Low Range Drink Driving (Low Range PCA) Penalties in NSW

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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Low Range Drink Driving

The offence of Low Range PCA is committed by a person who drives a motor vehicle on a public road with a blood alcohol concentration from 0.05 to 0.079.


Police can issue either:

  • an infringement notice, which has a fine of $572; or
  • a court attendance notice for the offence.

If you receive an infringement notice, you will also either receive an immediate suspension notice from the police or one subsequently from Transport for NSW suspending your licence for a period of three months.

If you receive a court attendance notice, or elect to take the matter to court, the maximum penalty for this charge depends on whether a person is a first offender (20 penalty units) or second and subsequent offender (30 penalty units). If a court sentencing a person records a conviction, they must make a disqualification order. The automatic period of disqualification for a first-time offender is 6 months. The court can reduce this period but it cannot reduce it below the minimum disqualification period of 3 months.

Regardless of whether police issue an infringement notice or a court attendance notice, they can issue an immediate notice of suspension. This immediate notice of suspension will mean that the offender’s driver licence will be suspended on the spot for a period of 3 months.

Will I get a criminal record if I receive an Infringement notice for a low range PCA charge?

No. The offence will remain on the person’s traffic record and/or infringements record, but will not form part of their criminal record.

Do I need to attend court if I receive an Infringement Notice?

The person will not be required to attend court, unless they make a court election or wish to appeal the immediate notice of suspension or the Transport for NSW notice of suspension. Such appeals are to be filed at a Local Court Registry accompanied by a filing fee, relevant legal forms and associated paperwork.

Will I get a criminal record if I receive a Court Attendance Notice for a low range PCA charge?

If a court elects to record a conviction, you will have a criminal record. Drink driving is considered to be a serious offence, and the starting point for the sentencing court is the recording of a criminal conviction, with the imposition of a fine and a period of licence disqualification. It may be possible to avoid a criminal record if you are afforded the leniency of a section 10 non-conviction order.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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