Drug Driving- What to expect

Drug driving -What to expect 

For years we have all been told of the dangers of getting behind the wheel after having consumed alcohol, to the point where drink driving is now seen as reckless and socially unacceptable. However in light of recent statistics it would appear that drug driving is the latest problem facing Australian roads.

What do the statistics say?

The statistics reveal drug driving as a growing problem on our roads.

Between 2010 and 2013 over 1000 people were convicted of driving under the influence of drugs. Furthermore 16% of all road deaths in NSW in 2013 have been attributed to drivers under the influence of drugs. In some parts of NSW up to 40% of drivers tested had some form of drug in their system.

These statistics have meant that police are now specifically targeting drug driving more then ever before. With stricter laws placed around drug driving then drink driving, it appears that the Police are very much clamping down on those that consume drugs and drive. The number of arrest will surely continue to increase, as Police are given more resources to test drivers randomly, as they do now with drink driving RBTs.

What is the law in regards to drug driving?

For the offence of “driving with illicit drug present in blood”

Currently it is against the law to have any amount of illicit drugs in your system when driving a vehicle. According to the Road and Transport Act it is against the law to have any amount of illicit drugs in your system when:

  1. Behind the wheel of a vehicle
  2. When sitting in the drivers seat of a vehicle and attempting to start the car
  3. Supervising a learner driver.

What is the penalty for “driving with illicit drug present in blood”?

The maximum penalty for driving with illicit drug present in blood is a fine of $1100, automatic disqualification of licence (upon conviction) of 6 months, with a minimum of 3 months.

Due to the fact that drugs can stay in a persons system and can still be detected by the police days after use and the fact that there is zero tolerance on drug driving in NSW, it is becoming increasingly likely that a person will be found to be driving with an illicit drug present in their blood. Even days after consuming the drug!

However, if it is your first offence, quite often this offence can be dealt with by way of a Section 10. If the court chose to exercise its discretion and deal with you by way of a Section 10, no conviction would be recorded, and you would escape licence disqualification.

For more information on the offence of driving with illicit drug present in blood, click here.

For the offence of “driving under the influence of drugs” 

If you are caught driving under the influence of illicit drugs in NSW the possible penalties can range from fines, to disqualification of your licence or even include jail time. For a first time offence the maximum fine could be up to $2200, whilst a fine for a repeat offence within 5 years of the first offence could be as much as $5500.

The automatic disqualification period is 12 months, with a minimum of 6 months, upon conviction.

For more information relating to driving under the influence of drugs, and to see case studies where we have represented others, click here.


If you have been charged with a drug driving offence or know someone who has, call LY lawyers, immediately for a free consultation on 1300 595 299.