Drink driving offences in NSW are considered serious offences that can attract penalties including licence suspension, disqualification, loss of demerit points or even a period of imprisonment.
Being charged with a drink driving (DUI) offence can be very stressful, especially if you require your licence for work or family commitments.
Our specialist Traffic Offence Lawyers can advise you on the best way to present your case to the Court by assessing the circumstances of your arrest, including whether any inappropriate steps were taken by the police at the time of arrest. This will help you determine an appropriate plea to the Court.
There are three categories of drink driving (DUI) offences:
1. Low-range PCA offence
Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.05 but less than 0.08 will result in a maximum fine of up to $1,100 for a first offence and $2,200 for a second or subsequent offence. For first offenders, the Court cannot impose a period of imprisonment. The minimum disqualification period is three months for a first offence. Subsequent offences may result in a potentially unlimited disqualification period.
2. Mid-range PCA offence
Mid-range PCA offences are committed by driving with a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.08 but less than 0.15. The maximum penalty is a fine of up to $2,200 for a first offence and $3,300 for a second or subsequent offence. Your licence is also suspended immediately on conviction for a mid-range PCA offence. Unlike low-range PCA offences, imprisonment is an option available to the Court for a mid-range PCA offence. The maximum period of imprisonment is up to nine months for a first offence and twelve months for subsequent offences.
3. High-range PCA offence
Driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of over 0.15 is regarded as a high-range PCA offence. High-range PCA offences. The maximum fine for a first offence is a fine of up to $3,300 and $5,500 for a subsequent offence. Imprisonment is an option with a high-range PCA offence, with a maximum of eighteen months for a first offence and two years for a second or subsequent offence. On conviction, the result is an immediate suspension of licence.
Note: Refusal to undertake a breathalyser test carries the same penalties as a high-range PCA offence.
Offences falling within the mid and high-range categories are also considered ‘mandatory interlock offences.’ This means that, unless an interlock exemption order is secured by your lawyer, you will be subject to a ‘mandatory interlock order’ that not only disqualifies you from driving for an initial period, but also requires you to fit (at your own expense) an interlock device to your vehicle for a period of at least twelve months.
If you have been arrested for a drink driving offence and are being held at a police station or if the police have asked you to come in for an interview, contact us without delay. We can:
- Attend the police station with you to assert your rights and give you advice about the options available to you; and
- Advise you on whether you should take part in an interview with police.
Given the serious penalties that can be imposed by the Courts when it comes to drink driving offences, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.
Our traffic lawyers have successfully represented hundreds of clients in Newcastle, the Hunter and Lake Macquarie who have been charged with DUI offences and are available for urgent on-the-spot advice over the phone on 0425 391 534 or call our office on 02 4058 5844 in person at our office next to the Criminal Court in Hunter Street, Newcastle.