In New South Wales, there are two categories of drug-related driving offenses. They are operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and operating a vehicle while certain substances are detectable in the mouth, blood, or urine. This page extensively covers the maximum punishments, disqualification durations, and sentence statistics for both drug driving offenses.
Drug Driving Offences: The Presence Of Certain Drugs In Oral Fluid, Blood Or Urine
Driving or occupying the driver’s seat of a vehicle and attempting to start it while under the influence of an illicit drug is illegal under section 111 of the Road Transport Act of 2013. Additionally, it is illegal for someone with a full driver’s license to supervise a learner driver while under the influence of drugs.
When a person is found operating a vehicle while in possession of any of the following drugs in their saliva, blood, or urine, they are guilty of this drug-related driving offense:
- The chemicals present in cannabis are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC;
- Methamphetamine, usually referred to as speed;
- Ecstasy, or Methylenedioxymethamphetamine;
- And cocaine.
A fine of $1,100 for a first offense and $2,200 for a second or subsequent offense are the maximum penalties for this offense. For a first offense, an automatic six-month disqualification applies, and a guilty verdict leads to a minimum three-month disqualification. In the case of a second or subsequent offense, an automatic 12-month disqualification occurs, with a guilty verdict resulting in a minimum six-month disqualification.
If morphine was prescribed by a doctor and used as directed for medical purposes, it provides defence if the driver is caught operating a vehicle while under the influence.
Drug Driving Offences: DUI
According to Section 112 of the Road Transport Act 2013, it is illegal to be under the influence of one or more substances while operating a motor vehicle, holding the driver’s seat and attempting to start it, or supervising a novice driver.
For the first offense, the maximum penalty for driving while under the influence of drugs is $2,200, or nine months in jail; for the second or subsequent offense, the maximum penalty is $3,300, or up to twelve months in jail. For a first offense, an automatic 12-month disqualification is imposed, and a guilty verdict leads to a minimum disqualification of 6 months. In the case of a second or subsequent offense, an automatic three-year disqualification occurs, with a guilty verdict resulting in a minimum disqualification of twelve months.
What Distinguishes These Two Drug-Related Driving Offenses?
A person must really be using the substance or combination of drugs to impair their driving in order to be found guilty of driving while intoxicated. Because of the narcotics in their system, they must be unable to operate the vehicle with appropriate control.
A person need only have a drug in their system at the time of driving to be found guilty of driving while impaired by it in their blood, urine, or oral fluid. Certain drugs can be found in a person’s blood or urine long after they have stopped being “drug-affected,” since different substances remain in the body for varying lengths of time.