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High range PCA

What is high range PCA

The offence of high range PCA is committed when a person drives a motor vehicle on a road with a blood alcohol reading above 0.150.

What are the penalties for High Range PCA?

A conviction for high range PCA when it is a first major offence in a 5 year period, can mean  a fine of up to $3300 and imprisonment for up to 18 months. It also carries an automatic period of disqualification of 9 months, however a court may reduce it to 6 months. A mandatory interlock order for 2 years also applies

A second or subsequent conviction for high range PCA  is a fine of up to $5500 and imprisonment for up to 2 years. It carries an  automatic period of licence disqualification for 9 months, however a court may reduce this to 6 months. If it is a second alcohol related offence in a 5 year period your licence will  be disqualified for between 9 and 12 months and you will then be subject to an interlock order for 4 years.


Offence Fine Imprisonment Minimum Disqualification Automatic Disqualification
High Range PCA 1st offence: $3300
2nd offence: $5500
1st offence: 18 months
2nd offence: 2 years
Disqualification is for a minimum or 6 months and maximum of 9 months Following disqualification there is a 24 months interlock period (if an interlock exemption order is made then disqualification is for a minimum 2 years or automatic period of 5 years)

Where a prior conviction (within the past 5 years) was alcohol related:

Offence Initial Disqualification Period Minimum Interlock Period Disqualification Period if exemption order made
High Range PCA Minimum 9 months
Maximum 12 months
48 months Automatic 5 years
Minimum 2 years

Will I lose my licence for high range PCA?

A  conviction for high range PCA  will mean a loss of  licence for at least the minimum period specified. There is no such thing as a ‘work licence’ or ‘restricted licence’ in NSW. The only way to keep your licence is to avoid a conviction.

How do I avoid a conviction?

There are only two ways to avoid a conviction:

  • Plead not guilty and establish one of the defences to drink driving.
  • If the court exercises its discretion to not record a conviction and deals with your matter as a conditional release order (CRO) which was previously known as a ‘section 10’.

Does a charge of High Range PCA appear on a criminal record?

High range PCA is a criminal offence, this means it will appear on a criminal record.  As a result, it will also appear on police background checks. In some cases this may affect employment, travel to certain countries, or the ability to obtain particular licences.

What is the process?

In most cases of high range PCA the Police will release you and give you a yellow slip called a field court attendance notice (Field CAN).  The court date, court location, and the type of charge  are all listed on the Field CAN.  The police may also give you another yellow piece of paper called a ‘written notice of pleading’. Do not fill that in until you’ve spoken to a lawyer.

Why choose Marsh Blom Lawyers?

We are specialist traffic and criminal lawyers. All our lawyers are experienced and results orientated. We have extensive courtroom experience and we represent clients in drink driving matters at courts all over NSW. In most drink driving matters we are able to offer a competitive fixed fee for our services. If you’ve been charged with high range drink driving, seek advice from one of our specialist drink driving lawyers immediately.

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