What is Low Range PCA?
Low range PCA occurs when any class of driver has been detected with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of between 0.05 and up to 0.079.
What happens when or after I am charged with Low Range PCA?
You can elect to have your matter heard at court. An election is located at the back of a suspension notice. If you choose to pay your fine and serve a 3-month suspension, court attendance is not necessary.
The offence is recorded on your Traffic History.
Police may issue you with a fine (infringement notice) and an immediate 3-month suspension. If they don’t, then the RMS will issue a 3-month suspension that commences on the date advised on the suspension notice.
However, police have a discretion to issue you with a court attendance notice (“CAN”) in lieu of an infringement notice. As expected, a CAN requires you to attend court on the date specified on the notice. If this is your first time being charged with low-range PCA, you will have most likely escaped a requirement to attend court.
Police usually serve court attendance notices on repeat offenders.
What other options do I have when charged with Low Range PCA?
An option exists to appeal the police suspension or the RMS suspension.
When appealing a police suspension, exceptional circumstances MUST exist as to why the court should grant your appeal.
Exceptional circumstances are more than just needing your car for work or family reasons. It may be one significant factor or an accumulation of factors. (EG. A good driving history, your manner of driving at the time, whether passengers were present, or your contribution to the community etc.)
Where you appealing an RMS suspension (an easier test to satisfy than appealing a police suspension), the court will determine your need for a licence and the impact a loss will create. A Magistrate will also consider your good character (the emphasis is different to a criminal offence character reference), your driving history, and whether you have completed the Traffic Offender’s Program.
You must lodge an appeal within 28 days of receiving the notice of suspension.
A court will decide whether to:
- allow the appeal, and lift your suspension; or
- vary or reduce your suspension; or
- dismiss the appeal, and confirm the 3 month suspension; or
- make any other order that the court sees fit.
You can choose to plead guilty or not guilty when issued with a court attendance notice, and a suspension that you are choosing not to appeal. Seek an experienced lawyer to guide you through the process.
What penalties or outcomes are available for low-range PCA
The best outcome, when pleading guilty, is a Section 10 dismissal. This means that the offence is proven, but no conviction is recorded, no fine is incurred, there is no loss of points, and any suspension is lifted.
An automatic disqualification of 6 months awaits those convicted for the first time. However, a Magistrate holds a discretion to reduce the disqualification period to 3 months. You will need to reapply for a new license once the disqualification period ends.
Second time convictions incur an automatic disqualification period of 12 months. However, a magistrate can reduce this period to a minimum of 3 months. Additionally, there is a maximum fine of $3,300 – again, this is a maximum!
You will need to participate in the interlock program for 12 months or more.
Pleading NOT Guilty
The best outcome, when pleading not guilty, is to WIN your case and have your charges dismissed.
An experienced lawyer can advise you of the chances of winning your case.
Cityscape Lawyers can provide you with advice on how to deal with low-range, mid-range and high-range PCA charges.