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Special range drink driving

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

10 Practical tips for representing yourself in a drink driving charge

The offence of special range PCA is committed by a person who drives a motor vehicle on a public road with a blood alcohol concentration of between 0.02 and 0.049. The maximum penalty for this charge depends on whether a person is a first offender or repeat offender. In either case, the starting point in sentencing would be for a criminal conviction to be recorded, a fine to be imposed and the offender's licence disqualified. The automatic disqualification period for a first offender is six months. The automatic disqualification period for a repeat offender is 12 months.

Who can be charged with a special range PCA charge?

Any person who is subject to a zero alcohol limit or special alcohol limit while driving may be charged with a special range PCA charge.

Broadly speaking, this offence will usually apply to persons who have a special licence such as a learners licence, P1 licence or P2 licence. It will also apply to bus drivers and taxi drivers who will usually have a 0.02 limit while operating a bus or taxi service.

Will I get a criminal record for a special range PCA charge?

Yes. Drink driving is considered to be a serious offence, and the starting point for the sentencing Court is the recording of a criminal conviction, together with the imposition of a fine and a period of licence disqualification. Special range PCA is considered to be particularly serious because of the zero limit drivers to whom it applies

What does it mean to have a criminal conviction recorded?

The consequences of having a criminal conviction recorded can be very serious. For example, many employers will conduct a background check on potential employees as part of the standard recruitment process including a police check. A police check would reveal if you have a criminal conviction recorded against your name, and the charge for which it was recorded. This may impact the employer's decision in whether or not to employ you.

For young people, it is particularly important to be aware of the impact of a criminal conviction. A criminal conviction will stay on your record for a minimum period of 10 years.

In certain professions a criminal conviction may need to be reported to a regulatory body. For example, a member of the legal profession must report any criminal convictions to the relevant law society who will then make a determination as to whether that legal practitioner should be allowed to continue to practice law.

A criminal conviction may also inhibit future overseas travel. Most countries require visitors to obtain a visa prior to entering the country. As part of the visa process, you will more than likely need to disclose any criminal convictions. Depending on the policy of the particular country for which the visa is being sought, your visa may or may not be granted based on the person's criminal record.

Is it possible to avoid a criminal record for a special range PCA charge?

It may be possible to avoid a criminal record if you are afforded the leniency of a section 10 non conviction order.

Do I need a lawyer to represent me for a special range PCA charge?

It is your choice whether to represent yourself or whether to have a solicitor represent you in Court. If you are worried about a criminal conviction or loss of licence, we would advise having a solicitor represent you. For someone who is unfamiliar with the Court system, having to navigate a drink driving charge can be daunting. Our solicitors specialise in these matters and will use their experience and expertise to lead you through the process to the best possible outcome.

Call 1300 146 568 for more information.


where to next?

In NSW, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

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