Drug driving offences can be difficult to follow, especially if you’re new to the criminal and legal system. However, you can avoid potential costly legal issues if you know your rights and the Transport Operations Road Use Management Act 1995 (Qld). First, it is essential to understand that taking recreational or prescription drugs and driving can create dangerous situations on the road for you and others.
Authorities may test you for drugs at any time. Roadside drug testing by Police is done through a saliva test, typically taking 3-5 minutes to process. It examines active ingredients in specific illegal drugs. It can be affected by the type of drug taken, quantity and quality, frequency of drug use, and time-lapsed since initial ingestion. A second test will be issued & sent for additional examination if the saliva test comes back positive and relevant drugs are caught. You may also need a blood test if the saliva screenings fail.
Drug Driving Offences
In Australia, it is against the law to drive with the existence of any illegal drug in your system. Penalties can include hefty fines, licence suspension, licence disqualification & imprisonment. The roadside drug test takes a saliva sample and can detect the presence of:
- Ecstasy or MDMA
- Methamphetamine (ice or speed)
If the test confirms the presence of any of the illegal drugs, you will be charged with a drug driving offence.
If you ingest prescription or over-the-counter medications, you must follow medical advice and the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are concerned about driving safely while taking specific medication, discuss it with your doctor.
What Is Driving Under The Influence or DUI?
You can be charged with driving under the Influence (DUI) if you are driving while affected by illegal or prescription drugs or alcohol. Drugs are detected through saliva, blood and urine tests which are ordered if a police officer has reasonable suspicion that any driver is under the influence of a drug or drugs. If you’re issued with an alcohol interlock order, the disqualification period may be different from what is in this table.
What Are The Penalties Of Drug Driving Offence?
Drug driving is equivalent to driving under the influence of alcohol, with one significant exception. Relevant drugs are illegal regardless of the amount you have in your system. This zero-tolerance policy demands two positive drug tests – either saliva or blood – to come into effect.
Suppose you test positive for a relevant drug or ingest other prescribed medications or alcohol consumption over the legal limit after being suspected of driving under the drug influence. In that case, your license will be automatically suspended. The length of this licence suspension depends on the severity of the offence. These penalties for driving with a relevant drug in your system include:
- Automatic loss of license or disqualification from driving for over 1 and 9 months.
- Fine of up to $1,868
- Maximum term of imprisonment of upto 3 months
Penalties for under the influence drug include:
- Loss of driving license for up to 6 months
- Fine of up to $3,736
- Maximum prison term of 9 months
Additional things to know about drug driving
Prescription drugs: Prescribed drugs and even those bought at the pharmacy over the counter are illegal to have in your body while driving if any of those impair your ability to operate a vehicle. Police are compelled to run a test on you for this if they suspect a driver of being under the drug influence.
Repeat driving offence: There are increased penalties if you are charged with a repeat drug driving offence. You become a repeat offender if you have been convicted of a drug-driving charge in the past 5 years. The possible penalties for repeat driving offences include loss of license for up to 2 years, a fine of more than $8,000, & imprisonment for an undecided period of time decided by the court.
Refusing the test: If you refuse to provide a saliva specimen for testing, you may get fined up to $5,338 or sentenced to a maximum of 6 months in prison. Additionally, you may also be accountable for the same penalties as you would if you were being charged with the original offence. There are many things to be aware of when it comes to drug driving offences. Hence, the team of Platinum Lawyers is here to help you out with the appropriate legal advice.
How Do I Apply To Get My Licence Back After The Disqualification Removal Order?
If you have been offence-free for 2 years (4 years in some cases), then you may be qualified to write an application for any outstanding disqualifications to be removed. Please note that this does not apply in cases involving serious motor offences under the Crimes Act, such as murder, predatory driving, manslaughter, police pursuits, causing grievous bodily harm or death, and several other offences. However, if you have been driving offence free in the last two years and you have a further period of disqualification yet to run, then you should fill out an application to the RMS with a copy of your traffic record. You will receive an answer from them, probably within a month & if you are eligible, a box will be ticked demonstrating such in the reply form.
When you have obtained the response and would like to engage a lawyer to act for you, call Platinum Lawyers, who will advise you on your next move to take the case to court & apply to have your disqualification removed.
How Do I Get My Licence Back After The Suspension?
In Sydney or Paramatta, you can appeal the licence suspension or request a review of the penalty. Nevertheless, you must file your appeal within 28 days from the date you were first suspended. Some parts of the process of appealing the suspension involve:
- Request a review of a penalty notice.
- Appeal a licence or registration decision.
- Request a penalty notice be heard in court.
- Apply for a good behaviour period.
- Request a driving record.
- Go to court.
Contact Us For Appropriate Legal Advice
Our lawyers at Platinum Lawyers can also advise you about the bonuses associated with having your case dealt with at a boutique firm versus a top-tier lawyer firm as they speak from experience. What sets Platinum Lawyers apart? We are a service-based & a client-focused firm where our lawyers take excellent care to build a relationship with all our clients. We provide one-on-one service, & we try to understand your case and then work with you to churn out the premium results. Platinum Lawyers know from experience that every client needs different legal advice at different stages in their life, especially in drug driving scenarios. So, we aim to build a relationship with all our clients and fulfil their legal needs.
Call (02) 8084 2764 for more information.