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Illicit Drug Driving Testing

Illicit drug driving testing and multiple arrests for the same offence

By Erin Brown – Solicitor, Traffic Law & Criminal Litigation.

14 September 2016

Illicit Drug Driving is becoming a common offence in the Local Court List and people are getting caught multiple times for the same offence over a series of days.

The law currently in place states that it’s an offence to have any trace of an illicit substance in your blood whilst in control of a motor vehicle. There’s no test for the level of intoxication or to how impaired a person is by the illicit substance.

If you’re pulled over for a Random Breath Test (RBT), it’s now common place to be tested for drugs as well with a simple mouth swab. The general principle is that police will suspend your license for 24 hours and then you’re able drive again.

However, this doesn’t mean the illicit substance has left your system – it’s highly possible that traces could remain for up to 10 days.

Considering the number of RBT stations and police vehicles around, there’s a chance you could get caught for a second or even a third time.

It could be a very expensive venture for anyone.

For a first offence in New South Wales you’re facing a maximum penalty of:

  • A criminal conviction;
  • A fine of $1,100; and
  • An automatic licence disqualification of six months, with a minimum of three months off the road.

The maximum penalty for a second or subsequent offence:

  • A criminal conviction;
  • A fine of $2,200; or
  • An automatic licence disqualification of 12 months and a minimum period of six months off the road.

If there are more than three offences in five years you could face being declared a Habitual Offender and then lose your licence for a further five years on top of your normal disqualification.

Being off the road for several years could have serious financial implications if you need your licence for your business or job.

It’s critical that you undertake some sort of driver’s education program such as the Traffic Offenders Program run by the Police and Community Youth Club (PCYC).

There are a number of beneficial speakers and they provide critical information about the use of illicit substances and the interaction with driving.

Commins Hendriks does the legal talk at our local PCYC one Saturday every month and we’re readily available to offer assistance in ensuring you have your best foot forward.

If you have any questions, please contact us to book an appointment on 1800 643 779.