Special Range Drink Driving Penalties Guide in NSW


We all know not to drink and drive. It can result in catastrophic consequences on innocent road user.

Just over the weekend, NSW police have charged 260 people for drink driving in a citywide operation.

NSW Police have said, a further 119 traffic charges were issued, in addition to over 1900 traffic infringements.

Police, as part of the citywide operation centred their attention on the M1, M2, M4, M5, M7 and Princes Highway. They conducted over 75,000 breath tests on Friday and Saturday from 9pm – 4am.

It is reported that about 1-hour before that operation concluded, 20-year-old Jacob Fuller, the son of our state’s Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has been charged for special-range drink driving while his licence was suspended.

About 3am Sunday morning, Fuller was allegedly driving while on a suspended Provisional licence in Waterfall, Sutherland Shire when he was approached by police who were conducted RBT’s on Princes Highway.

“After returning a positive roadside reading, the driver was subject to a breath analysis which allegedly returned a reading of 0.031”, a spokeswoman said to news.com.au.

“subsequent checks of the man’s licence revealed it was currently suspended.”

Superintendent Greg Rolph, Traffic and Highway Patrol boss is reported saying, “We see time and time again that driving under the influence impairs your decisions. Don’t add to our road toll by putting yourself or another innocent party at risk because of a momentary lapse in the decision-making process”.

Fuller was issued with a Court Attendance Notice requiring him to appear on 17 October at the Sutherland Local Court to face the charge.

Special Range Drink Driving Penalties Guide in NSW

In NSW it is prohibited for a driver who is an L, P or on an interlock driver licence holder to drive a vehicle with a PCA reading of 0.02 but under 0.05g in every 210 litre of breath of 100 ml of blood under section 110(2) Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW).

Currently, if you are a first time special-range drink driver, police can issue an on-the-spot fine of $561 with an immediate police licence suspension of $561.

This results in no requirement to appear in court. The case is put to an end upon payment of the infringement fine without a criminal conviction against your name.

To avoid the suspension period however, you may either lodge an appeal against the police suspension, and/or court-elect the infringement notice.

By court-electing, you will be required to appear in court where a Local Court Magistrate has the discretion to not record a conviction against your name, in which case you avoid the suspension, disqualification and fine. This will occur if the Magistrate imposes a non-conviction penalty as a sentence (section 10 or CRO) in the event you either plead guilty or are found guilty in court.

The Court alternatively has the option instead to impose a criminal conviction on you, which will result in an automatic licence disqualification of 6-months (or minimum 3-months at the Magistrate’s discretion), in addition to a fine which can go up to $2,200.

Where trying to go for a section 10 non-conviction outcome after pleading guilty to a drink driving offence, it is a good idea to get advice from an experienced drink driving lawyer.

Our special-range special-range drink driving lawyers in Sydney appear across all courts with substantial experience in drink driving laws. We provide fixed fees and a free consultation.


Special Range Drink Driving Penalties for Second or Subsequent Offenders in NSW

Where this is your second or subsequent special-range drink driving offence in NSW, you will be required to appear in court to face a Local Court Magistrate.

Upon pleading guilty or being found guilty in court, the Court can impose the following maximum penalties:

  • Maximum fine of $3,300.
  • Compulsory licence disqualification period of either 1-month or up to 3-months with a minimum interlock period of 1-year under the mandatory interlock program.

The interlock program is mandatory, requiring you to have the interlock device installed in the vehicle, after which time the device will only allow the vehicle to start if there is a zero alcohol reading provided, after it is blown into by you (interlock period).

If you’re exempt from the mandatory interlock program, then the automatic disqualification period will be 1-year or minimum of 6-months that the court can impose.

See our page on how to be exempt from the mandatory interlock program.

As outlined earlier, you will avoid these penalties as a second or subsequent offender of drink driving if upon pleading guilty you receive a non-conviction penalty as a sentence by the court.

What is a ‘second or subsequent’ offence? You will be a second or subsequent drink driving offender if you have been convicted of another drink driving offence (or other major offence) within the last 5-years from the time you get convicted for the current drink driving offence in court.

Who do the special range drink driving penalties apply to? These special range drink driving penalties apply only to the following:

  • L plate drivers
  • P plate drivers
  • Drivers on the interlock program
  • Drivers who have had their licence refused, cancelled or suspended
  • Drivers who are disqualified

If you wish to discuss this topic further, our office is available 24/7 on (02) 8606 2218 to arrange a free first consultation with a drink driving lawyer.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.


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