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6/11 Prince of Wales Avenue South West Rocks,
PO Box 16 South West Rocks NSW 2431

T 02 6566 6250

Level 1 22 Belgrave Street Kempsey
PO Box 161 Kempsey NSW 2440

T 02 6562 3300

Drug Driving

What is DRUG DRIVING and is it a criminal offence?

It is common practice in NSW for police to conduct roadside testing for drugs.

Generally, roadside testing for drugs involves a saliva swab from the driver of a vehicle. If this test shows a positive result, the driver will be asked to undertake a second swab at a roadside testing van or police station. The samples are then sent to a laboratory for analysis.

What types of drugs does this testing detect?

Mobile drug tests predominantly detect drivers who have recently used any three types of illegal drugs:

 1. Active THC (Cannabis)
2. Methylamphetamine (Speed/Ice) or
3. Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or Ecstasy)

Roadside tests can usually detect illicit drugs in your system up to 12-24 hours after consumption. However, it’s possible for drugs to be detected days/weeks after consumption. Detection can depend on an individual’s metabolism, health status, whether or not they are frequent users as well as the amount of drugs they’ve consumed.

In NSW, there are a number of criminal offences related to drugs and driving.

The two most common offences are:

1. Driving under the influence of a drug. For a first offence, the driver risks:

• Maximum fine of $2200
• Maximum gaol term of 9 months
• Minimum disqualification period of 6 months

2. Driving with an illicit drug present in oral fluid, blood or urine. For a first offence, the driver risks:

• Maximum fine of $1100
• Minimum disqualification of 3 months
• Maximum disqualification of 6 months

It is important to note that drug driving is a criminal offence.

If found guilty, you may receive a criminal record, substantial fines/penalties, licence suspension as well as the possibility of imprisonment.

Have you recently been charged with a drug driving offence and received a Court Attendance Notice? If so, it is important that you seek legal advice prior to your court date. There may be a number of matters your solicitor can assist you with in preparation for your court appearance.