Drug Driving Laws
Drugs and driving are certainly not a good mix. As well as being illegal, drugs affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle. There is a zero tolerance for driving under the influence of a drug, and in Queensland, penalties will apply.
Drug Driving Offences in Queensland
Taking drugs, or being under the influence of drugs, while being behind the wheel being behind the wheel is almost always a bad idea. As well as being illegal, drugs affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle. There is a zero tolerance policy for driving under the influence of a drug, and in Queensland, penalties will apply.
In Queensland the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 governs the road rules and related laws. There are two different offences the drivers can be charged with if drug driving, as seen below:
Driving under the influence of a drug
This is the more serious of the two offences and is when there is an intoxicating drug in your system and that drug measurably affects your ability to operate your vehicle. This is viewed similarly to high range drink driving.
Driving with a relevant drug present in your blood or saliva
This offence is when the drug analysis has indicated there was a presence of a drug – illicit or prescription – present in a driver’s saliva, however the presence of this in the system is not particularly concentrated, therefore not significantly impacting an individual’s driving ability as the earlier offence.
How are offenders caught and tested?
Queensland Police officers have the right to pull your vehicle over at any time for a random drug test, as they do for a blood alcohol test. This is done through a saliva sample at a roadside drug test which detects the presence of:
- Methamphetamine (also known as speed and ice)
- MDMA (the active ingredient in ecstasy)
- THC (the active ingredient in cannabis)
If this initial mouth swab of the driver’s tongue and cheeks indicates a positive reading, a second test will be required which detects:
- type of drug taken
- quantity and quality of drug
- frequency of drug use
- period of time since taking the drug.
Drug Driving Penalties
Queensland Police and the Courts have a zero tolerance for drug related driving. Any trace of any type of illicit drug in your system can and will likely be penalised by the Magistrate, especially for repeat offenders. That is why involving an experienced solicitor can greatly improve your chances in minimising any disqualification period and penalty.
Penalties for driving under the influence of a drug
First time offence
The first time offence for someone caught driving a motor vehicle under the influence of a drug may include:
- disqualification from driving for up to 6 months;
- fines up to $3,736; and
- a maximum term of imprisonment up to 9 months.
If this offence is repeated within 5 years, a court may penalise the individual much more harshly:
- disqualification from driving for up to 2 years;
- fines up to $8,007; and
- a term of imprisonment for a period of time determined by the court.
Penalty for driving with a relevant drug present in your blood or saliva
First time offence:
The second drug related offence would likely involve penalties from the Magistrate such as:
- disqualification from driving for between 1 to 9 months;
- fines up to $1,868; and
- a maximum 3 month term of imprisonment.
Contact a DUI and Drug Driving Lawyer
If you have been charged with a drug driving offence and would like to contest a drug driving charge or need to understand your chances of success appealing a decision, or if you have any other relevant questions, our legal term are available to discuss. Our DUI lawyers provide a free 15 minute telephone consultation, so don’t make the mistake of waiting until it’s too late, contact our drink driving and drug driving solicitors. We provide specialized legal advice on drug driving in Queensland.