What is Special Range Drink Driving / PCA?
Special Range Drink Driving / PCA is a lesser-known offence, and applies to certain drivers who are caught with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 up to 0.05. These include:
- Taxi drivers.
- Bus drivers.
- Drivers of vehicles carrying dangerous goods.
- Heavy vehicle drivers (exceeding 13.9 tonnes).
- Drivers who are disqualified or suspended.
- Drivers whose licence has been cancelled.
- Anyone who has not been granted a licence.
- Learner licence holders.
- Provisional P1 or P2 licence holders.
What are the penalties?
If you are found guilty of the offence of Special Range PCA, you may have a criminal conviction recorded against you. You may not realise how significantly a criminal record can affect your career or your ability to travel overseas.
If convicted, you face an automatic driver’s licence disqualification period of six months. You will also likely face a fine of up to $1,100.
The court can reduce the period of your disqualification to not less than three months in certain circumstances. However, you may be able to argue that you should be granted leniency under section 10. If the court agrees, then you will have no conviction at all recorded against you.
If the charge of Special Range Drink Driving is your second offence within a five-year period, then you will face even higher potential penalties.
Potential penalties for this offence include:
|First major offence within 5 years|
|Minimum disqualification||3 months|
|Automatic disqualification||6 months|
|Second major offence within 5 years|
|Minimum disqualification under Interlock||1 month|
|Maximum disqualification under Interlock||3 months|
|Interlock period||12 months|
Disqualification periods will be harsher if you are exempted from the Interlock program, however the courts rarely grant an exemption.
How severe is the charge against you?
The courts may take a dim view of professional drivers who have been charged with drink driving. As with any drink driving offence, the fines and loss of licence are punitive. A conviction can also prevent you from getting certain types of jobs or even travelling to certain countries. Our expert drink driving lawyers can assist you with an application to avoid a conviction under section 10.
Potential defences to Special Range Drink Driving
It is important to remember that there may be defences available to you if you have been charged with Special Range PCA – just because you have been charged does not mean that you will be convicted and does not necessarily mean that you should plead guilty.
We can provide you with advice on the best possible arguments to make in order to avoid a conviction – or alternatively on the best arguments to put forward in mitigation prior to sentencing.
When providing advice, we will consider whether you should tender character references to the court, participate in the Traffic Offender Intervention Program or voluntarily apply to participate in the Interlock program. We will also provide you with an honest and realistic appraisal of your prospects of successfully defending the charge.
Traffic Offender Intervention Program
The Traffic Offender Intervention Program is a voluntary course that is designed to provide information on traffic laws, and the consequences of breaking them. Participation in the course is taken into account by the court when deciding on penalties.
If you have committed a second Special Range PCA offence in five years, the court will require you to have an Interlock device fitted to your vehicle. The device will stop you from being able to turn your ignition on if you have alcohol on your breath, and is installed for 12 months.
What happens next?
If you have been charged with a Special Range Drink Driving / PCA offence, particularly if you drive for a living and therefore rely on your licence, it’s vital to seek legal advice immediately.
At Nyman Gibson Miralis, one of our drink driving lawyers can explain the penalties you might face, and provide advice on potential defences and any action you should take once you have been charged.