Drink Driving & The Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol

Drink Driving & The Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol

Drink Driving & The Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol

What is Driving with a Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol?

Driving with a Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (‘PCA’) is colloquially known as ‘Drink Driving’. Many clients often confuse a ‘PCA’ charge with the charge of Driving Under the Influence (‘DUI’), which is a completely different charge.

Under current South Australian law, Section 47B of the Road Traffic Act 1961, Police can charge a person who drives a motor vehicle or attempts to put a motor vehicle into motion if their blood alcohol content exceeds the prescribed limit.

How does it all work?

PCA charges are often complicated by nature, which is why we advise seeking professional advice. To briefly summarise, each alcoholic drink (and in some cases food/mouthwash containing alcohol) will increase an individual’s alcohol content within their bloodstream. It is difficult to advise generally how much alcohol will alter your blood concentration as there are a number of external considerations such as the size and alcohol tolerance of the individual, if they’re using any prescribed medication that might influence the way alcohol reacts and if they have had anything to eat.

A Police officer can subject you to a breath analysis test (depicted above) if they believe you are driving or attempting to put a vehicle in motion. The breath analysis machine will measure how much alcohol is in your breath. Blood travels through your lungs as the main method of oxygen supply and this is how police can establish a reading. The more alcohol in your breath and blood will result in an expediential higher reading. South Australian Parliament has prescribed three ‘categories’ (for full licence holders – not provisional, learners or probational licences) which relate to a person’s alcohol content:

Category 1 0.05 – 0.08
Category 2 0.08 – 0.15
Category 3 0.15 <

What Penalties are attached to this offending?

The courts primarily deal with PCA offences by a penalty of a fine, recording a conviction and disqualifying the individual from holding or obtaining a drivers licence for a period of time.

Each category has its own respective penalties related to disqualification and fines. The following table relates to first-time offenders with no prior history of drink or drug driving within the last five (5) years only.

Category 1 (0.05 – 0.08) Disqualification: Not less than 3 months
Category 2 (0.08 – 0.15) Disqualification: Not less than 6 months
$900.00 – $1,300.00
Category 3 (0.15 <) Disqualification: Not less than 12 Months
$1,100.00 – $1,600.00

Please be aware if you are a repeat offender within the prescribed period penalties by way of fine and disqualification will increase exponentially. Please call our office for further advice on 8311 3111.


How can Woods & Co Lawyers help me?

Woods & Co Lawyers deal with this type of charge on a daily basis. We have extensive experience and knowledge related to the police procedure required when undertaking a test, the court process and particular submissions favorable to each and every Magistrate. We are able to examine your case on its own merits for any applicable defence and if you intend to plead guilty we will strive towards receiving the minimum penalties in respect of your matter.