Drink driving offence – Mid-range PCA

It is an offence to drive a vehicle if there is a prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) greater than 0.05 per 100 millilitres of blood in the driver’s system. The higher the PCA and the more serious the offence. A mid – range drink driving offence is when a person drives a vehicle and they have a PCA of between 0.08 – 0.15.

Mid- range drink driving is an offence pursuant to section 110(4) Road Transport Act 2013, which states:

(4) Offence–middle range prescribed concentration of alcohol


A person must not, while there is present in the person’s breath or blood the middle range prescribed concentration of alcohol—


(a) drive a motor vehicle, or

(b) occupy the driving seat of a motor vehicle and attempt to put the motor vehicle in motion, or

(c) if the person is the holder of an applicable driver licence (other than an applicable provisional licence or applicable learner licence)–occupy the seat in a motor vehicle next to a learner driver who is driving the vehicle.

If the offence is the offender’s first offence, then the maximum penalties are:

  1. 9 months imprisonment, and/or
  2. $2,200 fine, and
  3. Automatic disqualification of 12 months, and
  4. Mandatory interlock period of 24 months.

The penalties are harsher if the offence is a second or subsequent offence committed by the offender.

In NSW between 2018 and 2019, 5999 offenders went before the Local Court to be sentenced for mid-range drink driving – first offence. The Courts sentenced the offenders in the following manner:

  • Conditional Release Order without convictions – 15.1%
  • Conviction only – 1.8%
  • Fine after recording a conviction – 65.1%
  • Conditional Release Order with conviction – 4.5%
  • Community corrections order – 12.2%
  • Intensive corrections order – 0.8%
  • Prison – 0.3%

A recording of conviction can have grave and long-lasting effects on an individual and it is the lawyer’s job to convince the Courts not to record a conviction and to convince the Courts to provide the offender an opportunity to maintain their good character.

On 30 April 2020, our office appeared at Parramatta Local Court for sentencing on behalf of a client charged with mid-range drink driving – first offence. On sentencing, one of our criminal law specialists made strong submission on the objective seriousness of the offence, the subjective circumstances of our client and submitted that the matter should proceed via a Conditional Release Order without recording a conviction to which the Magistrate agreed. Our office was able to achieve this outstanding result by thoroughly preparing for the matter by:

  • Advising our client to attend Traffic Offenders Rehabilitation Program,
  • Advising our client to write an apology letter, and
  • Compiling character references for our client.

As a result of the conditional release order without conviction, the client was able to keep his driver’s licence and not rely on public transportation to commute amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pannu Lawyers extensively practice in Criminal Law and regularly appear at Courts throughout New South Wales. If your matter is at Blacktown Local Court, we are conveniently located within a walking distance from the Blacktown Local Court. Call our office on 02 9920 1787 to discuss your matter in a confidential manner.

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