Same day local dispatch

New Zealand owned

1-3 year warranty

NZ's breathalyser specialist

PCA Offence: Definition and the Legal Consequences

06 March, 2024

A person holding a bottle of alcohol while driving

In New Zealand, individuals who are driving under the influence of alcohol are committing a PCA offence. PCA stands for prescribed concentration of alcohol. It is the legal limit of alcohol in a person’s breath or blood while operating a motor vehicle. Thus, exceeding this limit can have several consequences. Drivers may incur fines, licence suspensions, and even imprisonment. To help avoid legal charges, individuals monitor their blood alcohol levels during and after alcohol intake.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence that can have severe consequences. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause blurred vision, slurred speech, impaired judgment, and slow down reaction time. As a result, it increases the risk of road accidents and endangers the lives of both the driver and others on the road. This article will provide an overview of what drink driving entails, the legal implications, and how to navigate the legal system if found in this situation.

What is a PCA Offence?

A PCA offence refers to the act of driving a motor vehicle while exceeding the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit. In New Zealand, the limit is at 0.05% BAC or 250 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol per litre of breath for drivers aged 20 years and over. The alcohol limit for drivers under 20 is zero. It means they must not drive with any amount of alcohol in their system.

Police typically administer roadside breath analysis to check if a driver is over the legal limit. They use a portable breathalyser to measure the BAC levels. The electronic breath testing device gives the result in seconds. If the alcohol readings are higher than the prescribed limit, the individual may face immediate consequences.

Drink driving offences are major offences in New Zealand. All drivers are expected to abide by the traffic laws to prevent road accidents and avoid potential penalties. Therefore, it is best to avoid operating a motor vehicle while experiencing any intoxication effects.

Importance of Understanding PCA Laws

  • Understanding PCA laws can help avoid legal charges and save lives due to impaired driving.
  • Knowledge of the law can protect individuals from harming themselves or others on the road.
  • It can help people make informed decisions about when it is safe to drive after consuming alcohol, promoting responsible behaviour.
  • Individuals are made aware of the possibility of facing a prison sentence, automatic disqualification of licence, mandatory interlock programs, and other criminal convictions.
  • PCA laws emphasise the significance of designated drivers or alternative modes of transportation when drinking.
  • Understanding the role of police in enforcing random breath testing laws.

A gavel on a block

Legal Consequences for PCA Offence

The legal consequences for a PCA offence can vary depending on the severity of the situation. There are different levels of drink driving charges depending on the BAC of the person at the time of driving. The most common levels are low-range PCA (0.05-0.79% BAC), mid-range PCA (0.08-0.149% BAC), and high-range PCA (0.15% BAC or higher. Higher BAC levels can have more severe penalties.

First-time offenders may face on-the-spot penalty notices and a minimum disqualification period of licence. However, subsequent offences may include additional mandatory alcohol education programs, maximum prison terms, and an alcohol interlock program. Moreover, maximum court-imposed fines serve as a deterrent to future offences. The duration of the licence suspension can also vary depending on the offence and if there are previous penalties.

Furthermore, individuals can face harsher penalties if dangerous driving results in bodily harm, injury, or death. Also, combined drink and drug driving offences have heavier fines, a maximum disqualification period, and longer terms of imprisonment. These penalties can significantly impact the ability to work and travel.

Criminal Record Implications

Having a record for a criminal offence can have a significant and long-lasting impact on the individual. A drink driving conviction goes to a permanent driving record. This makes it challenging to secure certain jobs that require driving. It can also affect travel plans, as some countries may deny individuals with an aggressive driving history.

Additionally, it may be difficult for people with criminal convictions to obtain insurance, loans, or housing. A criminal record can also affect child custody cases and immigration status. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the laws regarding the different types of drink driving.

A person consulting a lawyer

Defences and Legal Advice for PCA Offence

If someone is facing a PCA offence it is essential to avoid making further violations. Firstly, individuals must cooperate with authorities and submit to evidential testing at a police station. Secondly, they have a right to seek legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in drink driving offences. Criminal law firms can help ensure optimal outcomes, such as avoiding criminal convictions altogether or settling with a lenient sentence.

Some legal experts may challenge the accuracy of the breath analysis. Individuals who are taking prescribed drugs while driving the car may have a defence if they are not aware of the potential effects on their blood alcohol content. Additionally, individuals may be able to argue that their BAC was rising at the time of driving, and they were not over the legal limit while actually operating the vehicle.

Lastly, it is important to show up on the court attendance notice schedule and to be punctual. It is crucial to take the conviction for drink driving seriously. By being informed of the process and possible outcomes, individuals can work towards a positive resolution of their case.

Seeking Legal Advice for PCA Charge

When seeking reliable advice, it is best to consult law firms that specialise in drink driving charges. These firms have the experience with the relevant laws to create defence strategies to minimise the severity of the offences. Furthermore, they can help navigate the legal process even if a person is a first-time or subsequent offender.

Seeking legal advice for a PCA charge can help individuals understand their rights and options moving forward. They can also provide guidance on what to do and things to avoid while under the period of disqualification and mandatory alcohol interlock scheme.

Conclusion

A PCA offence is a criminal offence that carries maximum penalties. It refers to driving with a BAC above the legal drink driving limit. For full licence holders, the limit is 0.05% BAC. Meanwhile, for special drivers (learner, P-plate, and L-plate drivers), the alcohol limit is zero. In roadside breath testing, they must have a zero-alcohol breath sample. Moreover, the penalties depend on the level of prescribed concentration of alcohol at the time of the test.

The legal charges include on-the-spot fines, licence suspension, and a minimum period of imprisonment. Subsequent offenders may incur mandatory alcohol interlock schemes. These consequences can have serious impacts. As such, individuals with a PCA charge should consult a lawyer to navigate the legal process and potentially mitigate the consequences of their offence. By understanding the laws and seeking representation from legal experts, individuals can set a successful defence.

0
    Shopping Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
      Calculate Shipping
      Shipping options will be updated during checkout.
      A person holding a bottle of alcohol while driving

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Driving Restrictions? (P Platers, Zero Tolerance etc)

      Is Device Size Important?

      Is Device Size Important?

      Is Device Size Important?

      Your Perfect Match

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Why upgrade?

      Would you like extra mouthpieces?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Thank you for registering your breathalyser.

      Our system will now automatically send you a notification when your calibration is due.

      You may be interested in…

      Your Perfect Match

      Also Recommended

      Why upgrade?

      Your Perfect Match

      Why upgrade?

      Are you Testing Employees?