A drug driving charge involves being charged with driving under the influence of drugs or driving with the presence of a certain drug in oral fluid, blood or urine.
Being charged with drug driving can be a distressing experience that can have a lasting negative impact on your life. To minimise the effects of such a charge, it’s best to get help from an experienced drug lawyer.
Our experienced LY Lawyers have been successful in greatly reducing the penalties of drug driving charges and, in many cases, have been able to help clients receive a ‘Section 10’.
What are the drug driving penalties in NSW?
Penalties for drug driving can vary and are dependent on your previous convictions. For a first-time drug driving offence, where traces of an illicit drug is found in urine, blood or oral fluid, the maximum fine is $1,100 with an automatic disqualification period of 6 months.
A second offence can result in a $2,200 fine and an automatic disqualification of 12 months.
It’s important to remember that these are only the maximum penalties and with an experienced drug lawyer the charges can be significantly reduced. Our lawyers often persuade the magistrate to lower the disqualification periods to the minimum of 3 months for first time offenders and 6 months for second time offenders.
Additionally, our lawyers have had success in previous cases, where a ‘Section 10’ has been granted. A ‘Section 10’, no matter the seriousness of the drug driving charge, allows the court to dismiss the charge. Under a ‘Section 10’ there is no criminal conviction recorded, no fine and no disqualification.
What’s involved in a drug driving charge?
Unless you have been involved in an accident, or have been driving erratically, the most likely way you will be charged with drug driving is as a result of an MDT, or Mobile Drug Test.
MDT’s are similar to Random Breath Tests. You will be stopped by police, asked for your licence and asked to complete a drug test. The test involves you scraping your tongue with a stick like device that detects drugs in your saliva. This device usually only takes 8 minutes to complete the test. It can primarily detect the drugs known as Ecstasy, Cannabis and Methamphetamine.
If your test returns a positive result, you will be taken to the roadside mobile testing van or back to a police station where you will provide a saliva test. This test, which takes up to 20 minutes, is considered to be more accurate at determining the levels of substances in your body. If a positive reading is returned, the samples are sent for laboratory analysis.
Pleading in court
Your matter will be heard in the local court where you will have the option to plead guilty or not guilty. The court system can be difficult to navigate so if you’re looking to avoid a criminal conviction or receive the minimum charge it’s recommended that you seek professional legal advice.
To be found guilty of a drug driving charge, the court must find that you were driving under the influence, or with the presence of drugs in your system beyond reasonable doubt.
You may wish to plead not guilty if you feel the case against you isn’t correct. Sometimes, there can be issues with the prosecution’s case, which our lawyers are experienced in finding and raising in court. Raising these problems is often the best way to fight a charge.
A common example is proving that police conducted the test illegally. When conducting drug tests, police must follow certain rules and procedures and if they’re found not to have done so, the case may be dismissed and you will be found not guilty.
If you don’t believe that you can successfully fight the charges, pleading guilty from the outset will usually give you the best results such as a lesser sentencing. When pleading guilty, it’s important to remember the maximum penalties you are facing.
Ultimately, the penalty you receive will depend on your individual case and circumstances. However, pleading guilty at an early opportunity can often increase your chance of receiving the minimum penalties and even a ‘Section 10’.
LY Lawyers are amongst the top criminal lawyers in NSW and have achieved amazing results for a range of drug driving charges, both minor and serious. Whatever situation you find yourself in, it’s likely someone from our experienced team has successfully defended a similar case.