Drug Driving Offences and Penalties

Drug Driving Offences and Penalties

Most of us know that driving while drunk is illegal. But did you know that drug driving is also an offence? If you’re caught driving with drugs in your system in Queensland, call a drug lawyer in Brisbane for immediate advice.

There are two types of offence for drug driving. The first is ‘driving under the influence of drugs’; the second is ‘driving with a relevant drug present’. Even driving with prescription drugs in your system can be a drug driving offence if the medication impairs your ability to operate a vehicle.

Driving under the influence of drugs in Queensland

If a police officer reasonably suspects that your ability to drive is impaired due to the influence of drugs, you can be charged with driving under the influence. This includes scenarios where your driving is impaired because you have taken legal or prescription medication.

You can be pulled over and asked to provide a sample of saliva and/or blood. Refusal to provide a sample will lead to an automatic charge and a significant loss to your licence.

The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs include:

  • A fine of up to $3,736
  • The loss of your licence for a minimum of 6 months (for a first offence) and a more significant loss of licence for a 2nd or subsequent offence.
  • A possible prison sentence of up to 9 months

Relevant drug driving in Queensland

There are four specific ‘relevant’ drugs under the Transport Operations Road Use Management Act. These are:

  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • MDMA (the active ingredient in ecstasy)
  • THC (the active ingredient in cannabis)

If you are found to have been driving with even a trace amount of one of these relevant drugs in your system, you will face an automatic charge of driving while relevant drug present. It doesn’t matter if your driving is impaired.

Police officers can pull you over for a random roadside saliva test, or require a saliva sample at a breath testing site, in order to detect relevant drugs. They don’t need to show that there was reasonable suspicion that your driving was impaired.

The penalties for driving with a relevant drug present include:

  • A fine of up to $1,929
  • The loss of your licence for between 1 and 9 months (for a first offence) and a more significant loss of licence for a 2nd or subsequent offence.
  • A possible prison sentence of up to 3 months.

Other penalties for drug driving charges

If you have been convicted of a drug driving charge in the last 5 years, you are a repeat offender. In these circumstance, penalties include:

  • A fine of up to $8,271
  • A significant loss of licence (depending on your history, the mandatory penalties change)
  • A possible prison sentence determined by the court

Refusal to provide a saliva or blood sample is also an offence. Penalties include:

  • A fine of up to $5,338
  • A possible prison sentence of up to 6 months
  • The loss of your licence for a minimum of 6 months (for a first offence) and a more significant loss for a 2nd or subsequent offence.
  • The possibility that you will also be charged with the penalties attached to the original offence

Need a drug lawyer in Brisbane for a Queensland drug driving offence? The Hounsell Cunningham team is here for comprehensive representation and support when you need it the most. Call us on (07) 3188 5626 today.