PCA Offences


Prescribed concentration of alcohol, or ‘PCA’ charges are the most common drink driving charges prosecuted. To convict on a PCA charge, the Police must show that the prescribed content of alcohol is in your system at the time of driving. This is generally done through breath or blood testing and analysis.

The charge of driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol is under section 19 of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977.

The Act also prescribes certain ‘levels’ of PCA which the Police can issue a charge. These are:

  • Level 1(0.01 to 0.049): This largely pertains to special category drivers, such as bus and taxi drivers who are subject to a blood alcohol limit of 0.02 or Provisional licence holders whose blood alcohol limit must be 0.
  • Level 2(0.05 to 0.079)
  • Level 3(0.08 to 0.149)
  • Level 4(0.150+)

To convict you of a PCA charge, the Police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You have the prescribed concentration of alcohol in your blood or breath;
  2. You were driving or that you were a driver trainer in a motor vehicle; and
  3. You were on a road or road-related area.

Penalties

The below table outlines the maximum penalties for drink and drug driving charges in the ACT. It also details the minimum and automatic periods of disqualifications for all drink driving offences in the ACT.

Generally, the starting point in sentencing PCA matters is for a Magistrate to record a conviction, impose a fine and a disqualification period. The fine and disqualification period that a Magistrate may impose is dependent on the level of your BAC and whether or not you are classed as a repeat offender.

Regardless of the seriousness of the charge, it is open to the Court not to impose any penalty and to dismiss the charge under section 17 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005. If an order is made under section 17, there is no criminal conviction recorded and further, no disqualification period or fine imposed.

Offence Minimum Disqualification Default Disqualification Maximum Fine Maximum Jail
First offence
Level One PCA
0.01 – 0.049
1 month 3 months penalty units Nil
Level Two PCA
0.05 – 0.079
2 months 6 months penalty units Nil
Level Three PCA
0.08 – 0.149
3 months 12 months 10 penalty units 6 months
Level Four PCA
0.150+
6 months 3 years 15 penalty units 9 months
Prescribed Drug in Oral Fluid/blood 6 months 3 years 10 penalty units Nil
Refuse to provide breath sample/oral fluid sample/blood test 6 months 3 years 30 penalty units 6 months
DUI 6 months 3 years 30 penalty units 6 months
Driver Intoxicated 6 months 3 years 50 penalty units 6 months
Second or subsequent offence
Level One PCA
0.01 – 0.049
3 months 12 months 10 penalty units Nil
Level Two PCA
0.05 – 0.079
3 months 12 months 10 penalty units Nil
Level Three PCA
0.08 – 0.149
6 months 3 years 10 penalty units 6 months
Level Four PCA
0.150+
12 months 5 years 20 penalty units 12 months
Prescribed Drug in Oral Fluid/blood 12 months 5 years Driver – 25 penalty units, Driver trainer – 20 units Driver – 3 months, Driver trainer – Nil
Refuse to provide breath sample/oral fluid sample/blood test 12 months 5 years 30 penalty units 12 months
DUI 12 months 5 years 30 penalty units 12 months
Driver Intoxicated 12 months 5 years 50 penalty units 6 months

 

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.

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