High Range Drink Driving

The offence of high range PCA is committed by a person who drives a motor vehicle on a public road with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.150 or above. The maximum penalty for a first offender is the recording of a criminal conviction, imprisonment for 18 month, a fine of 30 penalty units and an automatic licence disqualification for 3 years. The maximum penalty for a repeat offender is the recording of a criminal conviction, imprisonment for 2 years, a fine of 50 penalty units and an automatic licence disqualification for 5 years.

Sentencing for high range drink driving matters is also regulated by the NSW Guideline Judgement for high range drink driving matters.

Will I Get A Criminal Record For A High Range Drink Driving Charge?

Yes. High range drink driving is considered to be a serious offence. The seriousness of the charge is heightened depending on the level of alcohol in the offenders blood or breath. The penalties are severe and it is not uncommon, especially if a collision occurred, for some form of custodial sentence to be imposed, even for a first offender. This is on top of the recording of a criminal conviction against your name.

What Does It Mean To Have A Criminal Conviction Recorded?

The consequences of having a criminal conviction recorded can be very serious. For example, most 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.

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, the applicant 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, the visa may or may not be granted based on your criminal record.

Is It Possible That I Will Go To Jail/Gaol For My High Range PCA Charge?

Yes. High range drink driving, even for a first offender, can result in a custodial sentence. Whether or not a custodial sentence will be imposed depends on a number of factors, including the level of your blood or breath alcohol reading, the circumstances of the offence and your traffic record.

Do I Need A Lawyer To Represent Me For A High Range PCA Charge?

It is your choice whether to represent yourself or whether to have a solicitor represent you in Court. In making this decision, however, you should consider the impact of any form of sentencing on both your life, and the lives of the people close to you. High range drink driving is a serious criminal offence, and you will be sentenced accordingly. Further, it can be very daunting for a person with no prior contact with the criminal justice system to find themselves before a court for this sort of charge. Our solicitors specialise in these matters and will use their experience and expertise to lead you through the process to the best possible outcome.


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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