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Drink Driving Offences & PCA Offences In Australia

One of the most prominent road-related injuries in Australia is drunk driving. Drink driving is a severe offence in Australia. Anyone caught operating a vehicle over the legal limit may face penalties such as licence suspension, disqualification, revocation, fines, or imprisonment for more serious offences.

Many drivers are still perplexed by the “ambiguous” drink-driving legislation, assuming it is safe to drive after three drinks.

According to a new study released, the average motorist/driver has a substantial knowledge gap in drunk driving rules. While nearly three-quarters of drivers feel they know the laws, only 22% know the proper legal adult limit, and 20% believe they can consume three or more drinks before driving. The more liquor you consume, the higher your blood alcohol content will be, and the greater your chances of getting involved in a car accident.

Drink driving offences in Australia

Call one of our expert Drink Driving Lawyers in Parramatta at (02) 8084 2764 immediately for a free consultation about your Drink Driving problem.

Drink-Driving Defences

There are essentially two defences that are in use against drunk driving charges.

● The ‘2-hour rule’ is the first line of defence. It states that a police officer cannot make a person submit to a test, analysis, or evaluation or furnish a sample two hours after they drive. The time limit is four hours for a blood sample, urine sample, and oral fluid test.

● The second defence is known as the ‘home safe’ rule. A police officer cannot force a person to submit to a test, analysis, or assessment or to produce a sample at their residence, according to the NSW Police Act of 2013. A person’s home, for example, includes any section of their property, including a driveway, front yard, and rear yard. Because police officers are frequently unaware of these terms, an expert drink driving lawyer may be able to have the charges dismissed.

Drink Driving Offences and PCA Offences

You must know that driving a car or riding a bike while your blood alcohol level is above the legal limit is a severe violation in NSW.

If the driver is obliged to enrol in the Alcohol Interlock Program, the disqualification terms may differ from those indicated. See the Alcohol Interlock Program for additional information.

For related offences, see ‘Driving Under the Influence’ below.

Drink-driving offences regularly

Drivers who have been guilty of two drink-driving offences in five years must complete the Driver Knowledge Test before regaining their driver’s licence.

Drinking and driving in a low range, a specific situation, or as a novice

You would be charged with low-range drink riving if you are found to have been driving a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.05 and 0.079.

If you commit a low, special, or novice range alcohol driving offence, NSW Police can suspend your licence immediately. If it’s your first offence, your licence can get suspended for three months, and you need to pay the fine right away. Alternatively, the police may issue you with a court attendance notice and you would be required to appear at Court.

PenaltyFirst offenceSecond or Subsequent Offence
Penalty notice fine$581N/A
Immediate licence suspensionYesYes
Maximum court-imposed fine$2200$3300
Maximum prison termN/AN/A
Minimum disqualification3 Months6 Months
Maximum disqualification6 MonthsUnlimited
Automatic disqualification6 Months12 Months
Subject to an alcohol interlock orderNo Yes, for a period of 12 months

Drinking and driving in the mid-range

A mid-range PCA offence occurs when a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds 0.08 but less than 0.15.

PenaltyFirst offenceSecond or Subsequent Offence
Maximum court-imposed fine$2200$3300
Maximum prison term9 Months12 Months
Minimum disqualification6 Months if interlock order is exempted or a minimum of 3 months if interlock order is imposed.12 Months if interlock order is exempted or minimum of 6 months if interlock order is imposed.
Maximum disqualificationUnlimitedUnlimited
Automatic disqualification12 Months3 Years
Immediate licence suspensionYesYes
Subject to an alcohol interlock orderYes, for a period of 1 yearYes, for a period of 2 years.

Drinking and driving at a high level

When a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeds 0.15, it’s considered a high-range PCA offence.

PenaltyFirst offenceSecond or Subsequent Offence
Maximum court-imposed fine$3300$5500
Maximum prison term18 Months2 Years
Minimum disqualification12 Months without interlock or 6 months if interlock is imposed2 Years without interlock or minimum 9 months if interlock is imposed
Maximum disqualificationUnlimitedUnlimited
Automatic disqualification3 Years5 Years
Immediate licence suspensionYesYes
Subject to an alcohol interlock orderYes, for a period of 2 yearsYes, for a period of 4 years

Statistics on Drink Driving in New South Wales

● 30% of all drunk driving accidents occur on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
● 90% of drunk drivers who cause fatal accidents are men.
● Between 30 and 39 ages, 25% of drunk drivers get involved in deadly accidents.
● Drunk driving is responsible for 20% of all fatal accidents in NSW.

What is Section 10, and is it going to be of assistance?

Section 10 orders are a criminal penalty that a magistrate or judge can issue during sentencing. A court ruling dismissing a case without recording a conviction is known as Section 10. The Court can make such an order under Section 10 of the Crimes Act 1999 (NSW).

The process of persuading the Court to employ this power is known as ‘obtaining a Section 10’, which means you will not be guilty of drunk driving, and your licence will not get suspended.

Surprisingly, the majority of individuals desire this outcome. However, it is only applicable for minor offences or when there are extenuating circumstances around the crime or your situation.

According to an internal analysis by our legal team, which specialises in Traffic Infringement and Traffic Law, 43 % of drunk driving charges in the Novice Drink Driving Range will get reduced. It was 15% in the Mid-Range Drinking Class and less than 1% in the High-Range Drinking Class!

An Overview of Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

The percentage of alcohol in a person’s blood is known as BAC.

● A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 suggests you’re twice as likely to be involved in a car accident.
● If you have a BAC of around 0.08 or more, you are seven times more likely to have an accident while driving.
● If you have found with a BAC of 0.15, your chances of being involved in an accident increase exponentially, making you 25 times more likely to be involved.

Do You Need Assistance Determining The Seriousness Of Your Offence?

If you’ve been found guilty of a drunk driving offence, you must seek the advice of an experienced Drink Driving Lawyer Sydney. Platinum Lawyers are well renowned and have enriched experience as Drink/Drug Driving Attorneys who can assist you in achieving the optimum outcome.

Platinum Lawyers are always ready to assist you. As Western Sydney’s premier legal practice, we’ve successfully defended over 500 people facing a drink driving charge in Court, ensuring a better outcome than if they had met their drink driving charge alone.

At Platinum Lawyers, we believe that knowing the cost of a matter from the beginning is the best way to assist our clients. Fixed fees ensure you know exactly how much you’ll have to pay upfront, and there are no surprises.

Contact us right now at (02) 8084 2764.

All You Need To Know In Brief:

Unless you’re a new driver who just received your licence, odds are you consider driving to be a routine chore. But, on the other hand, driving is somewhat complicated when you think about it. It would help if you were on high alert, have excellent coordination, quick reflexes, and the ability to make split-second decisions when necessary. With so much depending on the driver’s shoulders, it’s no surprise that any lapse in judgement can have fatal consequences.

But in case you are facing a charge of drunk driving in Sydney, Platinum Lawyers are easily accessible at (02) 8084 2764 or (

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