Drug Driving – What You Need to Know

Drug Driving - What You Need to Know

You already know that drug driving is illegal, but do you know all the facts?

My name is Dave and I’m going to discuss three important facts about drug driving offences that you probably had no idea about.

First, I want to talk about the difference between drink driving offences and drug driving offences.

For most Queensland licence holders, you’re allowed to drive with a small amount of alcohol in your body. As long as you’re below the legal limit of 0.05%, you’re fine.

But when it comes to drug driving, the laws are completely different.

It doesn’t matter whether you hold a Learner licence or an Open licence – there is no allowable limit when it comes to driving with illegal drugs in your system.  If the police find any illegal drugs in your saliva or blood, you’ve committed a drug driving offence and you will be charged and taken to court. This offence is known as driving with a relevant drug in your system.

This is important because, unlike alcohol which usually leaves your body within a day or so, drugs can stay in your body for days or even weeks. There are even some studies that say cannabis has been found in people’s blood 25 days after they last used it.

So if you’ve been using drugs, don’t assume that you can just wait 24 hours and then you’ll be fine to drive. The chances are actually pretty high that you’ll still have the drugs in your saliva or blood, resulting in a positive drug test.

Another thing that you probably don’t know is that there is also a high-range drug driving offence, even though there are no legal limits like with drink driving offences.

If you take drugs and this influences the way that you drive, you can be charged with driving under the influence of drugs. This is the equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or above.

There is a big difference between the two drug driving offences. If you are charged just with having drugs present in your system, your licence disqualification may be as low as one month and you might be able to apply for a work licence.

However, if you’re charged with driving under the influence of a drug, the minimum disqualification is six months and you cannot apply for a work licence.

The last thing I want to discuss about drug driving is that it doesn’t just apply to illegal drugs.

Most people don’t know but drug saliva tests only check for 3 types of drugs:

  • Methylamphetamine, which is commonly known as speed or ice
  • MDMA – which is found in ecstasy; and
  • THC which is of course cannabis.

However importantly, you can also be charged with driving under the influence of prescription drugs.

This means that, even if you have a prescription for medication, you can be charged with an offence if you take too much of the medication or if it influences your ability to drive in some other way.

It is therefore extremely important that you only take the prescribed amount of any medication and in the way that it’s been prescribed to you. If you have any concerns about this, you should speak to your GP as soon as possible.

So what does this all mean?

Well, it means that there are plenty of laws out there that you probably don’t know about, which makes it really easy to commit an offence without even knowing that you’re doing anything wrong.

The best way to avoid a drug driving offence is of course to not use drugs. However, if you’ve been caught drug driving, the next best thing to do is to contact a criminal lawyer.

I hope that this has been useful for you. If you want to stay up to date with Queensland drug driving laws, make sure you subscribe.

Until next time, stay safe.