Dribbin & Brown Traffic Lawyers regularly represent clients charged with drink driving offences including ExPCA charges. We have multiple offices around Melbourne and Geelong. Our Melbourne drink driving lawyers represent clients charged with drink driving offences most days of the week. Our offices are all in close proximity to the local Magistrates’ Court meaning our lawyers are familiar with the magistrates, prosecutors and court staff, so they know how to get the job done.
It should be noted that this charge, being section 49(1)(b) of the Road Safety Act 1986 (RSA) is often paired with s49(1)(f) of the RSA. It is important to understand that this doesn’t mean that you have to accept both charges, as one of the charges will always be considered an alternative.
There are a number of issues to consider if you have been charged with this offence.
- How many charges are listed?
- Did you drive or were you in control of a motor vehicle with over the permissible prescribed amount of alcohol in your system?
- What was your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), as this will influence the severity of the penalty.
- What were the circumstances?
- Did you ask for a blood test which was refused?
- Do you have similar driving history in the past?
It is an offence against the Road Safety Act 1986 (RSA) section 49(1)(b) to drive a motor vehicle or be in charge of a motor vehicle while the prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) or more than the prescribed concentration of alcohol is present in their blood or breath analysis.
There are procedural requirements that must be satisfied by the police when conducting a preliminary breath test, evidentiary breath test, or blood sample. These include:
- using an approved breath analysing instrument
- confirming 15 minutes has passed since your last drink
- providing you with a signed certificate indicating your BAC
- guaranteeing a registered medical practitioner takes your blood
- ensuring a qualified or approved specialist analyse your blood within 12 months of the sample being taken
Any failure in the above procedural requirements can result in evidence of your BAC being inadmissible, making it difficult for the police to show you are guilty.
Please read below for more information relating to this charge or click on this PDF document that has the relevant parts of the legislation in relation to this ExPCA charge highlighted.
Section 49(1)(b) of the Road Safety Act 1986.
The prosecution must prove that:
- The defendant was driving or in charge of a motor vehicle
- The defendant had a BAC (Blood alcohol concentration) at or above the prescribed level.
The definition of “prescribed concentration of alcohol” is found in s 3(1) RSA, it is:
- a concentration of alcohol present in the blood of a person of 0·05 grams per 100 millilitres of blood; or
- a concentration of alcohol present in the breath of a person of 0·05 grams per 210 litres of exhaled air.
Any more than the above limits is considered exceeding the PCA or ExPCA as it is commonly known.
If found guilty of an Offence Involving Alcohol or Other Drugs: exceeding the prescribed concentration of alcohol the maximum penalties are –
- For a first offence;
- a fine of 20 penalty units.
- For a second offence:
- Where BAC is less than 0.15 a fine of 60 penalty units or a term of imprisonment of 6 months.
- Where BAC is 0.15 or more a fine of 120 penalty units and imprisonment for a term of 12 months
- For a third or subsequent offence:
- Where BAC is less than 0.15: a fine of 120 penalty units and imprisonment for a term of 12 months.
- Where BAC is 0.15 or more a fine of 180 penalty units and imprisonment for a term of 18 months.
Further, pursuant to section 50(1A), if a person is convicted or found guilty of an offence against section 49(1)(b) for Exceeding PCA, the court must disqualify that person’s driver licence or learner permit, and disqualify them from driving for a minimum period as set in Schedule 1 of the RSA. Schedule 1 outlines the disqualification periods for exceeding the PCA on a first or subsequent offence. The periods are between 3 – 48 months, but the time off the road can exceed these amounts, these are just the mandatory minimums.
If found to be driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs you may be required to undergo a behavioural change program. Participation in these programs in determined by VicRoads.
Where will my case be heard?
Driving Offences Involving Alcohol or other Drugs: Exceed PCA cases will be heard will be heard in the Magistrates Court.
Questions to consider
- Do you have a defence?
- Had it been longer than three hours since you last drove a motor vehicle?
- If you are pleading guilty, what can you do to minimise your sentence?
What to do next?
Contact Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers, specialists in drink driving matters.
Preparation is always important to ensure that your case is put in the absolute best light. The best way to ensure you are adequately prepared is to engage our office.
If you have been charged with exceeding the prescribed concentration of alcohol in contravention of s 49(1)(b) of the RSA and if your driver’s licence is important to you, don’t go to court unrepresented. Consider how much it will cost you to be disqualified from driving for months or years. If you have previously committed an offence of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol the penalties will be more severe, you may receive a term of imprisonment along with fines and license disqualification.
For the purposes of disqualification, section 50AA of the RSA deems driving offences for which you were convicted over 10 years ago not to be a prior offence. However, it is still at a Magistrates’ discretion to disqualify you from driving for longer than the mandatory minimum.
The police and the courts take driving offences very seriously to avoid severe penalties you need to be represented; Dribbin & Brown Lawyers are experienced in handling these types of matters. We regularly appear in court to represent people charged with driving offences. If you have been charged, call our office today.