As of December 2009 driving while under the influence of any drug is now an offence in Queensland known as drug driving. There are two possible drug driving charges either;
- driving whilst a relevant drug is in the system
- driving under the influence of a drug (“DUI”)
Drug driving tests are conducted similarly to RBTs. The tests are mostly done through an oral saliva test, however they can be conducted through a blood drug test or a urine drug test if you are unable to provide a saliva sample.
To test for drug driving Queensland Police will ask for a saliva sample for the purpose of testing for:
- THC – active ingredient in cannabis;
- Methylamphetamine – also known as speed and ice; and
- MDMA – the active ingredient in ecstasy.
If the preliminary saliva test is negative you will be free to go immediately. If a drug is detected in your system (positive result) you will be taken to a police station for 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 your 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.
There is a strictly zero tolerance with drug driving. If any traces of illicit drugs are found in your system you will be penalised. For a first time offender on an open licence the penalty is a maximum fine of $1,400 and up to nine months disqualification of your license.
It is not only illicit drugs that are tested for. If a police officer believes that your driving has been impaired by prescription or other drugs you will be required to undertake a drug test. This will be in the form of a blood sample. If the results show there are traces of drugs in your system you will, like any other drug driving charge, face possible fines, license disqualification and imprisonment and will have to appear in court. This is known as a DUI charge and is equivalent to a high range drink driving charge.
If you are charged with driving or being in charge of a vehicle with cannabis, ecstasy or ICE in your saliva or blood (but not with driving or being in charge or a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, which is a more serious charge), then you may be able to get a work licence but this must be done at the time you appear in the court to plead guilty, it cannot be done afterwards. Visit our article on drug driving and work licences for more information on applying for a work licence if charged with drug driving or go to our work licence webpage for more information.
Well thought out submissions and arguments before a Magistrate can in our experience significantly reduce the length of your disqualification. There are a number of factors that can lead a Magistrate to impose the lowest penalty possible, we know them all.
Should I get a Lawyer to represent me?
In a word, yes this is not an offence where you should simply turn up to the Court without a lawyer. The consequences and penalties the Court may impose are too serious not to seek to minimise the penalty by having a lawyer.
If you have a bad traffic history, have previously been convicted of drink driving or are charged with mid or high range drink driving offence then a Lawyer is critical. We get 3-4 calls a week from people who represented themselves in court and received extremely harsh penalties and need to try and appeal the result. In most cases an appeal is not possible or if it is will cost a huge amount for the legal fees. It is better to have a lawyer from the start to minimise the drink driving penalty.
Engaging Clarity Law to act for you
Engaging us gives you the best chance at obtaining the lowest disqualification period and a fine as low possible. We are the leading traffic law firm in South East Queensland, everyday our lawyers are in Court getting the best outcome for clients. We have appeared in over 500 drink driving charges and no one has the experience we do. Just some of the benefits of us acting for you for your drink driving charge include;
- we know the judges and what they want to hear to give you the best outcome
- we have good relationships with the Police prosecutors meaning we can often have them not object to the Court imposing the minimum disqualification period applicable.
- we are there to help you through the process and make everything as stress free as possible, in most cases you will not have to say anything in Court
- engaging us shows the Court you are taking your charges seriously
- your matter will be heard early, often first, you do not have to wait for 20-30 other matters to be heard before you
- you will be fully informed of what is to happen in Court and what this means for you after Court
- unlike the police or the Judge, we are there to look after you, your privacy and your interests
Here at Clarity Law we appear every week in the Courts with people charged with drink driving, it is this experience 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 Magistrates like we do.
What Courts do you appear in?
We appear in every Court in South East Queensland. Just some of the Court we appear in are;
1. Beenleigh Magistrates Court
2. Brisbane Magistrates Court
3. Caloundra Magistrates Court
4. Caboolture Magistrates Court
5. Gympie Magistrates Court
6. Holland park Magistrates Court
7. Ipswich Magistrates Court
8. Maroochydore Magistrates Court
9. Noosa Magistrates Court
10. Pine Rivers Magistrates Court
11. Southport Magistrates Court
12. Toowoomba Magistrates Court
13. Wynnum Magistrates Court
For a full list of Courts we appear in click here.
Will I need to come in to the office to see you?
We have offices in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coasts but in most cases we can handle everything by email and the phone without you ever having to come into our office. We are also open outside normal business hours for your convenience.
What do you charge?
We charge a flat upfront fee for our services, that means no hidden charges or unexpected bills. We don't charge any travelling fees either; if you are in Maroochydore or Southport you will pay the same price as if you are Brisbane.
We are also upfront with our fees, if you look at other law firms few, if any, clearly list how much they are going to charge you. Clarity Law on the other hand are happy to list our prices as we are sure no other South East Queensland law firm can match our prices and experience. Our prices include;
- full preparation for court including checking for defences and devising strategy to minimise penalty
- negotiations with the police prosecution unit including obtaining traffic history and charge documents
- drafting submissions for the court
- arranging for you to attend a driving course (if appropriate)
- all telephone calls, faxes emails and meetings with you
- detailed information to you on the likely penalty and information on what will happen at court and afterwards
- appearing in the court with you for your guilty plea to the drink driving charge
To see what we will charge for a guilty plea click here
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;
- Use our contact form and we will contact you by email or phone at a time that suits you
- Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 8pm