Traffic Law

Special Range PCA

The Law

A Special Range PCA offence is considered a major traffic offence and, despite the penalties not including a gaol term, a conviction for this offence carries with it severe penalties. 

"PCA" stands for "prescribed concentration of alcohol" and all PCA offences require that the police prove that a driver was driving whilst their blood alcohol level was within the particular range alleged. The special range prescribed concentration of alcohol is 0.02 or more, but less than 0.05.

Pursuant to section 110(2) of the Road Transport Act, a person must not, while there is present in their breath or blood the special range prescribed concentration of alcohol, if the person is a special category driver:

(a) drive a motor vehicle, or

(b) occupy the driving seat of a motor vehicle and attempt to put the motor vehicle in motion, or

(c) if the person is the holder of an applicable driver licence - occupy the seat in a motor vehicle next to a learner driver who is driving the vehicle.

"Special category driver" is defined at section 107(2) of the Road Transport Act. The most common type of special category driver is a driver with a learner's licence, a driver with a provisional licence and a driver whose licence is at the time suspended or who has been disqualified from driving.

It must also be remembered that learner and provisional licence holders are required to have a blood alchol reading of zero.


The penalties that apply to a Special Range PCA offence are as follows:


Maximum Fine


Minimum Interlock Period

Maximum Gaol 







1st offence


6 months

3 months









2 or more


1 month

3 months

12 months


Mandatory Interlock

A Court must also make a Mandatory Interlock order upon convicting someone for their "second or subsequent" Special Range PCA offence. This means that in addition to a period of time that a driver is disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence, the driver must obtain an Interlock licence and can only drive a car fitted with an Interlock device during the Interlock period.

Read here for more on Mandatory Interlock Orders.

The above penalties apply to someone who is convicted by the Court; ie, where the Court has formed the view that the person should be punished for the offence. Of course, as with all criminal and traffic law matters that come before the Court where someone pleads "guilty", the Court can dismiss the charge witout recording a conviction and therefore, without punishing the offender. Otherwise, the Court can exercise its discretion to impose penalties and disqualifiaton periods that are below the maximum. 

Therefore, even where someone decides to plead "guilty" to a drink driving offence, engaging an experienced Traffic Law and Drink Driving Lawyer who has the knowledge and ability to persuade the Court to either not proceed to a conviction or to reduce the penalties that would otherwise apply.

If you have been charged with a Special Range PCA offence, contact one of a drink driving lawyers at your nearest Prime Lawyers office.

We have offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Chatswood, Sutherland or Wollongong. We have the required experience and knowledge to help you obtain the best result.

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