet you are facing court for drink driving. If you need expert advice, contact one of our specialists.