The offence of Low Range PCA (Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol) is committed by a person who operates a motor vehicle on a public road with a blood alcohol concentration from 0.05 to 0.079. The penalties for ‘low range drink driving’ (0.05 – 0.079) depend on whether you have been convicted of a ‘major traffic offence’ within the previous five years.
The maximum penalty for a Low Range PCA charge depends on whether a person is a first-time offender or a repeat offender. Either way, the starting point in sentencing would be for a criminal conviction to be recorded, a maximum fine of $1,100 to be imposed, and disqualification of the offender’s driver’s licence for anytime between three months to six months. The concern for most drivers charged with a Low Range PCA offence is that they may lose their licence.
AVOIDING A CRIMINAL RECORD FOR A LOW RANGE PCA CHARGE
In some cases, it might be possible to avoid a criminal record if you are afforded the leniency of a section 10 ‘no conviction’ order. This section provides that the case can be dispensed without any recorded conviction, which means no fine and no disqualification. Alternatively, you have the option of defending your case in the Local Court. In such instances, it is always a good idea to get an experienced traffic lawyer who can properly advise and fight for you in Court.
How can you defend yourself?
A charge of drink driving is only applicable if you have consumed alcohol which places your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the permissible range. However, the levels of alcohol in your blood may vary as times passes. While you are tested it may be possible that your BAC levels were over the legal limit, but on the other hand, it could also be a possibility that your BAC was at a lower level while you were driving. This point outlines a somewhat grey area in the law.
Further, the equipment that is used by the police for the purposes of breath testing is not always reliable; your traffic lawyer can test the reliability of the findings from any breath tests to establish a true finding to the Court. Even if there are no faults with the police equipment and readings, your Sydney Traffic Lawyer can still try and get your penalties and charges for your offences reduced to as low as possible through other avenues. If it is your first time being charged with a drink driving offence, it is likely that you would have stronger prospects of avoiding a conviction, and if you get yourself an experienced traffic lawyer, the Court may be inclined to dismiss your case with a section 10 order.
Other than the typical arguments that are presented before a Court, there are other factors that can be used to defend yourself and mitigate the circumstances of your case by utilising some reasonable explanation. For example, you may be able to argue that you were driving the vehicle as a matter of urgency arising from a medical emergency. In certain rare cases, you may also be able to claim the defence of duress; that is, that you were forced or threatened to drive a vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
It is worth remembering that if a police officer requests that you take part in a breath test two or more hours after you have driven a vehicle, and finding from that test will be found to be inadmissible as evidence. A police officer also cannot request that you take part in a breath test while you are at home. In this context, ‘home’ includes any part of the property, including the driveway.
Always think about the consequences of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol, no matter how much you have consumed. One mistake on the road can not only lead to a criminal conviction against your name, but can also negatively affect your life, as well as the lives of other motorists.
ENGAGE US AS YOUR DRINK DRIVING LAWYERS IN SYDNEY
If you are facing drink driving charges and need help, give us a call at Sydney Traffic Lawyers. We will connect you with a drink driving lawyer in Sydney who can walk you through the basics of your charges and learn more about your case. From there, we will identify the legal issues and develop the best case you have. To schedule a consultation today, give us a call on (02) 8059 7121.