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Novice Range PCA

If you’ve just been charged with Novice Range drink driving then you’re bound to have a lot of questions. Read on for an overview of Novice Range PCA or feel free to contact us if you’d rather talk to a dedicated traffic lawyer for personalised advice.

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What is Novice Range PCA?

A learner, provisional licence holder or unlicenced driver who drives with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of between 0.00 and 0.019 is guilty of Novice Range PCA.

What if I can’t sit off the road for 3 months?

For first offences of Novice Range PCA the police tend to issue Infringement Notices and Notices of Immediate Suspension forbidding you from driving for 3 months.

The Infringement Notice gives you a set fine amount and paying it puts the offence on your traffic record but does not give you a criminal record. Unless you are not guilty, then paying the fine is generally the easiest and least risky way of dealing with it.

Chances are that your biggest concern is whether you can get your licence back before the 3 month period ends.

There are two ways to achieve this:

Contact us to discuss how we can get you back in the driver’s seat as soon as possible.

Court Attendance Notice

Sometimes police issue Court Attendance Notices (CANs), instead of issuing an Infringement Notice and Notices of Suspension for offences of Novice Range PCA.

If you have a CAN for an offence of Novice Range PCA then instead of simply paying a fine, you will have to go to court on the date listed on your Notice.

What if I’m not guilty?

There are a number of defences that might be available to you. Please contact us to discuss how these might apply to you.

What happens if I plead guilty to Novice Range drink driving?

The Court will decide what (if any) penalty to impose.

Don’t worry that if you plead guilty the magistrate won’t hear your side of the story.

During the sentencing proceedings the magistrate will give your lawyer the chance to explain what happened, what type of person you are and the impact that the case and any penalty will have on you. The magistrate will consider all of those things when deciding what penalty to impose.

With the right preparation you can reduce the penalties that the magistrate would otherwise impose.

Read on for more about what to expect at your sentence hearing.

What are the possible penalties?

Novice Range PCA – First offence

Section 10 dismissal

  • without conviction,
  • without a fine, and
  • without a disqualification period.
or

Conviction

  • with a fine of up to $2,200, and
  • with an automatic disqualification period of 6 months that can be reduced to 3 months.

Novice Range PCA – Second or subsequent offence in 5 years

Section 10 dismissal

  • without conviction,
  • without a fine, and
  • without a disqualification period.
or

Conviction

  • with a fine of up to $3,300,
  • with a disqualification period of 1 to 3 months,
  • followed by participation in the interlock program for a minimum period of 12 months that can be increased as the Court sees fit.

Novice Range drink driving cases present a challenge for the sentencing magistrate. On the one hand, the BAC reading is very low, which would normally earn leniency. On the other hand, the offender is usually a relatively new driver and is meant to have a BAC of zero. These factors weigh against leniency.

In deciding a penalty, the magistrate will weigh up the unique circumstances in each case. They will think about how high the BAC reading was, how soon the offender drove after drinking alcohol, the manner of driving and their personal circumstances.

In some cases, the magistrate will agree not to record a conviction or impose any punishment. This is known as a section 10, or conditional release order without conviction.

Where a magistrate decides to convict a person, the usual penalty is a fine and licence disqualification.

If a driver has committed another alcohol related offence within the last 5 years, they will have to participate in the Alcohol Interlock Program.

Can I get a section 10 for Novice Range drink driving?

Novice Range PCA matters are regularly dismissed under section 10.

A section 10 is an order where the magistrate finds you guilty of the offence, but releases you without a criminal conviction or further punishment. Any operating police licence suspension is also lifted.

If the magistrate dismisses your matter under section 10 you may be required to enter into a conditional release order. This is a good behaviour bond, or promise to the Court, that you will not commit any other offences for a period of time.

Read more about section 10

For a personalised assessment of your chances of receiving a section 10 contact us.

Can I get my licence back pending court?

If the police suspended your licence when they charged you then you will not be able to drive for the period listed on your Notice of Suspension.

The only way to get your licence back before the court finalises your case is to successfully appeal the police suspension.

If you need your driver’s licence, please contact us for advice about whether you may qualify to have your licence returned to you.

Will I get a criminal record for Novice Range PCA?

If the Court convicts you for driving with a Novice Range PCA you will get a criminal conviction and criminal record.

There are two ways to avoid this:

  • Be found not guilty.
  • Be found guilty, but without a conviction being recorded (section 10).

You will not get a criminal record if you pay an Infringement Notice for Novice Range PCA.

What happens on my first court date?

Often there is not much time between now and your first court date. There is no need to be concerned about this, as the Court will normally allow you more time to prepare.

On the first court date, the magistrate will ask what you are planning to do with your case. You can do one of three things: 

  • Enter a plea of ‘guilty’ and either ask that the magistrate give you a penalty that day or ask for more time to prepare.
  • Enter a plea of ‘not guilty’ and your matter will be adjourned to a later date for hearing.
  • Ask for an adjournment to get some legal advice.
Novice Range PCA Legislation

The offence of Novice Range PCA is contained in:

  • section 110(1)(a) of the Road Transport Act 2013
  • Section 110(1)(b) of the Road Transport Act 2013

The Law Part codes are:

  • Law Part Code 79144 – Novice driver drive with novice range PCA – 1st off
  • Law Part Code 79145 – Novice driver drive with novice range PCA – 2nd+off
  • Law Part Code 79147 – Novice driver attempt to drive with novice range PCA – 1st off
  • Law Part Code 79146 – Novice driver attempt to drive with novice range PCA – 2nd+off

The standard descriptions on a Court Attendance Notice are:

  • Novice driver drive motor vehicle with novice range PCA – first offence
  • Novice driver drive motor vehicle with novice range PCA – prior offence
  • Novice driver attempt drive with novice range PCA – first offence
  • Novice driver attempt drive with novice range PCA – prior offence

Ainsley Law

Sydney
Level 1, 299 Elizabeth Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Parramatta
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Parramatta NSW 2150

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