If you have been charged with a High Range PCA offence, you should obtain legal advice. The Courts treat this offence very seriously and it is not unusual for a custodial sentence to be imposed. Contact us for a free initial consultation.
High Range Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA) is the most serious drink driving offence and is treated accordingly by the Courts. High range PCA means a concentration of 0.15 grams or more of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood.
Section 110 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) sets out the offence. It states that a person must not, while there is present in the person’s breath or blood the high range prescribed concentration of alcohol, drive a motor vehicle, or occupy the driving seat of a motor vehicle and attempt to put the motor vehicle in motion, or supervise an L-plater.
The maximum penalty is $3,300 and/or 18 months imprisonment in the case of a first offence, or $5,500 and/or 2 years imprisonment in the case of a second or subsequent offence. Since February 2015 the mandatory alcohol interlock program applies. In the case of a first offence, the disqualification period is 6 – 9 months with a minimum interlock period of 24 months. This means that you can only drive with an interlock device fitted to your car which requires a breath test before the car will start. In the case of a second offence, the disqualification period is 9 – 12 months and the minimum interlock period is 48 months.
If you are exempt from the interlock program because you do not have a car or have a certain medical condition, then different disqualification periods apply. In the case of a first offence, the automatic disqualification period is 3 years and the minimum is 12 months. In the case of a second or subsequent offence, the automatic disqualification period is 5 years and the minimum is 2 years
High range PCA is one of the few offences in respect of which the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal has handed down a “guideline judgment”. It sets out appropriate penalties in an “ordinary case” and relevant considerations such as:
- The degree of intoxication;
- Aggressive or erratic driving;
- Competitive driving;
- The number of people put at risk.
As such, it is not unusual for custodial sentences to be imposed for High Range PCA matters, so it is particularly important to obtain legal advice to maximise your chances of a good outcome at Court.
If you are seeking legal advice, contact us for a free initial consultation.