Clarity Law - drivinglaw.com.au

South East Queensland's most experienced traffic law firm

Introduction

A work licence (also known as a restricted licence, section 87 licence or day licence) is a special type of licence that may be issued by the court to persons convicted of a low or mid-range range drink driving charge (a BAC reading under .15) or certain drug driving charges in Queensland.   A work licence replaces your normal Queensland drivers licence for the period of the disqualification imposed by the court.

A work licence can only be used for work purposes; you cannot use a work licence to drive to the shops or dropping kids off at school. A work licence is designed to allow you to continue to earn a living where a driver’s licence is an essential component to you earning that living.

It is also critical to understand that the work licence must be applied for before the court imposes a disqualification period for the drink or drug driving offence. Once the court imposes the licence disqualification you cannot apply for a work licence.

 

Can I apply?

To be eligible to apply for a work licence you must:

  1. hold a current Queensland open driver's licence for the vehicle you were driving. The open licence must have been held at the time of committing the offence.  Provisional and learner drivers cannot apply for a work licence
  2. have had a blood alcohol level of less than 0.15% or the drug driving offence must be been driving with a relevant drug and not drug driving UIL
  3. not have been driving for your job at the time you were charged. There are some exceptions where driving is not the main component of your job e.g. labourers driving to a work site or fencing contractors picking up materials to use onsite
  4. not have been driving under a licence that required your blood alcohol level (BAC) to be zero e.g. if you are on a learner, provisional, probationary or restricted license.

In the last five years you must not have:

  • been convicted anywhere of drink driving or a similar offence
  • been disqualified by any court
  • had a licence suspended or cancelled (except in some limited circumstances like certain SPER suspensions that did not go to court).
  • Applied for a work licence

 

What do I need to provide in my application?

To apply for a work licence you must file in the court where your drink driving charge is being heard (and serve on the police prosecutor) at least the following;

  1. An affidavit of yourself setting out;
    1. Your personal circumstances like where you live, with who etc
    2. What work you do and a detailed explanation of what driving for work you need to do
    3. The days and hours you work including any overtime
    4. Why you can’t use taxi’s or public transport
    5. Your financial circumstances including your income and expenses and those of you partner (if applicable)
    6. How your employment or if self-employed your income would be affected by not being granted a work licence
    7. How the drink driving charge came about and if necessary you will need to address other offences on your traffic history (or criminal history)
    8. What conditions the court should impose on your work licence
  1. If you are employed then your employer must provide an affidavit confirming the need for a work licence and if it not granted that you will be deprived of the means of earning your income
  1. An application form for a section 87 (Work licence) available at any court registry for a full use this link www.courts.qld.gov.au/contacts/courthouses

 

How does the Court judge my application?

In order for the court to grant a work licence you must show the court that you are a 'fit and proper person' and that if you don't get a work licence this will cause you or your family extreme hardship by depriving you of your means of earning a living.

The court will generally judge whether you are a fit and proper person based on your traffic history. Character references can also help a court decide you are a fit and proper person; this is especially true where your reading was mid-range (between .1 and .149). References can be from anyone who knows you well and thus can speak to your character but generally characters references from work colleagues or employers carry the most weight. The other effective thing you can do to improve the courts view of whether you are a fit and proper person is to complete a driving court. There are a number of courses but our strong recommendation is the Queensland Traffic Offenders Program (“QTOP”). The QTOP course is well regarded by the courts and can be done in person or online. Details can be found at their website www.qtop.com.au

The court judges whether you will be derived of the means of earning your income based on yours and if applicable your employer’s affidavit. It is critical to your application to show that you will suffer this extreme hardship. This is usually easier to prove for an employed person as your application must be accompanied by an affidavit of your employer that confirms you will be deprived of the means of earning your income if a work licence is not granted. It is harder to prove for self employed people and may require you to provide financial records to the court or to provide an additional affidavit of your accountant or the person you contract to.

 

Conditions the Court might impose on a work licence

Generally the court will be looking to impose one or more of the following conditions;

  1. Restricting the days and hours you can drive to the bare minimum to complete you job or business requirements
  2. Restricting whether you can carry passengers
  3. Requiring you to complete a log book before driving
  4. Requiring you to wear your work uniform when driving
  5. Limiting what classes of vehicle you can drive

 

Before the Court Date

Your need to make sure that before your court date that;

  1. You and your employer need to take the Affidavits to a Justice of the Peace or Solicitor or commissioner of declarations and sign each and every page in their presence;
  2. ensure that the Justice of the Peace or Solicitor witnesses your signature by signing each and every page;
  3. Attend the Court Registry and collect an application form for a work licence (these are also available at Queensland Transport) file your original signed Affidavits with 2 photocopies. The Court will stamp them, keep the original and give you two copies back.  It is also a good time to file any character references you may wish the court to read.
  4. Then attend the Police Prosecutions unit (which is generally in the police station near the court, you should ask the court registry where this is) file on of the copies of the affidavits and the pink copy of the application for a work licence. Also give them a copy of any character reference you filed at the registry.
  5. Keep your copies of the affidavits, application form and references and take them to court on the court date.

 

Things to consider

What should I wear to court?

You should wear the most business like clothes you feel comfortable wearing. Perhaps it best to describe the clothing as what you would wear to a job interview. Please don’t wear clothes you are uncomfortable wearing but don’t wear your work uniform or clothes with prominent logos or writing. Never wear flip flops or shorts to court.

What should I bring to court?

You should have already filed and served on the police prosecutor all your written material.

You should bring a copy of;

  1. Your signed and witnessed affidavit
  2. Your Employers signed affidavit (if not self-employed)
  3. Any character references you wish to present to the court
  4. The application form you filed

You should also bring your driver drivers licence and around $50 to pay for your new licence at Queensland Transport if a work licence is granted.

Will I get a Criminal Record?

No all traffic convictions are just that, traffic convictions, they are not considered to be criminal charges. The courts are unlikely not to record a traffic conviction unless specific evidence is placed before it that a traffic conviction will harm you in some way. It is very rare to have no conviction recorded.

Will my matter be in the Paper?

Possibly, the court is an open court. What this means is that any person is entitled to watch the court proceedings. This also means that a reporter is entitled to report on what occurred in the court. It is not possible to have the court ban the reporting.

How long will I lose my licence for?

This is almost an impossible question to answer. It depends on your circumstances, your traffic history and criminal history (if any), your reading, the circumstances of your arrest and the Magistrate on the day.

Generally the courts will impose a longer disqualification period where you are granted a work licence. This can be up to double the period you would get without a work licence.

A very general guide to penalties is listed below; please note this is not legal advice as to your potential penalty it is merely a rough general guide. Some Magistrates will increase your disqualification period with a work licence, others will not and this is why we cannot give you an accurate idea of your potential disqualification.

 

BAC reading

Disqualification period

Fine

.05-.07

1-2 months

$300-400

.07-.08

2-3 months

$400-500

.08-.1

3-5 months

$500-600

.1-.12

5-6 months

$600-700

.12-.13

6-8 months

$700-800

.13-.15

8-11 months

$800-900

 

 

Generally any fine will be referred to SPER. You can arrange with SPER to make payments on the fine or to pay it in one lump sum. For more information on SPER visit www.qld.gov.au/law/fines-and-penalties/state-penalties-enforcement-registry. Alternatively you can pay the fine at the court but there may be a delay as the information from the sentence is entered into the database.

 

What will happen in the court?

Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your court time.

Find out which court you are in and wait outside that court. Turn off your phone.

Eventually a Police Prosecutor will arrive you should then go and speak to them and confirm who you are and that you are applying for a work licence. Please make sure they have all your affidavits.

At this point is a good idea to ask the police for a copy of your charge documents and traffic history. Do this by asking for your “QP9” (this is the document number and is what it is referred to in the courts). Check the QP9 while you wait for the court to start to ensure it is correct. If it isn’t go and talk to the Police Prosecutor.

The court will start when the Magistrate enters, please stand whenever the depositions clerk or Police Prosecutor calls ‘all rise’ and then wait for the Magistrate to sit down before sitting yourself.

Wait for your matter to be called and then approach the table where the Police Prosecutor is. You will stand to the far left of the table. Remain standing while the Magistrate asks what you are doing. Tell the Magistrate that you are pleading guilty to the charge and that you wish to apply for a work licence. Please address the Magistrate as “Your Honour”. The Magistrate will then ask you to sit.

The Police Prosecutor will read a brief statement of facts and give the Magistrate a copy of your traffic history and breath analyst certificate. All of these documents will be in the QP9 so you should have already seen them.

Once the Police Prosecutor finishes the Magistrate will read the affidavits and if they have any queries they will ask you. Generally we find the Magistrates will not ask many questions. If you have not already filed any character reference tell the Magistrate you have some, the Police Prosecutor take them from you and will give them to the Magistrate.

If a work licence is granted a Magistrate will first give you a disqualification period and then a fine and finally will read out the terms of the work licence being granted.

You will then be asked to sit outside the court or at the registry to wait for your work licence order. It is this document that you take to Queensland Transport. Please check the order is correct before leaving the registry.

For more information on how a Magistrate court works go to www.justice.qld.gov.au/justice-services/courts-and-tribunals/going-to-court and select virtual tour from the menu to the left.

 

I was granted a work licence – now what?

If you are granted the work licence then before you can drive again then you need to go to Queensland Transport and have your licence re-issued as a work licence. You cannot drive to the Queensland Transport office. Also unless you are returning to work or driving for work purposes from Queensland Transport then you would need a lift home as your work licence would not cover for the trip between Queensland Transport and your home but it would cover you to drive from Queensland Transport back to work.

You must also comply with the requirements of any court order in relation to your licence, this may be the requirement to complete a logbook or similar. Also throughout the period of the work licence you must keep a copy of the court order in any motor vehicle you drive.

If you are caught driving outside the terms of your work licence then you will be disqualified for the balance of the disqualification period left to run plus an additional 3 months.

 

What if I am not granted a Work Licence?

If you are not granted a work licence then you have the right to appeal and this must be done within one calendar month of your court date. Those time limits are very strict. It is beyond the scope of this article to provide information on appealing the refusal to grant work licence, you would need to obtain urgent legal advice.

 

What happens after my disqualification period?

After the period of disqualification has ended you will need to attend Queensland Transport and reapply for your proper licence. You cannot simply start driving after your disqualification period has ended. Please don’t drive to Queensland Transport as you are not entitled to drive until after you have been to Queensland Transport. Also remember to bring 100 points of ID.

After you have been disqualified you will be on a probationary licence for 1 year, this means that;

  1. You have only 4 demerit points available
  2. You have a zero alcohol limit for 1 year. This 1 year started at the time your licence was disqualified by the court and the work licence granted so you may only have a few months to run at this point.

You do not have to re-sit any tests to get your licence back.

 

Should I engage a lawyer to apply for a work Licence?

While we obviously have a vested interest in people using a lawyer for a work licence application we are of the strong opinion that if your licence is critical to continuing to earn your livelihood then you use an experienced traffic lawyer.

Some advantages to using a lawyer for a work licence includes;

  1. It will increase the change of getting the work licence and the hours you require significantly
  2. Lawyers know what the Magistrates wants to hear to grant a work licence
  3. They can help minimise your disqualification period
  4. They will make the whole process easier and less stressful
  5. You will have at court someone on your side fighting to get the work licence granted

 

If I’m going to engage a lawyer why should I engage Clarity Law?

At Clarity Law we are experts in Queensland traffic law. We are in the court every single day helping people with traffic charges. We have successfully argued the court grant over 1,000 work licence applications. You simply can’t find a lawyer with more experience in the courts. We also have upfront fixed fees with no hidden charges.

We cover every court in South East Queensland from Coolangatta all the way to Gympie and out to Toowoomba.

 

Our offices are located at.

Sunshine Coast

Level 3, 14-18 Duporth Avenue

Maroochydore 4558

 

Brisbane

Bluedog Business Centre

Level 1, 16 McDougall Street

Milton

 

Southport

Corporate Centre One

Level 15, 2 Corporate Court

Bundall

 

Loganholme

M1 Business Centre

Level 2, 3972 Pacific Highway

Loganholme

 

Ipswich

Ipswich Corporate Office

16 East Street

Ipswich

 

Brendale

North Brisbane Serviced Offices

3/22-24 Strathwyn Street

Brendale

 

How do I get more information?

 

Email:                    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Telephone:         1300 925 255

Website:              www.drivinglaw.com.au/services/work-licences.html

Contact Form:   www.drivinglaw.com.au/contact.html

 

Disclaimer: This article is for general information and is not legal advice.  The law or the practice of the court may have changed since this article was published.  Always obtain legal advice if you need a work licence.

Published in Legal Blog

If you appear in a Queensland court charged with a traffic offence such as drink driving, drug driving or dangerous driving and plead guilty or are found guilty then the court will likely disqualify your drivers licence (many offences such as drink driving and drug driving carry mandatory minimum periods of disqualification). The purpose of this article is to give people some guidance as to what occurs after you leave the court if your licence has been disqualified.

 

Do I Get to keep my Physical Licence?

No, you are required to surrender your licence to Queensland Transport by the day after the court disqualifies you or to the police prosecutor at the court. It is an offence to be in possession of a licence if you have been disqualified by a court.

The surrender of your licence may in some circumstances deprive you of your main form of identification, you may therefore wish to attend Queensland Transport before the court and obtain a proof of age card to help with identification during your period of disqualification.

When does the Disqualification Begin?

The disqualification starts immediately. You would not be able to drive once you leave the court

What does this mean if you hold a licence granted outside of Queensland?

If disqualified, you are not authorised to drive on a road in Queensland under your non-Queensland driver licence during the disqualification period.  If your licence is from another state in Australia then your disqualification should prevent you from driving anywhere in Australia. You will need to check with your local transport authority.

What happens if you have any Industry or Driver Authorisations?

The disqualification period will also apply to any Industry or Driver Authorisation held by you (for   example a taxi, tow truck, bus, limousine, dangerous goods, driver trainer or pilot vehicle licence).   At the end of the disqualification period you will be required to visit or contact a Queensland Transport Centre or licence issuing agent to have your eligibility to hold an Industry or Driver authorisation reassessed.

What happens if you drive during your disqualification?

If you are found driving during your disqualification period, you will be charged with disqualified driving and you will be required to appear in court. If the charge is proven, the court will further disqualify you for a period of at least 2 years to a maximum of 5 years and may impose a substantial fine or sentence you to term of imprisonment for up to 18 months.

How do I pay my fine?

Generally any fine can be referred to SPER. You can arrange with SPER to make payments on the fine or to pay it in one lump sum. For more information on SPER visit www.sper.qld.gov.au/. Alternatively you can pay the fine at the court but there may be a short delay as the information from the sentence is entered into the database.

Offender Levy

As from 21 August 2012 all people who plead guilty or are found guilty in the Magistrates Court must pay a levy (currently $125.80) in addition to any penalty imposed by the Magistrate.  The levy is separate from any monetary penalty we have advised the Magistrate may impose.  More details can be found at http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/about/offender-levy

What happens after my disqualification period?

After the period of disqualification has ended you will need to attend Queensland Transport and reapply for your licence. You cannot simply start driving after your disqualification period has ended. Please don’t drive to Queensland Transport as you are not entitled to drive until after you have been to Queensland Transport. Also remember to bring 100 points of ID.

After you have been disqualified you will be on a probationary licence for 1 year, this means that;

  1. You have only 4 demerit points available
  2. You have a zero alcohol limit for 1 years

You do not have to re-sit any tests to get your licence back (if you have held a licence in the past 5 years).

Please note that if you have more than one disqualification period imposed for example if you committed two offences that carried separate disqualification periods or you were already serving a disqualification then your disqualifications may run cumulatively meaning they run one after the other and not at the same time. You will need to check with Queensland Transport about this. If your licence disqualifications add up to more than 2 years you might be eligible to apply for a licence reinstatement after 2 years. More information on licence reinstatements is available on our website.

Interlock

Please note you may be required to have an interlock device fitted to your vehicle once you are eligible to obtain your driver’s licence back. This requirement applies to certain drink driving charges. The court has no discretion to allow you not to do this as it is a Queensland Transport licencing requirement. This is an area that is subject to constant change, for more information visit www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Licensing/Licence-suspensions-and-disqualifications/Alcohol-ignition-interlocks.aspx

How do I get more information or engage you to act for me? 

If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you
  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 7pm
  3. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This article is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice. Please visit our disclaimer page at www.drivinglaw.com.au/disclaimer.html Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Published in Legal Blog
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DUI Charges

When most people hear DUI they usually associate it with a drink driving charge. Whilst this is correct, as DUI stands for ‘driving under the influence’ it can in fact relate to either a drink or drug driving offence.

 

There are three levels of drink driving charges, being

 

Driving with a low BAC (blood alcohol concentrate) reading of between .05 and .099. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 1 month suspension of your licence (for an open licence holder).

 

Driving with a mid BAC (blood alcohol concentrate) reading of between .1 and .149. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 3 month suspension of your licence.

 

Driving under the influence (“DUI”) of alcohol charge is a result of a reading of .15 or above. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 6 month suspension of your licence.

 

A DUI drug charge means that you were charged with ‘driving under the influence of drugs’. Drug tests search for traces of THC (active ingredient in marijuana), MDMA (speed or ecstasy) and methamphetamine.

 There are two levels of drug driving charges, being

 

Driving with a relevant drug present in your system

This charge is issued when a drug test indicates there is drugs present in the driver’s system but they appear to be unaffected by the drugs or substance. If you are charged with this your driver’s licence will be suspended for a period of 24 hours. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 1 month suspension of your licence (for an open licence holder).

 

Driving under the influence of drugs (“DUI”)

This charge is issued when a drug test indicates there is drugs present in the driver’s system and/or the driver appears to be affected and impaired by drugs. This will be ascertained by the driver’s appearance (eyes, facials expressions etc), behaviour and mannerisms. If you are charged with this your driver’s licence will be suspended immediately. This charge carries a mandatory minimum of a 6 month suspension of your licence. Whilst if you are sentenced to in excess of this period the Magistrate can take into consideration the length of time you have already had your licence suspended, if you receive the minimum of 6 months, this period will be served in full from your Court date.

 

Driving under the influence of drugs can be a result of illegal drugs, synthetic drugs (designed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs) prescription drugs (Xanax, Valium) and even some over the counter medical prescriptions.  Anytime that you are effected by a substance which alters your abilities in any way you could be charged with driving under the influence of drugs.

A roadside drug test is simply an oral swab which is tested immediately and will indicate if there is traces of drugs in your system. If the test indicates the presence of drugs you will need to undergo another drug test which is sent to a Government laboratory for testing.  You will receive a drug analysis certificate when it is available from laboratory testing. If your roadside drug test indicates no drugs in your system, the Police are still able to order you to undergo a blood test if they believe you are under the influence of a drug or substance.

We have been successful in the past in having some drug DUI charges downgraded to driving with a relevant drug in the drivers system by in putting forward to the Police Prosecutions submissions giving reasoning and information as to why the client should not have been charged with a drug DUI and have only received a driving with the relevant drug in their system charge.

Whilst with alcohol there are rough guidelines to how long the alcohol will take to be processed and out of your system there is no such recommendation for how long drugs may stay in a person’s system for. Many people find themselves being charged with driving with drugs in their system long after they have consumed or ingested drugs. Because each person responds to the consumption of drugs in a different manner based on their personal chemistry, past use, type of drug taken, amount of drug consumed, height, weight and other factors, unlike alcohol consumption there is no way in when to tell when the drugs have left your system.

It is important to note that you do not have to be driving your vehicle to be charged with a drink or drug driving offence, you could be charged if you are merely sitting in the driver’s seat.

Charges of low or mid BAC or a driving with a relevant drug in your system, depending on your circumstances and previous traffic history, can allow you to apply for a work licence to be issued to you for the duration of your suspension period. An alcohol or drug DUI charge however eliminates this option.

Here at Clarity Law we represent people charged with drink and drug driving offences in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

For more information visit our drink driving or drug driving page or call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week

 

Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  We are also not health professionals and our observations on drink driving and what effects a person’s BAC reading is based on our knowledge of representing thousands of drink driving client’s overs the past 15 years and not any specific medical training.

Published in Legal Blog
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Drug Driving Charges Skyrocket

In Queensland police are increasingly undertaking drug driving tests in conjunction with normal drink driving RBT units. Police officers who are able to conduct the drug testing need to be specially trained in the use of saliva testing equipment and testing procedures. The number of Police that are now qualified to conduct the drug tests has increased dramatically in the last few years as well as the addition of 13 specially built drug testing vehicle to Queensland roads.  There is going to be an increasing amount of drug driving charges.

For example the amount of drug driving tests for the last 3 years include;

2014 - 21,000 drivers were drug tested in Queensland

2015 – 33,000 drivers were drug tested in Queensland

2016 – It has been estimated that over 50,000 drivers will be tested in Queensland

The roadside drug driving tests are carried out by taking a swab of a driver’s salvia.  The tests are designed to pick up the following illegal drugs;

1.       THC – the active component in cannabis

2.       Methylamphetamine – also known as speed, ice or crystal meth

3.       MDMA – also known as speed

A person caught with these drugs in their system will normally be charged with driving with a relevant drug in the system. When you are charged with this offence your licence will usually be suspended for a 24 hour period. Depending on your circumstances and traffic history it is possible to apply for a work licence if you are charged with driving with a drug in your system.

If the driver appears to be under the influence at the time they are driving or is believed to be affected by a drug to such an extent that they are endangering the public they will be charged with the higher of the two drug charges being, driving under the influence of a drug. If you are charged with this offence your licence will be suspended immediately up until your matter is dealt with by the Court. If you receive a driving whilst under the influence of drugs charge you cannot apply for a work licence. Further, if you are believed to be under the influence it is not uncommon for the Police to then search your vehicle for drugs or drug paraphernalia.

It is also possible to be charged with driving under the influence of drugs if you are driving a vehicle with legal drugs in their system, that being legally prescribed medication.  The decision is made at the police’s discretion as to whether they believe the drugs have affected the person to such a degree that their driving was impaired. 

If the police suspect a person has been impaired they may be required to give a sample of their blood for further testing. At the time a blood test is taken you are allowed to request that the Police provide you with a sample of your blood so you can have it tested independently.

A key component to proving the charge in court will be the statement of the arresting officer and their observations of the driver as well as the saliva or blood test results, which are confirmed in a drug analysis certificate.  The blood test will generally report the amount of the drug in the person’s blood as well as any comments from a medical officer as to what impairment an ordinary person would have with that level of drugs in the system.

A refusal to provide a drug test will result in a charge of failing to provide a drug test. This is a serious charge and is dealt with harshly by the Courts. If you are charged with failing to provide a sample you will be dealt with as if you were under the influence.

A person who pleads guilty or is found guilty of the UIL charge is subject to the same punishment as a high range drink driver that is a minimum of 6 months disqualification of their drivers licence and no ability to apply for a work licence.

Queensland has some of the harshest penalties for drug drivers in both fines and suspension periods.   It is critical to get good advice about the charge and whether you might be able to apply for a work licence.  Information on applying for a work licence can be found on our work licence page.

Here at Clarity Law we represent drug driving charges in Courts across South East Queensland every day, it is this experience, and our expertise that allows us to get the absolute best result for clients.  Other law firms simply don’t have the experience that we do and don’t know the process and the Magistrates like we do.  We also offer the most competitive prices in Queensland that are all fixed fee so there are no nasty surprises when you receive your invoice.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can call 1300 952 255 7am – 7pm seven days a week.  Check out our drug driving charge for more information.

 

 

Disclaimer – this article contains general advice only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.  We are also not health professionals and our observations on drug driving is based on our knowledge of representing hundreds of drug driving client’s overs the past 15 years and not any specific medical training.

Published in Legal Blog
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The Different Types of Drug Driving

Similar to drink driving charges which are categorised as either low, medium or high range, drug driving has different categories in which you can be charged under.

If you are charged with drug driving you will either be charged with having a relevant drug in your system or, and more seriously, driving whilst under the influence of a drug.

The drug driving tests look for traces of the following drugs being relevant in your system:

1.       THC – the active ingredient in cannabis

2.       Methylamphetamine – also known as speed and ice; and

3.       MDMA – the active ingredient in ecstasy.

 

Although the police can require a blood test to test for drug driving the most common way to test is through taking a sample of a person’s saliva.

If the preliminary saliva test is negative you will be free to go immediately. If a drug is detected in your saliva (positive result) you will be required to undertake a second saliva test. If the second test is again positive for drugs your driver’s license will be suspended for 24 hours. The remaining saliva sample will be sent to a laboratory and following the result you may be notified and charged with a traffic offence of drug driving. A person caught with these drugs in their system will normally be charged with driving whilst a relevant drug is in the system.

If the results of a drug driving test comes back positive it is irrelevant whether you’re driving was affected by having illicit drugs in your system. This means that for example, if you consume marijuana a couple of weeks before being tested you will still be charged with drug driving if the results are positive (marijuana can stay in your system for up to 40 days). However, saliva tests are designed only to react to the active ingredient of a drug. Therefore the period in which drugs can be detected varies depending on quality and quantity of the drug that has been ingested, the period of time since taking the drug and the frequency of use of the drug.

 

Driving whilst under the influence of a drug

You are likely to be charged with driving under the influence of a drug if you are pulled over by the police and appear to be under the influence of a drug eg. Red eyes, slurred speech, twitchy etc. If the Police believe you are under the influence of a dangerous drug or even a synthetic drug (for more information on this see our article about synthetic drugs) it is likely that they would search your vehicle. Quite often we have clients who are charged with possession of a dangerous drug and/or utensils and drug driving at the same time.

It is also possible to be charged with driving under the influence of a prescription drug if the police believe you have been affected to such a degree by the prescription pills that you pose a risk to other road users.

If you are charged with this offence your licence will be suspended immediately. You cannot apply for a work licence and face at least a 6 month disqualification.

 

 

Having a relevant drug in your system

If you undergo a drug driving test and it comes back positive but you appear to be sober you will be charged with having a relevant drug in your system.  This is the lesser of the two drug driving charges. When you are charged with having a relevant drug in your system your licence will be suspended for a 24 hour period.

If you are charged with having a relevant drug in your system, depending on circumstances, you are eligible to apply for a work licence.

 

This article is written by Steven Brough.  Steven has over 14 years experience dealing with this type of charge and appearing in Queensland Courts.  You can ring Steven on 1300 952 255 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our traffic law website at www.drivinglaw.com.au

 

Disclaimer:

The information provided is for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or to create a lawyer-client relationship, and you should not act or rely upon any information appearing in this article without seeking the advice of a lawyer. Moreover, because the law is constantly changing, the information appearing in this article are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date.  Steven and Clarity law only undertake matters in Queensland.

Clarity Law's liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

 

 

 

Published in Legal Blog