What is Novice Range Drink Driving / PCA?

You may attract a charge of Novice Range PCA if you are legally supposed to have a zero blood alcohol content, and you blow up to 0.02 in a breath test. The zero limit applies to drivers who hold a learner licence or a provisional P1 or P2 licence.


What are the penalties for Novice Range PCA in NSW?

If you are found guilty of Novice Range PCA, a criminal conviction may be recorded against you, which can affect your ability to travel and work in certain occupations. However, in some circumstances, you may be able to avoid a conviction if you successfully argue for leniency under section 10.


Novice Range Drink Driving/PCA Penalties NSW
First major offence within 5 years
Maximum fine$1,100
Minimum disqualification3 months
Automatic disqualification6 months
Second major offence within 5 years
Maximum fine$2,200
Minimum disqualification under Interlock1 month
Maximum disqualification under Interlock3 months
Interlock period12 months


In rare cases, the court may grant an exemption to Interlock for a second offence. In these cases, disqualification periods will increase.


How severe is the charge against you?

Drink driving is generally viewed as a serious offence by the courts. This is particularly the case for drivers who are supposed to have no blood alcohol content at all. The penalties for this offence can cause quite a lot of hardship in terms of hefty fines and loss of licence.


Can I challenge the breath analysis?

Just because the police allege that you returned an analysis showing some blood alcohol content does not necessarily mean that it is accurate. There are also restrictions on when and where the police can conduct a breath test on you.

We can advise you on whether or not the breath analysis can and should be challenged. The police aren’t exempt from making mistakes.


Defences to the charge

There are defences available to the charge of Novice Range PCA.

We can provide advice on the best possible means of avoiding a conviction or to mitigate the penalties you face if you are convicted, and an honest appraisal of your prospects of success.

We can also advise you on whether you should obtain character references in your defence, participate in the Traffic Offender Intervention Program, or volunteer to have an Interlock device fitted to your vehicle if it’s your first offence.


Traffic Offender Intervention Program

This is an optional course designed to educate you about general driving matters and the importance of following traffic rules. If you have chosen to do this course, a certificate of completion will be provided to the court, and this may be favourably taken into account when determining your sentence.

More information about Traffic Offender Intervention Program


Interlock program

If you have been convicted of a second Novice Range PCA offence in a five-year period, you will be ordered to participate in the Interlock program. The device will prevent you from starting your vehicle if you have alcohol in your system.

More information about the Interlock program


What happens next with a Novice Range PCA?

In addition to the potential penalties, the defences available to you and what action you should take after you have been charged with a Novice Range PCA depend on your individual circumstances.

This is one of the reasons why it is essential that you obtain legal advice from a drink driving lawyer as soon as you can. Nyman Gibson Miralis can advise you on how you might best defend a charge laid against you.