Drug Driving FAQs
On this page:
·Are the Drug Driving Laws Fair?
·Can I Avoid A Conviction for Drug Driving?
·Can I Be Prosecuted Even If The Drugs Did Not Affect My Driving?
·If I Used Drugs Days Ago Will I Fail the Lick Test?
·If You Pass The Second Test Can You Still Be Prosecuted?
·So I Can Get A Criminal Record For Having Drugs In My Blood – Though Not Affected?
·What If Police Found Drugs In My Car In My Possession?
·What are the Penalties for Drug Driving?
·What is the Lick Test?
Are the Drug Driving Laws Fair?
This law will subject many people to criminal prosecution. Our laws give a green light to heroin injecting in sanctioned rooms at Kings Cross but criminalize people who use drugs but are not at all affected when driving. Some say this law is to identify drug users in the community.
Children caught in possession of small quantities of cannabis can receive a caution – but not if they smoked cannabis say 2 weeks ago and drove on P plates.
Adults caught with small quantities of cannabis can receive a Criminal Infringement Notice instead of being prosecuted in a court. These laws penalize people for past drug use.
Nobody could possibly condone the use of a motor vehicle when under the influence of a drug – but this law is not concerned with a person being under the influence – those laws already exist (DUI).
Can I Avoid A Conviction for Drug Driving?
Yes. It is possible. The normal factors that allow a Magistrate to exercise discretion not to record a conviction apply to this offence. You should consult our accredited criminal law specialist for advice to try and protect your licence, your career and your future.
Can I Be Prosecuted Even If The Drugs Did Not Affect My Driving?
Yes. The legislation is aimed at people who drive with a drug in their system – even if it is not affecting their driving in any way. If you are driving under the influence of a drug, you risk prosecution for DUI or driving under the influence which carries serious penalties.
If I Used Drugs Days Ago Will I Fail the Lick Test?
Possibly. Some drugs stay in your body longer than other drugs. For example, cannabis can remain in your system for weeks and have no effect at all on your driving skills such a long time later if you are caught driving – however if the drug is detected by a positive lick test, you risk a criminal record, disqualification and a fine.
Another example - we have acted for people that have taken amphetamine 4 and 5 days prior to being random drug tested by lick test at the side of the road – and failed the tests.
If You Pass The Second Test Can You Still Be Prosecuted?
Yes. You only get to do the second test if you fail the lick test. If you pass the second test, the oral fluid will still be analyzed - after all, the first test indicated the presence of a drug. If the analysis indicates the presence of a drug, you will be prosecuted and face an automatic disqualification period of 6 months.
So I Can Get A Criminal Record For Having Drugs In My Blood – Though Not Affected?
Yes. The drug driving laws will make a lot of people criminals by getting convicted for drug driving. You do not have to be under the influence of the drug when driving – merely it has to be in your blood. You may have used cannabis a week or more before the ‘lick’ test and could lose your licence and get a criminal record. Of course using prohibited drugs is an offence. Now there are greater means of detecting those that use drugs. Laws for driving whilst under the influence of a drug have been around for years.
What If Police Found Drugs In My Car In My Possession?
Maintain your right to silence – say nothing – contact us immediately!
What are the Penalties for Drug Driving?
An automatic disqualification period of 6 months which can be reduced to not less than 3 months unless you are let off altogether. The fine is up to $1,100. A conviction will result in a criminal record.
If it is your second ‘major’ offence within 5 years, you face an automatic disqualification period of 12 months which can be reduced to not less than 6 months unless you are let off altogether. The fine is up to $2,200.
A major offence does not mean that it has to be the same previous offence. You can have a low range drink driving and then within 5 years be prosecuted for drug driving. The higher penalties will apply.
What is the Lick Test?
The lick test is random drug testing at the side of the road just like random breath testing (RBT). It involves licking a pad that will react if a prohibited drug is detected. If you fail the roadside test, you will be asked to take a further test. If you fail that test, you will be suspended immediately and your oral fluid sent for analysis. If you pass that test, a sample of your oral fluid will be saved and stored and sent for analysis but you will not be suspended on the spot.
If you need advice from a criminal defence lawyer, contact one of our criminal law specialists immediately at either our Sydney or our Parramatta offices. Call 1800 NOT GUILTY or fill in our contact form on this page and arrange a free conference with a solicitor today. Contact our specialists right now! 24-hour legal advice 7 days a week.
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