If you have been charged with a drug driving offence, you should contact us for advice. Charges like this are becoming more frequent as there is considerable public discussion about roadside drug testing. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
Driving under the influence
Section 112 of the Road Transport Act 2013 makes it an offence to drive, or occupy the driving seat and attempt to put a vehicle in motion, while under the influence of alcohol “or any other drug”. The maximum penalty is $2,200 and/or 9 months imprisonment for the first offence. In the case of a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty is $3,300 and/or 12 months imprisonment. It is also an offence to supervise an L-plater while under the influence of alcohol “or any other drug”, however the maximum penalty for this is $2,200.
A ‘drug’ includes any prohibited drug under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW) and any other substance that is prescribed as a drug by regulation from time to time.
An offence under Section 112 requires proof that the driver was “under the influence”, meaning that evidence of the presence of a drug is not sufficient to prove the offence. It is necessary that the presence of the drug influenced the driver at the time in question.
In contrast, Section 111 makes it an offence to drive, occupy the driving seat and attempt to put a vehicle in motion, or supervise an L-plater, “while there is present in his or her oral fluid, blood or urine any prescribed illicit drug”. A prescribed illicit drug includes THC (cannabis), methamphetamine (speed), ecstasy and cocaine. It is also an offence to drive, occupy the driving seat and attempt to put a vehicle in motion, or supervise an L-plater with morphine or cocaine present in your blood or urine.
This means that the mere presence, even of trace amounts, of one of these drugs drug will be enough to prove this offence.
Recent changes to the Road Transport Legislation means that if the sample taken by police comes back positive from the laboratory, you will be issued with fine of $561 and 3 month suspension.
You will still have the option of having the offence determined by a Court by either ‘court electing’ or filing an appeal against the police suspension (see ‘Appeal’ section).
The maximum penalty is $1,100 in the case of a first offence or $2,200 in the case of a second or subsequent offence.
There are a number of important points to address at sentence and for this reason it is particularly important to obtain legal advice if you seek to take the matter to Court.
As such, it is important to obtain legal advice to maximise your chances of a good outcome at Court.
If you are seeking legal advice, contact us for a free initial consultation.