Presence of prescribed concentration of alcohol in person’s breath or blood

Special-range PCA (Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol) Charges

Special range PCA (Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol) charges apply to professional drivers, such as truck, taxi or bus drivers or Provisional 1 or 2 (P-Plates) and Learning licence (L-Plates) drivers who are breath tested by police and found that their level of Blood Alcohol Content (BCA) is between 0.02 and 0.49 grams of alcohol for every 100mls of blood. BAC can be measured by breath, blood, or urine.

Special range PCA charges may result in harsh penalties which may include a fine up to $2,200 and a disqualification of your driver’s licence for up to 12-months. These penalties can negatively impact your life, especially work life. A strong Sydney traffic lawyer can help to reduce your penalties and even have your matter dismissed under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act.

Special-range PCA: Defending the charge

Professional drivers or holders of a P-Plate or L-Plate licence can face Special-range PCA offences even when not overtly under the influence of alcohol. As each PCA case undergoes court proceedings, you can experience leniency in drink driving charges when your matter is handled by a legal representative who specialises in traffic law. In case of self-representation, the Court does not always show leniency. That is usually because the Court is natural not an advocate, and most self-represented offenders don’t know what ‘box to tick’ when asking the Court to deal with them leniently.

Challenge the result

PCA charges are imposed on people who are caught driving a vehicle when their blood alcohol level is found to be beyond the limit of their licence. However, all blood alcohol levels are not exact, and the levels may fluctuate over time. Considerable time passes from the initial Random Breath Test (RBT) and being tested on a more precise device at police station. There are chances that alcohol level in your blood may have been lower while you began driving and spiked before the RBT.

You can challenge these readings in court or plead guilty with an explanation, which would lead to reduced penalties or having your charges dismissed. Section 10 will also see your matter dismissed without conviction: no penalty; no disqualification. If it is the first offence, you are more likely to be treated leniently by the Court.

Some other options to defend for PCA charges of Special-range

  • This one is hard to prove, but there may scope to argue an honest and reasonable mistake of fact. It is not easy to prove this, but you can argue that you made an honest and reasonable mistake which led to the blood alcohol level in your body being above 0.00 during the time of the offence. For example, you could argue the use of medication or alcohol based mouthwash prior to the breathalyser test.
  • If more than 2 hours have passed since you drove the vehicle, you can’t be forced by police to take a breath test. If tested after 2 hours, the Court
  • A good drink driving lawyer can also argue the “at home rule”, “duress” or “emergency” to defend your drink drive matter.

What you should show

There are several arguments which can form a defence if you chose to challenge the reading:

  • Your subjective circumstances: During which time-frame, what food was consumed and what was the quantity of alcohol consumed.
  • Your good character and traffic record.

Other important considerations, such as how a criminal record or disqualified licence will affect your life and the lives of family members who rely on your licence to drive.

Robert Daoud, Principal Lawyer of
Daoud Legal: Sydney Criminal Defence & Traffic Lawyers