Drug Driving

Drug Driving

Drug saliva tests can detect cannabis and amphetamines such as speed or methamphetamines.

Where a roadside drug test is positive, police have the power to conduct either a further saliva test or a blood test. Drivers may face charges of driving under the influence or driving with a prescribed drug in oral fluid or blood. Before charges can be laid the presence of drugs must be confirmed by laboratory testing. The saliva test is mandatory and there are penalties for refusing to cooperate. It is an offence for a person to drive a motor vehicle, or attempt to put a motor vehicle in motion, whilst a prescribed drug is in his or her oral fluid or blood. Examples of prescribed drugs include THC (found in cannabis), methylamphetamine and amphetamines, and MDMA (ecstasy).

Summary Offence

This is a summary offence and will be dealt with in the Magistrates Court of South Australia.

What the prosecution must prove

The prosecution must prove:

  • that you drove a motor vehicle, or attempted to drive a motor vehicle;
  • the motor vehicle was on a road; and
  • you had a prescribed drug in your oral fluid or blood at the time of driving.

Defences to drug driving

There are a range of possible defences including, but not limited to, the following:

  • You were not driving;
  • Defective testing apparatus;
  • You did not knowingly consume the drug;
  • You consumed the drug between the time of driving and the test;
  • Police failed to comply with their legal obligations.

Pleading guilty

Deciding whether or not to plead guilty has significant implications and should be made after discussing your case with our lawyers. If you decide to plead guilty to the offence of drug driving our lawyers can assist you to get the best possible result.

Penalties for drug driving

The penalty imposed for drug driving varies depending on whether or not you have committed a prior drug driving offence.

  • First drug driving offence: $900 fine, a minimum 3 month driver's licence disqualification and 4 demerit points.
  • Second drug driving offence: $1,200 fine, a minimum 6 month driver's licence disqualification and 4 demerit points.
  • Third drug driving offence: $1,800 fine, a minimum 12 month driver's licence disqualification and 4 demerit points.

It may be possible to reduce the penalty imposed, particularly the driver's licence disqualification period or demerit points, if we can prove that the drug driving offence was trifling.

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