Drink Driving as well as Drug Driving are some of the most common offences in NSW. There are a variety of offences which relate to both drink and drug driving in NSW.


A person can be possibly charged (after providing the police with a breath test) with possibly being over the PAC (Prescribed Alcohol Concentration) limit, for refusing to provide a breath or blood sample, for driving while affected by drugs and it should be noted that each offence carries its own distinct penalty as well as disqualification period.


Did you know that there is no such thing as a ‘’Work/ restricted Licence Only’’ so losing your licence can affect both your personal life as well as your employment.


The Court will have regard to many factors when considering whether to convict a person for a Drink Driving or a Drug Driving related offence.


During the sentencing exercise, the courts will consider the following (to name a few):


1.       Age

2.       The person’s need for a licence

3.       The driver’s experience

4.       Objective seriousness of the actual offence

5.       Personal circumstances

6.       Completion of the Traffic Offenders Program

7.       Whether the person is remorseful for his or her actions

8.       Employment

9.       Aggravating and/or Mitigating features



Interlock Programs in NSW

In NSW an Interlock Program requires a person to have a Breath Testing Device appropriately fitted to his or her vehicle so that the vehicle operates once the person has blown a zero BAC. A person who is ordered to install an Interlock Device will bear all costs which are associated with the Interlock device including installation of the device.


To take part in the Interlock Program, he or she must undertake the Drink Less program (which is a survey conducted by the person’s doctor with respect to alcohol consumption) no later than 28 days from the end of the person’s disqualification.  Prior to the issuance of the Interlock Device the person’s doctor will need to provide Service NSW with a certificate confirming that all the relevant steps have been taken and confirming that the person is now ready to be issued with the Interlock Device.


If a person refuses or fails to participate in the Interlock Program, it will result in a 5-year suspension period and breaching such order is very serious.



Other important definitions with respect to Drink Driving & Drug Driving.

Below is a list of important definitions/ common questions which we regularly receive with respect to this topic.


PCA= This stands for Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol.


Novice Range PCA= This offence is committed by a person who is the holder of either a learner licence or provisional licence who drives a motor vehicle on a public road with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.000 and not higher than 0.019.

 Special Range PCA= This offence is committed by a special category driver who drives a motor vehicle on a public road with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.020 but not higher than 0.049. The special range applies to drivers who hold a particular class of licence subjecting them to a blood alcohol limit of 0.02 such as bus and taxi drivers.


Low Range PCA= The offence of low Range PCA is committed by a person who drives a motor vehicle on a public road with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.050 but not higher than 0.079.


Mid Range PCA= The offence of mid range PCA is committed by a person who drives a motor vehicle on a public road with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.080 but not higher than 0.149.


High Range PCA= The offence of high range PCA is committed by a person who drives a motor vehicle on a public road with a blood alcohol concentration of at least 0.150 and above.


Refuse Breath Analysis= The offence of refuse breath analysis is committed by a person who was the driver of a motor vehicle on a public road and when required to submit to breath analysis either refuses or fails to provide a sufficient sample. It is not a defence to refuse breath analysis on the basis that you wanted to seek legal advice before providing a sample for breath analysis.


Driving Under the Influence= Unlike the offence of driving with the Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol no breath analysis is undertaken in the offence of driving under the influence. Driving under the influence is generally proven by the observations of police or witnesses and the surrounding circumstances, such as the person’s breath smelt of intoxicating liquor, slurred speech, unsteady on their feet or a car accident.


Wilfully Alter Blood Concentration

This offence is committed by a person who purposely consumes more of a substance to alter the level of alcohol in their blood or breath between the time of the alleged offence and the time of testing. For example, a person who is involved in a motor vehicle crash and while waiting for police to arrive, consumes an alcoholic beverage.



Road or Road Related Area

Drink driving is an offence if it occurs on a road or road related area. This includes roads, public footpaths, cycle lanes, public car parks, or any area that is not a road but is open to or used by the public for driving, riding or parking vehicles



*This article correctly reflects the Laws of NSW as at 16th May 2022.


*It should be noted that this page or any other pages on our website (including any other social media platforms for Nicopoulos Sabbagh Lawyers) are not to be considered as a substitute for legal advice or even other professional advice. It should also be noted that accessing of this information from this website does not create a client-lawyer relationship. 



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