Drug Driving – Driving while relevant drug is present

Professional Slide

What is the offence of driving while relevant drug present?

A person must not drive a motor vehicle on a road while they have a relevant drug present in their system.

Queensland police officers can ask you to provide a saliva sample at a roadside drug test to detect the presence of the following substances, known as relevant drugs:

  • Methamphetamine—also known as speed and ice.
  • MDMA—the active ingredient in ecstasy.
  • THC—the active ingredient in cannabis.

What is the penalty?

There is zero tolerance for driving with a relevant drug present. The police only need to establish that there is a relevant drug present at the time of testing.  They are not required to demonstrate that your driving was impaired as a consequence or even the effect of the relevant drug on your driving.

A positive test for a relevant drug will result in your driver licence being suspended for 24 hours.

When dealing with your charge of driving with a relevant drug present, a magistrate may:

  • disqualify you from driving for between 1 to 9 months
  • fine you up to $1,706
  • impose a maximum term of imprisonment up to 3 months.

Alternatively, view penalties for charges involving drug driving while under the influence of a drug.

What does the court take into account in sentencing?

There are a number of factors that the court will take into account when determining the appropriate penalty. They include:

  • The reason for your driving at the time of the offence.
  • Your previous traffic history
  • Was the unlicensed driving associated with the commission of another offence?
  • Your personal circumstances.
  • Any other circumstances the Court considers relevant.

Frequently asked questions.

Q. Do the Courts consider driving with a  relevant drug present to be a serious offence?
A: While the offence is not as serious as driving while under the influence of drugs, the rising Queensland road toll nonetheless means that Magistrates are taking a zero tolerance approach to the offence. For a first offence, you would expect a fine and a period of disqualification. Subsequent offences can result in longer disqualification periods and may attract imprisonment of up to three months.

Q: If I am convicted of driving with a relevant drug present am I able to apply for a work license?
A: If you are charged with driving or being in charge of a vehicle with a relevant drug in your saliva or blood, then you may be able to get a work licence.  You should be aware that the application must be made at the time you appear in the court to plead guilty, it cannot be done afterwards.  Visit our work licence page for more details.

Q: Can I refuse a roadside drug test?
No, it is a criminal offence to refuse to provide a sample of your saliva to a police officer upon request. Refusing to participate in a roadside drug test will always do you more harm than good.

You Can Benefit From Our Experience.

If you are facing drug driving charges, an experienced Gatenby Lawyer will provide you with:

  • Expert legal advice about your eligibility for a work licence.
  • The necessary steps to minimise any penalties imposed.
  • Expert advice about the strength of the prosecution’s case.
  • A lawyer who will attend court with you.
  • Years of experience minimising the charges that come with drug driving convictions.
  • A skilled criminal lawyer who will communicate your case in a skilled manner and present persuasive information that is designed to minimise your charges.

Contact Us

Contact our experienced law firm for advice immediately following a drug driving charge on the Gold Coast or in Brisbane by calling (07) 5580 0120 or sending us a message online.

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