Drug driving is a serious offence in Queensland. In fact, there is zero tolerance for drug driving in the state. If you are caught drug driving, it is essential to find legal representation in a drug lawyer. Here’s everything you need to know about this offence.
Common Drug Driving Offences
There are two common offences that people are charged with when caught drug driving; driving while under the influence of drugs, and driving while a relevant drug is present in the blood or saliva.
Under Section 79 of the Transport Operations(Road Use Management) Act 1995 (Qld),
Any person who, while a relevant drug is present in the person’s blood or saliva—
(a) drives a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; or
(b) attempts to put in motion a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel; or
(c) is in charge of a motor vehicle, tram, train or vessel;
is guilty of an offence and liable to a penalty not exceeding 14 penalty units or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months.
A person is also guilty of an offence if they are caught driving a vehicle, or attempting to put a vehicle in motion, or are in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of a drug.
If proven guilty, they are liable to 28 penalty units or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 9 months. This particular offence is considered more serious than the first offence, particularly if a person’s driving ability has been seriously affected by the consumed drugs. You may need to seek legal advice from a drug lawyer if you have been caught driving under the influence of a drug.
Drug Testing Procedure
To detect the presence of relevant drugs, a person can be pulled over by the Queensland Police for a random saliva test.
Drugs that are considered relevant drugs include Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (Ecstasy), Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Cannabis) and Methylamphetamine (Ice). The saliva test does not detect the presence of either prescribed or over-the-counter medications. If you are pulled over for a saliva test, it usually takes between 3 and 5 minutes to obtain the results. They are only used to detect drugs and will be destroyed once they are no longer required. The test will produce either a negative result (no drugs detected) or a positive result (drugs detected).
If your test is positive, you will be taken to the police station for a second saliva sample. Should the second test result also be positive, your licence will be suspended for a 24 hour period. No driving is allowed during this time, otherwise you will receive additional charges.
If you are charged with a relevant drug present and you have no pending drug driving charges, your driver’s licence will remain valid until the charge is dealt with by a court. Should you have a pending drug driving charge, your license will be suspended immediately until the court date. It is best to have legal representation by a drug lawyer for any court dates.
Potential Penalties for Drug Driving
As previously stated, there is zero tolerance for drug driving in Queensland. Any trace of a relevant drug in your system will result in a penalty.
If you are charged with driving with a relevant drug present, the court may disqualify you from driving for up to 9 months, fine you up to $1868 and impose a prison term of up to 3 months. For those convicted of a lesser offence of having a relevant drug in the blood or saliva while driving, you may be able to apply for a restricted driver licence which allows you to drive for work purposes only during your disqualification period.
If you are charged with driving under the influence of a drug, the court may disqualify you from driving for up to 6 months, fine you up to $3,736 and impose a prison term of up to 9 months. A drug lawyer may be able to help with minimising these penalties.
Seek Legal Advice From a Drug Lawyer
We suggest speaking with a drug lawyer should you find yourself caught drug driving. Our solicitors at Guest Lawyers are experienced in all drug-related offences who can help you with representation in court and negotiating charges. If you would like to speak to a drug lawyer from our team, get in contact.