Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active component of cannabis;
Methylamphetamine (‘ice’, ‘speed’, ‘crystal meth’ ‘base’ etc); and
Methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA or ‘ecstasy’).
If you are convicted of driving a motor vehicle whilst under the influence of an illicit drug, the maximum penalty is a fine of up to $1,100.00 with a disqualification of between three (3) to six (6) months. If you are convicted of a second offence within five (5) years, the maximum fine increases to $2,200.00 and the disqualification increases to between six (6) to twelve (12) months.
Any driver, motor cycle rider or supervising driver on a New South Wales road or road related area may be subject to an oral fluid test to test for the presence of illicit drugs. The roadside drug testing occurs by Police undertaking an oral fluid test through the window of the vehicle. The individual being tested is required to lick a test pad of the testing device with the result being known within approximately five (5) minutes.
If the preliminary oral test provides a negative result, the driver is free to leave.
If the initial test is positive, the individual will be required to go with a Police Officer to provide a second oral fluid sample. The second result will be known in approximately 20 minutes.
If the secondary test provides a positive result, the individual tested will be prohibited from driving for a 24 hour period and the second sample will be sent to the Division of Analytical Laboratories (DAL) for further analysis.
If the presence of an illicit drug is confirmed by DAL, the individual will thereafter receive a Court Attendance Notice charging the individual with driving with presence of an illicit drug.
After the initial 24 hour period expires the individual may resume driving pending any further order by the Court.
If presence of an illicit drug is confirmed by DAL, the Court Attendance Notice will detail the charges as well as the time, date and location of the Court that the individual is required to attend.
The oral fluid test will not detect the presence of prescription drugs including medicines with amphetamine-like substances such as over the counter medications for cold and flu.
If you refuse to be tested by a Police when requested, you may be fined up to $3,300.00 in addition to a having your license disqualification for a minimum of six (6) months.
A driver who refuses to be tested can also be prohibited from driving for a 24 hour period.
The sample forwarded to DAL will be retained for a period of six (6) months to provide the possibility for any further testing requested should the matter be contested before the Court.
Whilst the roadside analysis only tests for the three (3) above mentioned drugs, existing Police powers also provide for police to charge individuals with the offence of driving under the influence of any alcohol or drug.
If you have been charged with a drug driving offence, you should immediately obtain expert legal advice.