Traffic Law

Drink Driving Penalties NSW

When it comes to drink driving penalties NSW is known to have one of the toughest sentencing regimes in the country. It is well known that in NSW, police have the power to stop a driver at random for the purpose of a breath test. If the driver returns a positive result (ie, 0.05 or more or for some drivers, such as provisional drivers, any reading whatsoever), then the driver can be arrested for the purpose of a breath analysis. The breath analysis machine determines the driver's blood-alcohol concentration and if the level is higher than the allowable limit that relates to the type or status of the particular driver's licence, then an offence has been committed. 

The law sets categories or ranges of blood-alcohol concentration, known as ranges of Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA). The higher the range, the higher the available penalties and disqualification periods. Of course, there are also other drink driving offences that do not relate to a specific concentration of alcohol, the most common being "drive under the influence of alcohol". 

Our Drink Driving Lawyers Sydney & NSW work from multiple office locations and have successfully represented thousands of clients throughout NSW Courts. Below are the more common drink driving related offences that appear before the Court: 

Low Range PCA: 0.05 ≤ and < 0.08
Mid Range PCA: 0.08 ≤ and < 0.15 
High Range PCA: 0.15 or higher
- Novice Range PCA: 0.00 < 0.02
- Special Range PCA: 0.02 ≤ and < 0.05 
- Refuse Breath Analysis 
- Drive Under the Influence of alcohol (DUI)

The below tables outline the penalties Courts can impose.

Low Range PCA; Novice Range PCA; & Special Range PCA 

Offences

Maximum Fine

Disqualification

Minimum Interlock Period

Maximum Gaol 

 

 

Automatic

Minimum

 

 

1st offence

$1,100

6 months

3 months


-

-

 

 

Automatic

Maximum

 

 

2 or more

$2,200

1 month

3 months


12 months

-


Mid Range PCA & Drive Under the Influence

Offences

Maximum Fine

Disqualification

Minimum Interlock Period

Maximum Gaol 

 

 

Automatic

Minimum

 

 

1st offence

$2,200

12 months

6 months


-

9 months

 

 

Automatic

Maximum

 

 

2 or more

$3,300

6 months

9 months


24 months

12 months

High Range PCA & Refuse Breath Analysis

Offences

Maximum Fine

Disqualification

Minimum Interlock Period

Maximum Gaol 

 

 

Automatic

Maximum

 

 

1st offence

$3,300

6 months

9 months


24 months

18 months

 

 

Automatic

Maximum

 

 

2 or more

$5,500

9 months

12 months


48 months

2 years


Our lawyers have particular expertise in defending drink driving charges or, reducing disqualification periods and penalties upon a plea of "guilty". We are also able to have a drink driving charge reduced to a lesser charge, under certain circumstances.

If you have been charged with an offence and are requried to go to Court, our experts at Prime lawyers - Traffic Law Division can help. Contact us to make an appointment with at your nearest Prime Lawyers office.

We have offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Chatswood, Sutherland and Wollongong.

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