Drink and Drug Driving Offences Canberra, ACT

OVERVIEW OF DRINK DRIVING OFFENCES

  1. Driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol is an offence under section 19 of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977.
  2. The penalties for this offence differ depending on the breath or blood alcohol reading and whether you are a first offender or repeat offender.

There are four ranges of drink driving that all carry different penalties, depending on your reading which is calculated by the amount of alcohol (in grams) in 210L of exhaled breath or 100mL of blood.

Level 1

Reading between 0.00 – 0.05

This category of drink driving only applies to ‘special’ licence holders such as learner and provisional drivers, public transport and taxi drivers, drivers with foreign licences and unlicensed drivers.

Penalty for first offenders: a conviction and fine of up to $800 and a licence disqualification of between 1-3 months.

Penalty for repeat offenders: a conviction and fine of up to $1,600 and a licence disqualification of between 3-12 months.

Level 2

Reading between 0.05 – 0.08.

Penalty for first offenders: Conviction and fine of up to $800 and a licence disqualification of between 2-6 months

Penalty for repeat offenders: Conviction and fine of up to $1600 and a licence disqualification of between 3-12 months

Level 3

Reading between 0.08 – 0.15.

Penalty for first offenders: Conviction, fine of up to $1600 and/or imprisonment up to 6 months and a licence disqualification of between 3-12 months

Penalty for repeat offenders: Conviction, fine of up to $1600 and/or imprisonment up to 6 months and a licence disqualification of between 6 months – 3 years

Level 4

Reading 0.15 or above

Penalty for first offenders: Conviction, fine of up to $2400 and/or imprisonment up to 9 months and a licence disqualification of between 6 months – 3 years

Penalty for repeat offenders: Conviction, fine of up to $3200 and/or imprisonment up to 12 months and a licence disqualification of between 12 months – 5 years

Note: An offender is classified a “repeat” offender if at any time in the past, no matter how long ago and whatever the state or territory, they have been found guilty or convicted of a drink or drug driving offence.

Your alcohol reading can be calculated through a breath screening test or a blood sample test. If you refuse to undertake either test you may be charged with an offence under section 22 and 23 of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977. This offence carries fines, imprisonment and licence disqualification that are equivalent to a level 4 reading.

Drink driving is an offence of strict liability, meaning that if the physical elements are met (e.g., you have a BAC reading above the legal limit on a roadside breath test), the offence is satisfied and can only be argued by mistake of fact.

Other defences that might arise include where the driving did not occur on a public road or road-related area, where the breath or blood sample was not taken within the required time period or otherwise legally, or where there is a reasonable doubt as to whether you were the driver.

What does it mean if I am required to hold a mandatory interlock licence?

If you have been found guilty of a level 4 range drink driving offence or have been convicted of a 3rd drink driving offence within 5 years, your licence disqualification will include a condition that you must have installed and abide by an alcohol interlock ignition device. This must be in place for either half of the total disqualification period or 6 months, whichever is longer.  Where you have been disqualified for any drink driving offence other than the above scenarios, you are entitled to apply for a voluntary interlock ignition device on your vehicle and drive throughout the period of disqualification (if complying with this device). The device must be fitted for at least 6 months.

When is my licence suspended after being charged with drink driving?

If you have been charged with a drink driving offence with a reading of 0.05 higher than your legal limit (eg. 0.1 or higher for fully licensed drivers), police must issue you with an immediate suspension notice which suspends your licence for 3 months or until the sentencing is finalised in court, whichever is the shorted period. Any time suspended in this way must be taken off any court-order disqualification period.

Can I get a workers licence?

You will only be eligible for what is called a restricted licence if the reading is less than 0.05 your legal limit (eg. Less than 0.1 for a fully licenced driver), it is your first drink driving offence, and a full disqualification would cause hardship due to work, health, family or other commitments.

OVERVIEW OF DRUG DRIVING | CANBERRA, ACT

  1. Driving with a prescribed drug in your oral fluid or blood is an offence under section 20 of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drug) Act 1977.
  2. The maximum penalty for this offence for first offenders is a conviction and $1600 fine, and a licence disqualification period of between 6 months – 3 years. For a repeat offender the maximum penalty is a conviction, $4000 fine and 3 months imprisonment, and a licence disqualification of between 12 months – 5 years.
  3. To be found guilty of a drug driving offence you must have tested positive for a prescribed drug. Drugs are detected through an oral fluid test or urine sample and certain drugs may be present in your system for extended periods of time after use.
  4. Unlike drink driving offences, there are no ranges or levels of impairment for drug driving.
  5. Prescribed drugs include cannabis, methylamphetamine and heroin.

Low levels of cannabis possession are decriminalised and medicinal cannabis is legalised in the ACT under the Commonwealth Narcotic Drugs Act 1967.

Whilst you may be permitted to consume medicinal cannabis by a medical professional under the Act, it is still an offence to drive with cannabis (tetrahydrocannabinol -THC) in your system and a medical prescription cannot be used as a defence against drug driving.

Restricted licences and interlock licences are not available for licence disqualifications imposed for drug driving offences. The only way to avoid any licence disqualification is if a No Conviction Order is made in sentencing or if you otherwise plead not guilty and successfully defend the charge at a hearing.

  • You were not driving, attempting to drive or sitting next to a learner driver who was driving the motor vehicle
  • You did not intend to drive or attempt to drive the motor vehicle
  • You may not have had a prescribed drug in your system
  • You honestly and reasonably believed that the prescribed illicit drugs were not in your system (e.g. if you were the victim of ‘spiking’); and
  • Your oral fluid or blood was not tested within the required time.

What is the maximum penalty?rnrnSection 51B(1) of the u003cemu003eCrimes Actu003c/emu003e provides a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment and/or 100 penalty units (i.e. a fine of up to $11,000) for first offenders. If you are a repeat offender, the maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment and/or 100 penalty units (i.e. a fine of up to $11,000).rnrnWill I lose my licence?rnrnYes, if this is your first time being convicted of this offence, you will be automatically disqualified from driving for a period of 3 years. Section 205(2)(d)(ii) of the u003cemu003eRoad Transport Act, u003c/emu003eallows the Court to reduce the disqualification period to a minimum of 12 months. If this is your second or subsequent offence, you will be automatically disqualified from driving for a period of 5 years. Section 205(3)(d)(ii) of the u003cemu003eRoad Transport Act, u003c/emu003eallows the Court to reduce the disqualification period to a minimum of 2 years.rnrnWill this appear on my criminal record?rnrnIf you are found guilty of this offence, it will appear on your criminal record.rnrnWill I get a Section 10?rnrnNo, if found guilty of this offence, you will not receive a section 10.rnrnWill I go to prison?rnrnWhile you may be sentenced to full-time imprisonment, various other sentencing options are available to the Magistrate or Judge. Ultimately, this may depend on the objective seriousness of the offence as well as your personal circumstances and criminal record.

LEVEL 1 DRINK DRIVING (“PCA”) | CANBERRA, ACT

  1. Driving with a level 1 prescribed concentration of alcohol (“PCA”) is an offence under section 24 of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977.
  2. You may be charged with Level 1 drink driving if your reading is above 0.00 and below 0.050 and are not a fully licenced driver. The reading is calculated by the amount of alcohol (in grams) in 210L of exhaled breath or 100mL of blood.
  3. Only ‘special licence’ holders can be charged with Level 1 drink driving. This includes learner and provisional drivers, public transport and taxi drivers and drivers with foreign licences.
  4. For first offenders, the maximum penalty for this offence is a conviction and fine of up to $800 and a licence disqualification of between 1-3 months.
  5. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalty for this offence is a conviction and fine of up to $1,600 and a licence disqualification period of between 3- 12 months.

  • That you were a ‘special licence holder’
  • That you were intentionally driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on a road or road related area
  • That, at the time of driving, or within the ‘relevant period’ after driving (usually 2 hours) you had a reading of more than 0.00 and less than 0.05.

Some potential defences may include:

  • You were a fully licenced holder with a legal limit up to 0.05, not special licence holder
  • You were not driving or attempting to drive the motor vehicle
  • You were not driving on a public ‘road or road related area’
  • Your breath or blood was tested more than 2 hours after driving
  • You honestly and reasonably believed that you were not under the influence of alcohol (e.g., if you were victim of drink ‘spiking’)
  • Your reading was less than 0.02 and the alcohol was consumed as part of a religious observance or from food;

Whether you should plead guilty or not guilty will depend on a number of factors, including whether you accept that you are a level 1 drink driver.

You may accept that you committed the offence, but disagree with part or all of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to change the statement of facts for sentencing.

How do I know if I am over the limit?

It is difficult to determine your likely alcohol reading as there are numerous factors that impact the speed at which your body processes alcohol. As your reading must be 0.00 as a special licence driver, you generally cannot consume any alcohol prior to driving.

Will I lose my licence for Level 1 drink driving?

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty after hearing, of Level 1 drink driving you may be faced with a licence disqualification between 1-3 months as a first offender or between 3-12 months as a repeat offender. These are mandatory licence disqualifications and can only be avoided if the court makes a No Conviction Order at sentencing or you are otherwise acquitted of the charge at a defended hearing.

What happens if I lose my licence for drink driving?

Often if you have been charged with a drink driving offence you will be faced with a disqualification of your licence for a prescribed period depending on the severity of the offence.

If you require your licence for work or medical related purposes you may be able to apply for a probationary licence with a voluntary interlock condition. If granted, you can hold an interlock licence for the period of your disqualification.  You may also be able to apply for a restricted licence (work licence) with conditions that allow you to drive for specific purposes such as work or medical appointments.

LOW RANGE (LEVEL 2) DRINK DRIVING | CANBERRA, ACT

  1. Driving with a level 2 prescribed concentration of alcohol is an offence under section 24 of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977.
  2. You may be charged with Level 2 drink driving if you reading is between 0.05-0.08. The reading is calculated by the amount of alcohol (in grams) in 210L of exhaled breath or 100mL of blood.
  3. For first offenders, the maximum penalty for this offence is a conviction and fine of up to $800 and a licence disqualification between 2 – 6 months.
  4. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalty for this offence is a conviction and fine of $1,600 and a licence disqualification between 3-12 months.

  • That you were intentionally driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on a road or road related area
  • That you were under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, with a reading of 0.05 or more and less than 0.08.

Some potential defences may include:

  • Your reading was not between 0.05-0.08
  • You were not driving or attempting to drive the motor vehicle
  • You were not driving on a public ‘road or road related area’
  • Your breath or blood was tested more than 2 hours after driving
  • You honestly and reasonably believed that you were not under the influence of alcohol (e.g., if you were victim of drink ‘spiking’)
  • You did not consume an alcoholic beverage or any other substance (e.g. food or medicine) for the purpose of having alcohol.

Whether you should plead guilty or not guilty will depend on a number of factors, including whether you accept that you were drink driving with a level 2 range.

You may accept that you committed the offence, but disagree with part or all of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to change the statement of facts for sentencing.

How do I know if I am over the limit?

It is difficult to determine your BAC as there are numerous factors that impact the speed at which your body processes alcohol. If you have been drinking, the safest option is not to drive as you may be involved in an accident or face this criminal charge.

Will I be convicted of Level 2 drink driving?

Whether or not you are convicted of a level 2 drink driving is entirely dependent on the circumstances of your matter. It must be proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that you intentionally drove, attempted to drive or sat next to a learner driver who is driving a motor vehicle whilst your reading was between 0.05 and 0.08.

Other factors are considered before a conviction is made, including when and where you were tested and whether you reasonably believed you were driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol.

What happens if I lose my licence for drink driving?

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty after hearing, of Level 2 drink driving you may be faced with a licence disqualification between 2-6 months as a first offender or between 3-12 months as a repeat offender. These are mandatory licence disqualifications and can only be avoided if the court makes a No Conviction Order at sentencing or you are otherwise acquitted of the charge at a defended hearing.

MID RANGE (LEVEL 3) DRINK DRIVING | CANBERRA, ACT

  1. Driving whilst under the influence of alcohol is an offence under section 24 of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977.
  2. Drink driving is an offence of strict liability, meaning there are no fault elements for the offence’s physical elements.
  3. You may be charged with a Level 3 (mid-range) drink driving if your BAC is between 0.08-0.15. BAC is calculated by the amount of alcohol (in grams) in 210L of exhaled breath or 100mL of blood.
  4. For first offenders, the maximum penalty for this offence is a conviction, fine of up to $1,600 and/or a term of imprisonment up to 6 months, and a licence disqualification of between 3 – 12 months.
  5. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalty for this offence is a conviction, fine of up to $1,600 and/or a term of imprisonment up to 6 months, and a licence disqualification of between 6 months – 3 years.

  • That you were intentionally driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on a road or road related area
  • That you had an alcohol reading of 0.08 or more and less than 0.15.

Some potential defences may include:

  • Your reading was not between 0.08 and 0.15
  • You were not driving or attempting to drive the motor vehicle
  • You were not driving on a public ‘road or road related area’
  • Your breath or blood was tested more than 2 hours after driving
  • You honestly and reasonably believed that you were not under the influence of alcohol (e.g., if you were victim of drink ‘spiking’)
  • You did not consume an alcoholic beverage or any other substance (e.g., food or medicine) for the purpose of having alcohol.

Whether you should plead guilty or not guilty will depend on a number of factors, including whether you accept that you were drink driving at a mid-range.

You may accept that you committed the offence, but disagree with part or all of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to change the statement of facts.

How do I know if I am over the limit?

A: It is difficult to determine your reading as there are numerous factors that impact the speed at which your body processes alcohol. If you have had anything to drink then the safest option is not to drive, as you may be involved in an accident or face this criminal charge.

Will I be convicted of Level 3 Drink Driving?

Whether or not you are convicted of a level 3 drink driving is entirely dependent on the circumstances of your matter. It must be proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that you intentionally drove, attempted to drive or sat next to a learner driver who is driving a motor vehicle whilst your reading was between 0.08 and 0.15.

Other factors are considered before a conviction is made, including when and where you were tested and whether you reasonably believed you were driving with a prescribed concentration of alcohol.

What happens if I lose my licence for drink driving?

Often if you have been charged with a drink driving offence you will be faced with a disqualification of your licence for a prescribed period depending on the severity of the offence.

If you require your licence for work or medical related purposes you may be able to apply for a probationary licence with a voluntary interlock condition. If granted, you can hold an interlock licence for the period of your disqualification.

If this is your first offence and the reading is less than 0.05 more than your legal limit (0.05 for fully licensed drivers, meaning your PCA would need to be <0.10) and there is a need for a licence for work or other purposes, you may be eligible to apply for a restricted (work) licence.

HIGH RANGE (LEVEL 4) DRINK DRIVING | CANBERRA, ACT

  1. Driving with a level 4 prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) is an offence under section 24 of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977.
  2. You may be charged with a Level 4 (high-range) drink driving if your reading is 0.15 or above. A reading is calculated by the amount of alcohol (in grams) in 210L of exhaled breath or 100mL of blood.
  3. For first offenders, the maximum penalty for this offence is a conviction and $2,400 fine and/or a term of imprisonment up to 9 months, and a licence disqualification of between 6 months – 3 years. There will also be a mandatory condition that you must have an interlock device fitted to your vehicle for at least half the total disqualification period, or 6 months, whichever is longer.
  4. For repeat offenders, the maximum penalty for this offence is a conviction and $3,200 fine and/or 12 months’ imprisonment, and a licence disqualification of between 12 months – 5 years. There will also be a mandatory condition that you must have an interlock device fitted to your vehicle for at least half the total disqualification period, or 6 months, whichever is longer.  a

  • That you were intentionally driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on a road or road related area.
  • That you had an alcohol reading of 0.15 or above.

Some potential defences may include:

  • Your reading was not 0.15 or above
  • You were not driving or attempting to drive the motor vehicle
  • You were not driving on a public ‘road or road related area’
  • Your breath or blood was tested more than 2 hours after driving
  • You honestly and reasonably believed that you were not under the influence of alcohol (e.g., if you were victim of drink ‘spiking’)
  • You did not consume an alcoholic beverage or any other substance (e.g. food or medicine) for the purpose of having alcohol.

Whether you should plead guilty or not guilty will depend on a number of factors, including whether you accept that you were drink driving at a high-range.

You may accept that you committed the offence, but disagree with part or all of what police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to change the statement of facts.

How do I know if I am over the limit?

It is difficult to determine your reading as there are numerous factors that impact the speed at which your body processes alcohol. If you have been drinking, then the safest option is not to drive as you may cause a collision or be charged with this criminal offence.

Will I be convicted of Level 4 Drink Driving?

Whether or not you are convicted of level 4 drink driving is entirely dependent on the circumstances of your matter. It must be proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that you intentionally drove, attempted to drive or sat next to a learner driver who is driving a motor vehicle whilst your reading was 0.15 or above.

Other factors are considered before a conviction is made, including when and where you were tested and whether you reasonably believed you were not under the influence of alcohol.

Will I lose my licence for high range drink driving?

If you plead or are found guilty of level 4 drink driving, there will be a mandatory licence disqualification period of between 6 months and 3 years for first offenders, and between 12 months and 5 years for repeat offenders.

What does it mean if I am required to hold an interlock licence?

If you have been found guilty of a level 4 drink driving offence there will be a mandatory alcohol interlock ignition period of at least half the total disqualification, or 6 months, whichever is longer. An interlock device is a breath test attached to your vehicle that prevents it from starting until a reading of 0.00 is recorded. No alcohol can be consumed prior to driving when you hold an interlock licence.

REFUSING A BREATH SAMPLE IN THE ACT

  1. Refusing to undertake a breath sample is an offence under Section 22 of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977.
  2. It is also an offence under Section 22 of the Act if you do not follow the reasonable directions of the police officer requesting the breath sample.
  3. The maximum penalty for this offence is a conviction and fine of $4,800. There is also a maximum penalty of imprisonment of 6 months for a first offender and 12 months for a repeat offender. If a conviction is imposed there is a mandatory licence disqualification of between 6 months and 3 years for first offenders, and 12 months and 5 years for repeat offenders.
  4. There are some circumstances where you may not physically be able to provide a breath sample, such as a breathing issue. This can be a full legal defence to the charge.

  • That you were intentionally driving or attempting to drive or were a driver trainer in a motor vehicle on a road or road related area.
  • That you refused to provide a sample of breath for analysis or failed/ refused to provide a sample of breath in accordance with the reasonable directions of the police officer making the requirement.

Defences that may be available include:

  • You were not driving, attempting to drive or sitting next to a learner driver who was driving the motor vehicle
  • You did not intend to drive or attempt to drive the motor vehicle
  • You were not driving on a road or road-related area
  • You could not, for medical purposes, properly submit a breath sample
  • Police had not given you reasonable directions in requiring the breath sample
  • The breath analysis had not been made within 2 hours of driving.

Whether or not you should plead guilty or not guilty depends on a number of factors, including whether you accept that you refused or failed to submit to a breath test.

You may accept that you committed the offence, but disagree with part or all of what the police say happened. In these circumstances, you lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to change the statement of facts.

Will I be convicted of failing/refusing to submit a breath test?

Whether or not you will be convicted is dependent on the context of the charge. It must be proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that you intentionally drove a motor vehicle and refused/ failed to provide a breath sample when instructed by police.

Whether you will be convicted also depends on if there are any successful defences to your charge, including if you were unable to submit a breath test for medical reasons.

Will I lose my licence for failing to submit a breath test?

If you are found guilty, or have entered a plea of guilty for refusing to provide a breath sample, your licence may be disqualified by the Court. Whether or not you will lose your licence will be dependent on a range of factors including if this is a first or repeat offence. If a conviction is imposed there is a mandatory licence disqualification of between 6 months and 3 years for first offenders, and 12 months and 5 years for repeat offenders.

REFUSING A BLOOD SAMPLE IN THE ACT

  1. Refusing to undertake a blood sample is an offence under Section 23 of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977.
  2. It is also an offence under Section 22 of the Act if you do not follow the reasonable directions of the police officer requesting the blood sample.
  3. The maximum penalty for this offence is a conviction and fine of $4,800. There is also a maximum penalty of imprisonment of 6 months for a first offender and 12 months for a repeat offender. If a conviction is imposed there is a mandatory licence disqualification of between 6 months and 3 years for first offenders, and 12 months and 5 years for repeat offenders.
  4. If you plead guilty, or are found guilty, a number of different sentences can be imposed. It is likely that a criminal conviction will be recorded against you.

  • That you were intentionally driving or attempting to drive or were a driver trainer in a motor vehicle on a road or road related area.
  • That you refused to provide a sample of blood in accordance with the reasonable directions of the police officer making the requirement.

Defences that may be available include:

  • You were not driving, attempting to drive or sitting next to a learner driver who was driving the motor vehicle
  • You did not intend to drive or attempt to drive the motor vehicle
  • You were not driving on a road or road-related area
  • You could not, for medical purposes, properly submit a blood sample
  • Police had not given you reasonable directions in requiring the blood sample
  • The breath analysis had not been made within 2 hours of driving or attending hospital.

Whether or not you should plead guilty or not guilty depends on a number of factors, including whether you accept that you refused or failed to submit to a blood test.

You may accept that you committed the offence, but disagree with part or all of what the police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to change the statement of facts.

Will I be convicted of failing/refusing to submit a blood test?

Whether or not you will be convicted is dependent on the context of the charge. It must be proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that you intentionally drove a motor vehicle and refused/ failed to provide a blood sample when instructed by police.

Whether you will be convicted also depends on if there are any successful defences to your charge, including if you were unable to submit a blood test for medical reasons.

Will I lose my licence for failing/ refusing to submit to a blood test?

If you are found guilty, or have entered a plea of guilty for refusing to provide a blood sample, your licence may be disqualified by the Court. Whether or not you will lose your licence will be dependent on a range of factors including if this is a first or repeat offence. If a conviction is imposed there is a mandatory licence disqualification of between 6 months and 3 years for first offenders, and 12 months and 5 years for repeat offenders.

DRUG DRIVING IN THE ACT

  1. Driving with a prescribed drug in your system is an offence under section 20 of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drug) Act 1977.
  2. The maximum penalty for this offence for a first offender is a conviction and $1,600 fine, and licence disqualification of between 6 months and 3 years. For a second offender the maximum penalty is conviction and fine of $4,000 and/or imprisonment for 3 months, and a licence disqualification of between 12 months and 5 years.
  3. To be found guilty of a drug driving offence you must have tested positive for a prescribed drug which are currently listed as methylamphetamine, TCH (cannabis) and MDMA. Drugs are detected through an oral fluid test or urine sample and certain drugs may be present in your system for extended periods of time after use.
  4. Unlike drink driving offences, there are no ranges or levels of impairments for drug driving. It is an offence of strict liability and thus using a vehicle with any amount of drugs in your system satisfies the elements of the offence.
  5. It is also an offence under section 20 to be a driver trainer in a vehicle with prescribed drugs present in your blood or oral fluid. This includes being a supervisor for L-plate drivers.

  • That you were intentionally driving or attempting to drive or were a driver trainer in a motor vehicle on a road or road related area.
  • That you drove with a prescribed drug in your oral fluid or blood.

Medicinal cannabis is legalised in the ACT under the Commonwealth Narcotic Drugs Act 1967. Possession of cannabis in small amounts has also been decriminalised. Whilst you may be permitted to consume medicinal cannabis by a medical professional under the Act or otherwise possess it, it is still an offence to drive with cannabis in your system and a medical prescription cannot be used as a defence against drug driving.   

Whether or not you should plead guilty or not guilty depends on a number of factors, including whether you accept that you drove with drugs in your system. 

You may accept that you committed the offence, but disagree with part or all of what the police say happened. In these circumstances, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to change the statement of facts.

Will I be convicted of driving with a prescribed drug?

Whether or not you will be convicted is dependent on the context of the charge. It must be proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that you intentionally drove a motor vehicle, or sat near a learner driver who is driving a motor vehicle, under the influence of a prescribed drug. Whether you will be convicted also depends on if there are any successful defences to your charge.

Will I go to jail for driving with a prescribed drug?

For first offenders it is unlikely that you will be sentenced to jail if found guilty of drug driving. However, for repeat offenders it is possible you may face up to three months imprisonment if convicted of an offence under section 20 on multiple occasions.

It is also an offence under section 22A to refuse a drug screening test and an oral fluid sample. Refusing to comply with the instructions given by the officer that is administering the test is also an offence and both charges face a fine of up to 30 penalty units.

Will I lose my licence for driving with a prescribed drug?

If you plead guilty, or are found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs and a criminal conviction is imposed, there will be a licence disqualification period of 6 months – 3 years for first offenders, and 12 months – 5 years for repeat offenders.

There are no options for an alcohol interlock or restricted licence option for drug driving.

Do I have to have a certain reading of drugs in my system?

No. Unlike drink driving charges, there are not different levels of drug driving. As it is an offence of strict liability, the presence of any prescribed drug in your system – without a relevant defence – will result in a charge of drug driving.

Why Choose Hugo Law Group to Defend You

Hugo Law Group is a law firm that is focused on protecting and defending your rights. Drawing on decades of experience, our team of criminal lawyers will guide you through the legal process, providing comprehensive, honest and strategic advice – qualities that give us our renowned reputation.

Whether you want to plead not guilty, you are looking to secure the best possible sentence, or a loved one wants to apply for bail, it is essential to have an experienced team of criminal defence lawyers in your corner.

Seeking comprehensive and practical advice at an early stage will best ensure your rights and interests are protected. Our lawyers will properly prepare and present your case to assist you in getting the best possible outcome.

Contact

At Hugo Law Group, we will clearly explain what your rights and obligations are so that you can make informed decisions about how to deal with the police and the court process.

Even if you have not yet been charged with a criminal offence, you should seek advice from a lawyer at an early stage to ensure that your rights and interests are protected.

Hugo Law Group is the market leader in criminal defence law, providing exceptional representation to people facing serious criminal charges.

As leaders in criminal defence, we know that every story has two sides. We defend yours.

Get in contact with us today or feel free to call us at 02 9696 1361 (Sydney), 02 5104 9640 (Canberra), or 08 6255 6909 (Perth) and find out how we can help you.