Driving Under the Influence of Drugs


Driving under the influence of drugs pursuant to section 111 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) ’Act’ is an offence. A person must not drive a vehicle with the presence of prescribed illicit drug in oral fluid, blood or urine. The maximum penalty for the offence is 20 penalty units ($2,200) for a first-time offender or 30 penalty units ($3,300) for a second or subsequent offender.[1]

What is a prescribed drug?

The term prescribed drug in the Act according to section 4 means any of the following:

(a) delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC),

(b) methylamphetamine (also known as speed),

(c) 3,4-methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (also known as ecstasy),

(d) cocaine.[2]


What is a vehicle?

The term vehicle in the Act according to section 4 includes:

  1. Any vehicle on wheels but not including vehicle used on railway or tramway, or
  2. Any tracked vehicle (such as bulldozer)


To be convicted, what do the police need to show?

In order to be convicted the police beyond reasonable doubt need to show that you fulfilled the elements of driving under the influence of drugs offence. The elements for this offence are:

  1. Presence of prescribed drug in oral fluid, blood or urine
  2. Driving a motor vehicle.[3]


How do the police conduct drug testing?

Police use saliva swabbing and drug screening equipment to detect prohibited drugs in your system. If you record a positive test result you will be required to undertake a second test that will be sent to a laboratory for analysis. If a subsequent positive result is recorded, you can be charged under section 111 of the Act.


What is the penalty?

If this is the first time you have been charged with driving with a prohibited drug in your system in the past 5 years, the police can issue you will a penalty notice. A penalty notice is an on the spot fine, whereby you do not need to attend court. If you opt to pay the fine and not appeal it, the Roads and Maritime Service will suspend your licence for 3 months.[4]

If you are choosing to challenge the fine, you can find guiding information on the penalty notice. Alternatively, you could contact Walker Criminal Lawyer’s and have a skilful lawyer not only walk you through the process but represent you in court as well.


[1] Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) s 111.

[2] Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) s 4.

[3] Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) s 111.

[4] Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) s 111.

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* Information contained in this article is of a general nature only and should not be relied upon as concise legal advice.
Please contact us for legal advice tailored to your situation. *

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