Drug Driving

Drug driving is taken very seriously by police and the courts

Drug Driving

If you are caught driving with an illicit substance in your system – such as THC (cannabis), MDMA (ecstasy and other pills), amphetamines or cocaine, you will be charged with drug driving (drive with presence of illicit substance).

The police do not need to prove that you were driving dangerously, or that your driving was affected by drugs. They merely have to detect drugs in your system.

Driving under the influence (DUI)

A person can be charged with ‘driving under the influence’ (DUI) in circumstances where it is not possible for the police to get an accurate blood alcohol reading, or if you are suspected of driving under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs.

Drugs are detected through blood and urine tests which are ordered if a police officer has reasonable suspicion that a driver is under the influence of a drug. Witness and police accounts of the incident are also used to establish the offence. Penalties include a minimum 12-month suspension of licence, a fine and/or a prison sentence.

To be found guilty of a DUI offence, the police must prove that your driving was affected by the use of a drug or substance, it is not sufficient for you to simply have drugs detected in your system for you to be found guilty – instead police will rely on charging you with ‘drive with presence of illicit substance’.


Drug driving is taken very seriously by the police and the courts. If it is your first offence, you may receive an on the spot fine, and a 3 month suspension of your licence. If you have previously been charged with drug driving, you will need to go to court and potentially face harsher penalties.

If you are convicted by the court for drink or drug driving, this offence will remain on your criminal record which can potentially impact on your future employment and your ability to travel.

What can I do?

It is important to get legal advice so that you can put your best foot forward in court. It is possible to apply for a Section 10 or plead your case as to why your circumstances warrant a reduced penalty.

If you are unsure whether you want to plead guilty or not guilty, call our criminal and traffic lawyer for a free initial 15 minute telephone consult today.

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