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Mid Range Drink Driving (NSW)

Drink driving is a criminal offence that can have severe consequences.  There are laws in place to deter people from driving while under the influence of alcohol.  The offence of mid-range drink driving is committed when a person drives a motor vehicle on a public road with a prescribed concentration of alcohol, known as the PCA which ranges from 0.08 to 0.149.

What is the Penalty for Mid Range Drink Driving?

If an individual is convicted of this offence by a court, a first-time offender may face a maximum penalty, including imprisonment for up to 9 months and a fine of 20 penalty units. Following a conviction, the maximum period of licence disqualification is 12 months, with a minimum of 6 months.

This offence of mid range drink driving is also subject to mandatory participation in an interlock program. If enrolled in the interlock program, the court has the authority to disqualify the individual for a maximum duration of 6 months, with a minimum of 3 months, and subsequently mandate participation in the interlock program for 12 months.

For repeat offenders after the recording of a criminal conviction, the maximum penalty increases to imprisonment for up to 12 months and a fine of 50 penalty units. The highest duration of licence disqualification is 3 years, with a minimum of 12 months. Additionally, this offence is also subject to a mandatory interlock program. If required to participate in the interlock program, the court can impose a disqualification period ranging from a maximum of 9 months to a minimum of 6 months, followed by compulsory enrolment in the interlock program for 24 months.

Will I Get A Criminal Record for Mid Range Drink Driving?

From our experience, you will most likely receive a criminal conviction for a mid range PCA offence. Drink driving at any level is considered to be a serious offence and the penalties for mid-range are significantly higher than those for low-range due to the severity of the risk involved.

In limited circumstances, it is possible to avoid a criminal conviction for a mid range drink driving offence. If the Court thinks that it is appropriate not to convict you, it may afford the leniency of a dismissal or Conditional Release Order (CRO) pursuant to Section 10(1)(a) or (b) of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.

Section 203 of the Road Transport Act 2013 outlines that a person is only eligible to one non-conviction order within a five year period for a drink driving offence. If you are afforded the leniency of a Section 10(1)(a) dismissal or CRO without conviction, this means that your licence will not be disqualified.

What Is An Interlock Order?

An interlock order is a directive issued by the court as part of sentencing for specific offences. It mandates the individual to obtain an “interlock driver’s licence” and engage in the interlock program for a specified duration.

Enrolment in the interlock program entails the following steps:

  • Visit your GP for an assessment to secure a drink-less medical certificate, to be completed within the last 4 weeks of your disqualification period.
  • Install an interlock device in your car through an approved provider.
  • Blow into the device to register a nil alcohol reading to initiate your car’s ignition.
  • Randomly blow into the device to register nil alcohol readings while driving your car.
  • Solely drive the car equipped with the interlock device for the program’s duration.

If the interlock device detects alcohol on your breath, it triggers the engine to turn off, preventing you from restarting the car. The device maintains a log of such occurrences, accessible by the police, potentially leading to additional charges. Failure to secure an exemption from the court or non-compliance with the interlock order results in a five-year disqualification from driving.

Can I Be Exempt From An Interlock Order?

Exemption from an Interlock Order may be possible under the following circumstances:

  • Lack of access to a vehicle suitable for interlock installation
  • A medical condition hindering the provision of a sufficient breath sample.
  • For a first mid-range offence, the imposition of the Interlock Program would result in severe hardship.

Applications for Interlock exemptions must be submitted during the sentencing for the offence and must be accompanied by relevant supporting evidence.

If granted an exemption from the Interlock Program, the automatic disqualification period is reduced to 12 months, with the statutory minimum disqualification period set at six months.

What is the difference between BAC & PCA?

Essentially they represent the same value.  BAC or blood alcohol concentration refers to the amount of alcohol in the blood, expressed as a percentage gram per 100ml of blood.  PCA or prescribed concentration of alcohol is a legislative limit which is based on the amount of alcohol in 210 litres of breath, which is equivalent to 100ml of blood.

Why Choose BSM Lawyers?

It is important that you receive legal advice. Mid-Range Drink Driving offences are serious criminal offences which may result in a criminal record and possibly a jail sentence. At Brander Smith McKnight, we have assisted many hundreds of clients with these charges. Our criminal 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

The criminal team at Brander Smith McKnight 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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