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Drink Driving in NSW

Drink driving is a criminal offence that can have severe consequences. In NSW, there are strict laws in place to deter people from getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol.

The law sets ranges of blood alcohol concentration, known as ranges of prescribed concentration of alcohol or PCA.

Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA)

These offences fall into three (3) ranges, depending on the following blood alcohol reading: Low range (0.050 – 0.079), Mid range (0.080 – 0.149) and High range (0.150 or more).

First OffenceLow RangeMid  RangeHigh Range
Penalty$2,200 fine$2,200 fine or 9 months gaol$3,300 fine or 18 months gaol
Disqualification6 months12 months3 years
Disqualification (with interlock*)N/A3-6 months6-9 months



Second or

Subsequent Offence

Low RangeMid RangeHigh Range
Penalty$3,300 fine$3,300 fine or 1 year


$5,500 fine or 2years


Disqualification6-12 months1-3 years2-5 years
Disqualification (with interlock*)1-3 months6-9 months9-12 months

*Interlock is a device fitted to the car to prevent the car from starting and being driven unless the driver records a zero blood alcohol reading. The interlock period for first offences ranges from 1-2 years.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI)

DUI offences do not require police to establish an individual’s blood alcohol content as opposed to PCA offences. Instead, if individuals are found to have either driven a vehicle, occupied the driver’s seat and attempted to start the vehicle, or occupied the passenger seat of a car while a learner is driving, while under the influence of alcohol, they may be found guilty if proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Penalties for a first offence may include up to 18 months imprisonment, 30 penalty points, and a $3,300 fine. Second or subsequent offences may result in penalties of up to 2 years imprisonment, 50 penalty points, and a $5,500 fine. The experienced criminal lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight have represented clients in such complex court matters.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

Why you need a lawyer

It is important that you receive legal advice. Many drink driving (PCA) offences are criminal offences which may result in a criminal record and a gaol sentence. At Brander Smith McKnight, we have assisted many hundreds of clients with these charges. Our traffic offences lawyers will provide you with legal advice to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome. This may include:

  • Preparing you for court
  • Obtaining character references
  • Obtain evidence of hardship of licence disqualification, such as caring for a sick relative or the need for a licence for employment
  • Obtaining medical or psychological reports
  • Obtaining references from employers
  • Completing traffic offender programs

Brander Smith McKnight criminal lawyers will carefully prepare submissions for sentencing, presenting the best possible legal case to achieve the best outcome. Our lawyers will appear in court for you, advocate strongly for you and handle the entire court process.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

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