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Types of Drug Driving Offences and Their Penalties

There are various types of drug driving offences in Victoria for which the penalties differ. One type of drug driving offence is driving with more drugs than prescribed.

With this offence, the police is under suspicion that the offender is driving under the influence of drugs but the blood test does not show any illicit drugs.

The police will conduct a physical assessment by on the spot talking to the offender and observation of the offender’s movements, balance and coordination. If it is a first time offence for the offender, the police will just issue a traffic infringement notice.

However, if the offender contests the notice then he will have to go to court. The danger with going to court is if the offender is convicted he is liable for stiffer penalties like a fine of 12 penalty units.

If the blood or urine test of a suspect shows illicit drugs then he may be charged with the offence of driving while impaired. A first offence will usually merit only a traffic infringement notice.

However, if the offender wishes to pursue the matter in court he will have to defend himself against the charge. If the offender is found guilty, the court will impose a fine of 12 penalty units.

The third type of drug driving offence is driving while under the influence of drugs. The difference with this type of offence from the driving while impaired offence is that in the former could not control his vehicle, thereby making him more dangerous to the community. For first time offenders the police will most likely only issue a traffic infringement notice. The penalty for this offence that may be imposed by the magistrate is 12 penalty units.

The fourth type of drug driving offence is refusal to undergo a drug test or provide a sample of urine, saliva and blood. The penalty for such refusal that may be imposed the magistrate is a fine of 12 penalty units. The 12 penalty units will only be imposed if the offender is found guilty because he chose to bring the matter to the court.

In all types of drug driving offences traffic infringement notices will not be issued for subsequent offences. Also, the penalties will be harsher for subsequent offenders which might include jail time.

Penalties for roadside drug screening offences

First offence - traffic infringement notice

Three penalty units fine.
Conviction and three months licence/permit suspension.

First offence - court

Up to 12 penalty units fine.
Minimum three months licence/permit cancellation.
Court may record a conviction.

Second offence - court

Up to 60 penalty units fine.
Minimum six months licence/permit cancellation.
Court may record a conviction.

Subsequent offences - court

Up to 120 penalty units fine.
Minimum six months licence/permit cancellation.
Court may record a conviction.

In 2012 - 2013, one penalty unit is $140.84.

Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.

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