Drink Driving (PCA)

Drink Driving Penalties NSW

Penalties and offences in relation to drink driving depend on the amount of alcohol in the accused's system. The penalty will also depend on whether the accused has previously been charged with a drink driving offence.

The legal limit for fully licenced drivers in NSW is 0.05g/100mL.

There are four categories of offences:

1. Novice range PCA – This applies to novice category drivers (including learner or provisional drivers, drivers with cancelled or suspended licences, unlicensed drivers and drivers with expired licences) with a blood alcohol concentration of more than zero grams but less than 0.02/100mL.

2. Special range PCA – This applies to special category drivers (including unlicensed drivers, learner or provisional drivers, drivers of public passenger vehicles, drivers of coaches, heavy motor vehicles or vehicles carrying dangerous goods) with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.02 and 0.049g/100mL

3. Low range PCA – This applies to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.05 and 0.079g/100mL

4. Mid range PCA – This applies to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.08 and 0.149g/mL

5. High range PCA – This applies to drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.15g/100mL .

What to do if you have been caught drink driving

Drink driving is a criminal offence and if you are convicted by the court of drink driving it will appear on your criminal record.
However, it is possible for the Court to dismiss the charge with what is known as a section 10 dismissal. The result of a section 10 dismissal is that the charge is dismissed and will not appear on your criminal record.

A criminal conviction is a serious penalty as it will continue to follow you around. A criminal conviction may have a serious impact on your future.

It could inhibit any future overseas travel you want to do, a future employer may require you to undertake a background check and the charge will show up or you could be required to disclose the conviction in relation to other applications. Asking whether a person has a criminal conviction is fairly common in relation to employment and other forms of application. If you are charged with a drink driving offence you will be required to disclose your criminal history.

Depending on your charge, it is likely that you will be facing a fine and a disqualification period from driving. However, if you have been charged with mid or high range PCA you could also be facing time in prison. This is on top of the suspension period and the fine.

As such, it is best to seek legal advice to ensure your case is presented in the best possible way to the Court.