Offence provisions

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.


Licence suspension

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:


PenaltyFirst offenceSecond offence
Maximum fine$2,200$3,300
Maximum term of imprisonment 9 months12 months
Minimum disqualification6 months12 months
Maximum disqualificationUnlimitedUnlimited
Automatic disqualification 12 months3 years
Immediate licence suspensionYesYes
Interlock orderYesYes


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.


Frequently Asked Questions

In which court will mid range PCA charges be heard?

Mid range PCA charges are heard at a Local Court before a magistrate.

How serious are mid range PCA charges?

Mid range PCA is considered a serious offence and unlike other driving offences, the police cannot simply issue you a fine. However, if you have not been previously convicted of a similar offence, it is unlikely you will receive a prison sentence.

Is the breath analysis always accurate?

The analysis is accurate but often does not reveal your BAC at the time of driving.  Depending on the amount of alcohol you drank, the time you took to drink it, your food intake and many other factors such as the time of your last drink and time of the breath analysis, we can provide advice about challenging the reading. This could make a big difference to the outcome of your case.

Is it possible that my BAC was lower than the results of the breath analysis?

Yes. Alcohol takes time to enter and leave your blood system. It may be the case that the alcohol had not been absorbed at the time of driving but had been absorbed at the time of the breath analysis, resulting in a higher reading. It is possible that your BAC at the time of driving was legal.

How can we help?

We have over 55 years of experience successfully defending drink driving and traffic offences in NSW.

Book a free consultation or call us on 1300 668 484 for 24/7 legal advice.