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Mid Range PCA

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What is Middle Range PCA?

The offence of middle range PCA is committed if you drive a motor vehicle on a road, or supervising a learner driver, with a blood alcohol concentration between 0.08 and 0.149.

Penalties for Middle Range PCA

Middle Range PCA – first offence penalties

Fine Imprisonment Disqualification Interlock
$2200 9 months With interlock order: 6 months – can be reduced but not less than 3 months.

Exempted from interlock: 12 months – can be reduced but not less than 6 months.
12 month interlock condition on your licence

Middle Range PCA – second alcohol related offence within 5 years

Fine Imprisonment Disqualification Interlock
$3300 12 months With interlock order: 9 months (can be reduced but not less than 6 months)

Exempted from interlock: 3 years – can be reduced but not less than 12 months.
24 month interlock condition on your licence

Process for middle range PCA charges

Police will first administer a roadside breath test. Normally you speak into the device first and this gives an indication of whether there is any alcohol present in your breath. If that test is positive then you’ll be required to blow into a tube attached to the same device. This gives police an indicative reading. If that reading is above your limit you will be arrested for the purposes of a breath analysis.

Breath analysis devices are located in police stations and also RBT buses that are sometimes used in large drink driving operations. The result obtained from blowing into this device is legally deemed to be your reading at the time that you were driving. Once that test is completed you will given some paperwork and usually released from custody. Unlike offences of novice, special or low range PCA, police cannot issue a penalty notice for middle range PCA.

Immediate licence suspension for middle range PCA

If you are issued with a court attendance for middle range PCA you will usually also receive an immediate police suspension notice. If you hold a NSW licence that means it is immediately suspended and you cannot drive. If you hold an international or interstate licence it means the authority to drive within NSW is suspended. The suspension is in place until your matter is finalised by a court.

If you are considering an appeal against an immediate police suspension you can read more here. Appeals against immediate police suspensions are less likely to be successful than other types of licence appeals. This is because the legal test is much higher. You need to prove to the court that there are exceptional circumstances why you should have your licence back. If your matter is going to be heard at court a successful appeal will only allow you to drive up until the matter is finalised at court. A court may still convict you and impose a period of disqualification following a successful appeal. If you do not appeal, then the court can take the period of suspension into account when setting a period of disqualification.

Court process for middle range PCA

Unless a lawyer is appearing on your behalf you will need to attend court on the date listed on your court attendance notice. The first appearance at court for a middle range PCA charge is a mention date. It will most likely be in a busy list with many other people. Everyone’s court attendance notice says 9.30am so you may be there quite some time. At the mention date you can tell the court whether you would like to plead guilty, not guilty or seek an adjournment.

If you plead guilty you may be able to be sentenced on the same day. This is usually not advisable unless you are well prepared. If you plead not guilty you will be allocated a hearing date several weeks away. If you are considering pleading not guilty to a drink driving charge ensure you are aware of the defences to drink driving. You can also ask the court to adjourn your matter for a short time (usually two to four weeks) so that you can speak with a lawyer, obtain some references, and complete an approved traffic offenders program.

Is middle range PCA a criminal offence

Middle range PCA is a criminal offence and you will most likely receive a criminal conviction. A criminal conviction for middle range PCA will appear on your criminal record and in criminal background checks. There are generally only two ways in which you can a avoid a criminal conviction for middle range PCA. You can plead not guilty and have the matter dismissed if you are successful, or you can persuade the court to deal with the matter by finding you guilty but not recording a conviction.

Interlock orders for middle range PCA

If you are convicted of middle range PCA you will serve an initial period of disqualification, followed by a period where you are subject to an interlock order. This means you can only drive a vehicle fitted with an interlock device. You can seek an exemption order however if this is granted you may be disqualified for a longer period of time.

What is the likely penalty for middle range PCA

Statistics from the New South Wales Judicial Commission show that over a recent four year period over 80% of people charged with middle range PCA were convicted. Less than 20% did not have a conviction recorded. Middle range PCA is viewed as a serious offence and avoiding a conviction is rare.

Will I go to jail for middle range PCA?

Over a recent four year period on about 2% of drivers charged with high range PCA received sentences of imprisonment. Where it was a second offence within a five year period about 25% were sentenced to some form of imprisonment.

Preparing for court

When determining your matter, the Magistrate will read the court attendance notice, police facts sheet, and any material you bring to court. They will also listen to anything that you or your lawyer wish to tell the court. These are called submissions. It is important to ensure that your matter is well prepared. In a busy court there is only limited time for each matter. You need to be able to draw the courts attention to all the relevant considerations quickly. References need to be formatted, addressed and drafted correctly. It is also important that you complete a traffic offenders program.

Why choose Astor Legal

Astor Legal are experts in traffic and criminal law. All of our lawyers are experienced in drink driving matters. Our firm was started by two former police prosecutors who not only handled dozens of these matters every day in court but also used to conduct breath tests and breath analysis tests themselves. We know the systems and processes. Our lawyers will work with you to prepare your matter and then represent you at court. Take advantage of our obligation free case assessment and find out how we can get the best outcome for your matter.

Mid Range PCA Case Studies

  • No jail for 5th mid range PCA and speeding 30km/h over limit

    Our client was charged with Mid Range PCA, Exceed Speed by More Than 30km and Destroy/Damage Property.

    He had an extensive criminal history spanning more than 30 years, issues relating to alcohol addiction and was facing the real and significant prospect of full time imprisonment.

    Out client had worked incredibly hard on his addiction issues and had done everything possible to prove that he was back on the wagon. Before appearing at court for these matters, our client hadn’t committed an offence since 2013, some 6 years earlier.

    We assisted our client to prepare the best case possible in order to ensure he was able to avoid full time imprisonment. While accepting it cannot be viewed in a vacuum, the Magistrate agreed with our ultimate submission that the community was not made safer by sending our client to jail and recognised the real and significant steps our client had taken in order to rehabilitate himself.

  • No conviction for mid range PCA with child in car

    Our client was stopped at a random breath testing site shortly after midday. He had been drinking the previous night and then had one beer during the day. His partner and young child were also in the car. His reading was 0.081. He was charged with mid range PCA and his licence was suspended immediately.

    At the time of being stopped our client was on the way to the hospital as his child was quite ill. His wife was not a confident driver and so believing that he was under the limit, he chose to drive.

    After thorough preparation we persuaded the Magistrate that he should be placed on a conditional release order without a conviction being recorded.