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There is no element of impairment necessary for this offence. It is sufficient for the drug to be present in your system while you are driving a vehicle. Many people, particularly after smoking marijuana, can be caught days later with traces of the drug still in their system.
Police drug testing of drivers is normally via a simple “lick” test conducted at a roadside stop.
It is often the case that police do not abide by the strict rules and procedures governing these types of roadside tests and many cases are dropped as a result. There are also defences such as honest and reasonable mistake and whether you were forced to drive under duress or due to necessity.
For a first offence, the maximum penalty is a fine of $2,200 and a 6 month licence disqualification, which the court can reduce to a minimum of 3 months.
Use or attempt to use a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any other drug
A person must not use or attempt to use a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any other drug.
Section 112 of the Road Transport Act 2013 which states:
A person must not, while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug:
- drive a vehicle, or
- Occupy the driving seat of a vehicle and attempt to put the vehicle in motion, or
- If the person is the holder of an applicable driver licence (other than an applicable provisional licence or applicable learner licence)-occupy the seat in or on a motor vehicle next to a learner driver who is driving the vehicle.
“Vehicle” is described in the Road Transport Act 2013 section 4 as is the word “drive”.
You are guilty of an offence if you are in the passenger seat supervising an L plater while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The maximum penalty for a first offender is imprisonment for 18 months, a fine of 30 penalty units and automatic licence disqualification for 13 years. If you offend again within five years, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 2 years, a fine of 50 penalty units and automatic licence disqualification for 5 years.
This will appear on your criminal record. With good legal representation you may be able to have the matter dealt with by way of a section 10 non-conviction order.