Driving with Prohibited Drugs in System has become a common charge on NSW Roads.

How a Roadside Drug Test Works

The Police will ask the driver to take a saliva test. A plastic scraper will be provided to the driver so that they can drag it over their tongue. Refusal will most probably result in a charge and prosecution for “failing to submit to a roadside drug test.”

driving with prohibited drugs in system

Once a saliva sample is provided  the police will do a quick road side test and tell the driver if it is negative or positive.  The sample will be sent away to a laboratory for checking.  If that sample returns a positive result (regardless of what the result was roadside) then a Court Attendance Notice will be sent in the mail. Sometimes this will be 6-10 weeks later.

A court date will be assigned and this is written on the top of the Court Attendance Notice. This court listing is known as the “first mention  date.” Not turning up for court on the day the Court Attendance Notice is listed  can result in a conviction in the absence of the driver. When you receive a Court Attendance Notice it is a good idea to get in touch with a lawyer prior to the Court Listed date.

What are they testing for?

It is an offence to have Cannabis, Speed/ice, MDMA/ecstasy in your system when driving.Although it is a different offence under the Act, they are also checking for Morphine and Cocaine. It is sufficient that the drug has been detected in you system, there need not be any signs that it is affecting you driving (under the influence of a drug).

The law does not provided for a  range, like under .05 for drinking, where alcohol is detected but allowed.

driving with prohibited drugs in system

Any detection of a prohibited drug will cause you to be charged with the offence.

Remember that some drugs can stay in your system for at least 2 days if not more. The Police and the Courts expect drivers to make alternative arrangements for transport if  there is a chance that drugs can still be detected in the system.

What sort of Penalties am I facing?

The likely penalty will depend on whether this is the first  time you have been charged with “Drive with Prohibited Drug in System”. The penalties are greater if you have been convicted of  this offence before.   The penalty in both cases is a Fine and Disqualification. You can not go to gaol for this offence – whether it is a first or second offence. (If it is clear that you are driving whilst under the influence of a drug then there is another charge you may be charged with, and this does include a maximum gaol term. An example of driving under the influence is erratic driving or nodding off while driving.)

Penalties – Drive With Prohibited Drug in System

1st   Offence Fine $1,100 Disqualification range 3-6 mths  Automatic Disqualification 6 months  
2nd Offence Fine $2,200 Disqualification range 6 mths to unlimited Automatic Disqualification 12 months  

At Court, the Magistrate will decide whether to convict you. This is why it is best to have a lawyer represent you and appear on your behalf.  If you are convicted then your lawyer can make persuasive submissions on your behalf; such as,  that the minimum disqualification period  is appropriate or that you have limited funds for a fine.

Some of the things which the court will consider are:

  • Whether you had reason to believe drugs would still be in your system;
  • Was there an urgent reason why you needed to drive,
  • Whether you were detected by a random test or as a result of collision, erratic or dangerous driving,
  • The length of you intended journey,
  • The number of people put at risk by the driving (passengers, members of the public etc)
  • Any significant effect that a licence disqualification may have on you, your employment or other people who rely on you
  • How long you have held a licence and what your overall traffic record is like;
  • Whether you have a history of drug use convictions or similar driving convictions,
  • Your likelihood of re-offending

Contact Us Today

Brady and Associates Lawyers are experienced in representing people who have been charged with Driving with Prohibited Drug in System. We work hard to obtain the best possible outcome in the circumstances and can advise you on your available options and prepare your case in the most cost effective way for you. We know how to navigate the court system; so get to know our Principal Lawyer, Amanda Brady or contact us today.