Driving with a medium range of prescribed concentration of alcohol (mid range PCA) in a person’s breath or blood is an offence under section 110(4) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).
What is mid range drink driving?
Mid range drink driving / PCA occurs when a person drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.08 and 0.15.
Typically, police will administer a breath test, often by the side of the road. This requires you to speak or breathe into a device, which will provide an indicative reading. If the reading is positive, you will be required to attend a police station for a breath analysis to determine your BAC.
Provided the breath analysis was taken within two hours of driving, the breath analysis is deemed to be the concentration of alcohol present in your blood at the time of driving.
If mid range PCA is your first alcohol or drug-related driving offence, the police may give you a penalty notice, which requires you to pay an on-the-spot fine of $572 instead of attending court.
Paying the fine means accepting that the offence was committed, and your licence will be suspended for a period of three months. However, the offence will not be recorded on your criminal record.
Mid range PCA penalties in NSW
If you are charged with mid range PCA the potential penalties include:
|Penalty||First offence||Second offence|
|Maximum term of imprisonment||9 months||12 months|
|Minimum disqualification||6 months||12 months|
|Automatic disqualification||12 months||3 years|
|Immediate licence suspension||Yes||Yes|
Consequences of a conviction
If you are convicted of mid range PCA, this offence will be noted on your criminal record and your licence will be disqualified.
The automatic disqualification period will apply unless the court makes a specific order. The court can disqualify your licence for any length of time within the minimum and maximum periods listed above.
You will also be required to participate in the alcohol interlock program, and an interlock device will be fitted to your car. This is an electronic breath testing device which stops the car from starting unless you provide a zero-alcohol breath sample.
These consequences can be avoided if the court applies section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.
Traffic Offender Intervention Program
The court may give you a more lenient sentence if you participate in the Traffic Offender Intervention Program. This program covers traffic laws and rules, and the potential consequences of breaching the laws. When the course is finished, a certificate will be sent to the court and it can be considered in determining the sentence.