Offence of High Range PCA in NSW

High Range PCA is a serious offence contrary to section 110(5) Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) which carries a maximum penalty of 18 months imprisonment and/or fines of up to $3,300.00 for a first offence or 24 months imprisonment and/or fines of up to $5,500.00 for second or subsequent offences. 

According to Criminal Lawyers Parramatta | AMA Legal, “High range prescribed concentration of alcohol” means a concentration of 0.15 grams or more of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood.

Section 110(5) Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) creates three separate offences: 

  1. Driving a motor vehicle with a high range PCA, 
  2. Occupying the driving seat of a motor vehicle and attempting to drive the vehicle with a high range PCA, and 
  3. Occupying the seat next to a learner driver with high range PCA while the learner driver is driving the vehicle.  

Division 2, Schedule 3 Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) empowers Police officers to require a person to submit to a breath test in accordance with the officer’s direction in circumstances 1, 2 or 3 above. 

Criminal Lawyers Parramatta | AMA Legal explain that if a person fails a breath test and depending on the PCA reading and the person’s driver licence type, the Police may arrest the person without a warrant and take them to a Police station for the purposes of carrying out a breath analysis. At the Police station, the Police officer may require the person to submit to a breath analysis. 

If the breath analysis returns a PCA reading of more than 0.15 then the Police will issue the person with a Court attendance notice charging them and issue an immediate licence suspension notice.

The Accused must attend Court on the date nominated on the Court attendance notice and have the matter dealt with according to law. 

Disqualification and interlock periods for high range PCA

If the Local Court convicts the person, then the Court must also disqualify the person’s driving licence and impose an interlock period. The following periods apply: 

Minimum Disqualification period Max Disqualification period Interlock period
High range PCA (first offence) 6 months 9 months 24 months
High range PCA (second or subsequent offence) 9 months 12 months 48 months


If the Court deals with the offence via a non-conviction, the disqualification and interlock period will not be imposed. 

According to Criminal defence lawyers Parramatta, AMA Legal, out of the 782 high range PCA matters in which the Court passed sentence between October 2019 to September 2023, the Local Court only dealt with 11 offenders via a non-conviction.  

The offence is regarded as an extremely serious by the Courts due to its prevalence and potential danger it poses to the all road users. 

If facing drink driving charges, Criminal Solicitors Parramatta, AMA legal suggest that the accused should consider retaining a lawyer and consider:  

  • The lawyer’s expertise, 
  • The lawyer’s reputation,
  • The lawyer’s experience, 
  • The lawyer’s fees, 
  • The lawyer’s availability.