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Mid-Range Drink Driving

A mid-range, or middle range PCA as provided by Road Transport Act 2013, is next to High Range PCA insofar as the blood alcohol concentration (PCA) is concerned. Under Section 108 of Roads Transport Act 2013, "middle range prescribed concentration of alcohol" means a concentration of 0.08 grams or more, but less than 0.15 grams, of alcohol in 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood.

Beyond low-level offences (0.05-0.07 BAC), mid-range offenders (0.08-0.149 BAC) will be forced to fit an alcohol interlock in their cars. High-risk, repeat offenders face vehicle impound or licence plate confiscation.

In drink-driving offences, it is necessary to know the level of alcohol that is present in the offender’s breath or blood. It is important because you might be facing a wrong charge considering the fact that the law specifically prescribes a certain alcohol level present in the person to fall into one of the categories of drink driving offences.

Not all drink-driving offences will fall to middle range PCA. This is because the law provides five types or categories of drink-driving offences with a corresponding requirement of alcohol level. One may be charged either for novice range PCA, special range PCA, low range PCA, middle range PCA, or high range PCA. Depending on the level of alcohol present in the offender’s breath or blood after breath analysis, a proper charge may be filed by the police officer.
 

Acts not allowed

Like in any other drink-driving offences, the law prohibits a person from driving if there is present in the person’s breath or blood the middle range PCA. Not only that, but a person is also not allowed to occupy the driver’s seat of a motor vehicle and attempt to put the motor vehicle in motion while there is present in his breath or blood the middle range PCA. Thus, a mere attempt to put the motor vehicle in motion while occupying the driver’s seat already constitutes the offence of middle range PCA. Lastly, a person whose alcohol level constitutes middle range PCA is not allowed to occupy the seat in a motor vehicle next to a learner driver who is driving the vehicle.

Mid-range PCA (blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 to less than 0.15)

Penalties

First offence

Second or subsequent offence

Maximum court-imposed fine

$2,200

$3,300

Maximum prison term

9 months

12 months

Minimum disqualification

6 months

12 months

Maximum disqualification

Unlimited

Unlimited

Automatic disqualification (disqualification period that applies in the absence of a specific court order)

12 months

3 years

Immediate licence suspension

Yes

Yes

Subject to an alcohol interlock order

Yes

Ye

Defending a mid range drink driving offence is possible

Through the use of an experienced drink driving lawyer there are ways of reducing a mid range drink driving charge to a low range drink driving charge or even have the charge reduced further in specific circumstances. One way is to provide proof that you were not the actual driver when the motor vehicle was stopped. It is surprising how a police officer is not always sure who the driver is if several people get out of the car when it has been stopped. Another doubtful piece of evidence lodged by a police officer is the validity of the breath analysis. It must be taken within two hours of apprehending the driver otherwise it can be deemed invalid.

At times, the Police PCA reading is found to be wrong and when readings are border line, a charge can be reduced. A report from a qualified pharmacologist is the only way that the validity of a reading can be determined. While evaluating the case the pharmacologist will want to know your age, weight, height and gender, Also details of your body build will be used too. An important consideration when analysing a breath test is whether you are taking any prescription or non-prescription drugs. Last, but not least, is the true amount of alcohol that was consumed on the day the offence allegedly took place.

 If you have been charged with a traffic offence or are under Police investigation, it is important that you seek legal advice. Contact our Criminal lawyers .

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