MID-RANGE PCA

Driving with a medium range of prescribed concentration of alcohol in breath or blood is an offence under section 110(4) of the Road Transport Act 2013.

The offence occurs when a person drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.08 and 0.15.

Penalties

If convicted for this offence the maximum penalty for a first offender is imprisonment for 9 months and a fine of $2,200. The automatic licence disqualification period is 12 months which can be reduced to 6 months. This offence is also subject to a mandatory interlock scheme. If you are subject to the interlock program the court can disqualify you for a maximum period of 6 months which can be reduced to 3 months, followed by a 12 month period during which you must have an interlock device installed in your vehicle.

The maximum penalty for a repeat offender following the recording of a criminal conviction is imprisonment for 12 months and a fine of $3,300. The automatic licence disqualification period is 3 years which can be reduced to 12 months. This offence is also subject to a mandatory interlock scheme. If you are subject to the interlock program, the court can disqualify you for a maximum period of 9 months which can be reduced to 6 months, followed by a 24 month period during which you must have an interlock device installed in your vehicle.

When sentencing an offender for this type of offence the court may consider the following:

  • the nature and seriousness of the offence;
  • whether the offender can demonstrate prior good character;
  • the nature of the offender’s traffic history;
  • whether an early guilty plea was entered;
  • the way in which the offence was detected, including whether it was detected during a random breath test or due to the nature of the offender’s driving;
  • whether the offender was involved in a collision;
  • the reading and where it falls between 0.08 and 0.15;
  • whether the offender has completed a traffic offender program;
  • the offender’s need for a licence and other relevant subjective circumstances.

It is possible to avoid a criminal conviction for this offence in limited circumstances. If the court is of the view that it is expedient not to convict you, it may sentence you to a Conditional Release Order without conviction.

Section 206B

Section 206B(1) of the Road Transport Act 2013 applies where a driver licence or other authority to drive in NSW has been suspended under this Act or the statutory rules for an alleged offence.

Section 206B(2) of the Road Transport Act 2013 provides that a court that determines a charge for the offence (or for a related offence) is required to take into account the period of suspension when deciding on any period of disqualification from holding or obtaining a driver licence on conviction for the offence (or for the related offence).

This means that the court can backdate the disqualification period to commence from the date of suspension.

Interlock Orders

An interlock order is an order imposed by a court sentencing an offender for certain driving offences. It is a court order disqualifying a driver from driving and following the completion of the disqualification period, the order requires the driver to obtain an ‘interlock driver’s licence’ and participate in the interlock program for a specific period.

The interlock program requires an offender to install an interlock device in their vehicle which is linked to the ignition system of the vehicle. The offender must complete a breath test at the commencement of the driving journey and at other random times. A log is also maintained of the number of times this occurs which can be viewed by police and can potentially lead to further charges if not adhered to.

A driver can obtain an exemption to an interlock order however circumstances under which a court can make such an order are limited and may affect the period of disqualification granted by the court.

Section 211 of the Road Transport Act 2013 states that a court may make an interlock exemption order only if satisfied that:

  1. The offender does not have access to a vehicle to install an interlock device in; or
  2. The offender has a medical condition diagnosed by a medical practitioner that prevents them from providing a sufficient breath sample to operate an approved interlock device and it is not reasonably practicable for a device to be modified to enable them to operate it; or
  3. If the offender is convicted of an offence of mid-range drink-drive or mid-range drink-drive and presence prescribed illicit drug that is a first offence;
    1. That the making of a mandatory interlock order would cause severe hardship to the person; and
    2. That the making of an interlock exemption order is more appropriate in all the circumstances than the making of a mandatory interlock order.

This legislation specifically states that an interlock exemption order must not be made simply because:

  1. The offender cannot afford the cost of an interlock device; or
  2. The offender would be prevented from driving in the course of their employment; or
  3. The offender has access to a vehicle but the registered owner refuses to consent to an interlock device being installed.

If you have been charged with mid-range PCA, call Karnib & Co Lawyers at any time on 0450503696 or email us on [email protected] to arrange a free consultation. For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skype, Zoom and FaceTime anywhere around the world.