Drink Driving in New South Wales while intoxicated (low range prescribed concentration of alcohol, PCA) is illegal according to Section 110(3) of the Road Transport Act 2013. When someone operates a motor vehicle on a road or in an area connected to a road while their blood alcohol content (BAC) is between 0.05 and 0.079, they are guilty of this offense. Another name for the offense is low range drunk driving. The consequences for this offense in New South Wales are described on this page.
Infringement Or Court Attendance Notice
Police may issue the following when someone is observed using a low range PCA while driving:
- A $603 fine for an infraction or penalty; or a notice to appear in court.
- Whether to issue a court attendance notice or a penalty notice for a person’s first offense is at the police’s discretion.
However, a person’s second or subsequent low range drunk driving offense is not eligible for an infringement or penalty notice.
Low Range PCAs By Infringement Notice
A criminal conviction does not entail a penalty notice. Your criminal record is unaffected by the offense; only your traffic record is affected. Furthermore, you are not compelled to appear in court for the offense if you get an infringement or penalty notice. For a Low Range PCA offense, the infringement notice amount is $603.00 and there are no demerit points associated with it.
If an Infringement/Penalty notice is issued in relation to a Low Range PCA, you should additionally anticipate either:
- Get a Notice of Suspension from Transport NSW suspending your license for three months in accordance with Section 59 of the Road Transport Act 2013 after paying the penalty notice.
- Alternatively, get an immediate three-month license suspension from the police.
You have the choice to file a court election and pursue legal action about the offense if you get a penalty notice. In a “Court Election,” the elector chooses to have the traffic offense decided by a court (within the criminal jurisdiction) and must enter a guilty or not-guilty plea. Any conviction that the court imposes after a voting procedure is documented as a criminal conviction.
People who want to avoid a conviction and/or an above Police Immediate Suspension frequently make court elections. The Police Immediate Suspension will end or the offender will be able to escape the automatic and mandatory license disqualification for the offense if the matter is brought to court and a non-conviction penalty is sought. This can be done through the court election process.
Low Range PCAs By Court Attendance Notice
You must appear in court to answer for the offense if you receive a court attendance notice. Depending on whether the accused is charged with a “first” or “second/subsequent offence,” different maximum fines apply. When someone is charged with the new Low-Range PCA offense, it is only deemed to be a second or subsequent offense if, within five years of the initial charge, the defendant was found guilty of a prior offense that was either an offense against the same provision, an offense against a previous corresponding provision, or an offense that was equivalent.
For first offenses, the maximum punishment is $2,200.00, and license suspension is immediate and required upon conviction, lasting three to six months.
The maximum penalties for second or subsequent offenses is $3,300.00, and upon conviction, an interlock order is required. When a driver commits a low-range offense, they are subject to a mandatory interlock order. This entails two steps: first, their license will be suspended for one to three months; second, they must obtain an interlock license and have an interlock device installed in their car for a full year.
If the court finds you guilty of this offense and you receive a Court Attendance Notice, the conviction will appear on your criminal record.
Will I Be Convicted?
The Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 lists a number of factors that the court must take into account when determining whether a non-conviction penalty is appropriate. These factors include the offender’s background, the offense’s trivial nature, any extenuating circumstances, and any other relevant information the court deems relevant (such as an early guilty plea or participation in a traffic offender program).
Depending on how the aforementioned clause is used, the specifics of the offense, and your past criminal and driving history, you may or may not be found guilty of a low-range DUI.
Because drunk driving poses a risk to the community, courts, in our experience, take these cases very seriously. As a result, a fine and a criminal conviction are the most likely sentence outcomes.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Dot Legal.