Will You Lose Your Licence Over A Drink Driving Charge?

When you get charged with drink driving (or the related charge of "Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol" known as PCA), one of the first questions that many people ask is whether they will lose their licence. The answer depends on a number of factors.

Level of intoxication

The law has a number of categories of offence, depending on how high your blood alcohol contrentation (BAC) was when you were pulled over. The charge levels on a standard licence are high range PCA (over 0.15 BAC), mid range PCA (between 0.08 and 0.15 BAC); low range PCA (between 0.05 and 0.08 BAC).

If you are only slightly over the limit (low range PCA) you are less likely to lose your licence than if you are in the highest level of intoxication, and the court has the most discretion in the low range PCA offense. An experienced traffic lawyer can help record your offense as a lower level by fighting inconsistencies in the testing methodology.

Level of licence

Special range PCA applies to drivers on their provisional licence and happens if you record a BAC level between 0.02 and 0.05. For drivers on their learners' licence, there is no acceptable level of blood alcohol. A novice offense is recorded for reading between 0.00 and 0.02 BAC. You are much more likely to lose your licence if found drink driving under either licence category compared to a standard licence bearer, as your inexperience makes drink driving more risky for yourself and other road users.

Other traffic offenses you have committed

If you are being charged concurrently with other driving offenses such as dangerous driving, you are more likely to lose your licence, as you pose a risk to yourself and other users. Equally, if you have a history of drink driving offenses, you are more likely to lose your licence, as well as being more likely to have your vehicle fitted with a compulsory alcohol interlock device when you regain your licence.

Mitigating circumstances

If you have mitigating circumstances, such as needing a licence for work or to support a disabled family member the judge will consider these when making their decision. An experienced traffic lawyer can help you build a case for gaining an exceptional licence to allow you to still meet your commitments.

If you have a drink driving charge you should contact an experienced traffic lawyer who can advise you on your best course of action, and help maximise your chance of keeping your licence.