Criminal Offences

Drug Driving Lawyers

Driving under the influence of prohibited drugs is a serious offence in state of NSW. The Court takes drug driving charges very seriously as the influence of substances while driving can endanger the life of others. Furthermore, the possession of illegal substances can negatively impact the community, and as a result drug related offences attract significant penalties. If individuals are convicted of drug driving, they will be subject to a criminal conviction and will be liable to punishment before a Court.

In NSW, the Police have the power to pull drivers over and ask to participate in a mobile drug test (MDT). This test can detect a number of substances including the commonly used drugs such as cannabis, methylamphetamine, ecstasy, morphine and cocaine. In this instance, the Officer will ask the driver to lick a test pad and if a positive result is returned, the driver will be required to undertake an additional oral fluid test for more accuracy. If the initial test warranted a positive result, a driver’s licence will be suspended for approximately 24-48 hours while the oral fluid test is sent away for testing in a laboratory.

If the driver’s oral fluid is returned to the Police with a positive reading for drugs, a Court attendance notice will be issued, whereby the driver will be liable to an offence of Drug Driving as per section 112 of the Road Transport Act. This act states that:

  1. A person must not, while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug:
    1. Drive a vehicle, or
    2. Occupy the driving seat of a vehicle and attempt to put the vehicle in motion, or
    3. 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.
  1. A person is charged with an offence against subsection 1:
    1. The court attendance notice may allege the person was under the influence of more than one drug and is not liable to be dismissed on the ground of uncertainty or duplicity if each of those drugs is described in the Court attendance notice, and
    2. The offence is proved if the Court is satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was under the influence of:
      1. A drug described in the Court attendance notice, or
      2. A combination of drugs any one or more of which was or were described in the Court attendance notice

At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we have years of experience as drug driving lawyers. In order to obtain the best result possible, it is advised to seek legal representation from an experienced drug driving lawyer who has the time to provide you with honest and realistic advice.

Should you or someone you know be facing drug driving charges, contact our criminal law firm now to schedule a FREE consultation.

PENALTIES

Driving under the influence of drugs is a criminal offence as per section 112 of the Road Transport Act 2013 and is taken very seriously in NSW. In fact, individuals who are found guilty of drug driving are liable to a pay a fine of up to $1,100 and could have their licence automatic disqualified for a period of 3-6 months.

However, it is important to be aware that the Court has the ability to enforce less significant penalties in appropriate circumstances. The Court will deliberate on the severity of the particular offence, past criminal convictions, personal character and individual circumstances to determine whether an alternative penalty is sufficient. In fact, our drug driving and traffic infringement lawyers may be able to convince the Court that based on these factors, to not record a conviction for your drug driving charge. If we are successful, your matter will be dealt with the by the means of a section 10 dismissal, in which you have been found guilty, although the Court will not impose any penalties or record a conviction. Ultimately, this means that you will not be penalised and your licence will not be revoked.

Alternatively, if the Court determines that a section 10 dismissal is not sufficient relative to the offence, our criminal lawyers could also help to reduce the severity of the imposed penalties. Our drug driving lawyers can help to potentially reduce the period that your licence is suspended or minimise the fine that you face.

If you’re facing charges of driving under the influence of drugs, contact our expert criminal defence lawyers for a FREE first consultation to discuss more accurate advice pertinent to your specific matter. 

GUILTY

In order to be found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs, it is up to the Police to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you returned a positive result to drugs and when the test was administered you had been in control of a motor vehicle.

If you agree with these allegations and the Police is able to prove these elements, it may be ideal to plead guilty to the charge. If you choose to do so, the matter will proceed to sentencing, in which you will be liable to punishment before the Court.

Although it is true that you could be facing a penalty that could greatly impede your lifestyle, a guilty plea is often favoured in the Court as it demonstrates remorse for the unlawful activities you participated in. As a result, it is not uncommon to see the Court award less severe penalties as opposed to being found guilty otherwise. As a result of your guilty plea, the Court may also use their discretion to not convict you of the matter by the means of a section 10 dismissal. Alternatively, our Sydney based traffic lawyers may be able to negotiate a deal with the prosecution team, given you enter a guilty plea, in which sentencing will be greatly reduced.

At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we work closely with all the clients we represent and provide honest advice if it is in your best interest to plead guilty or not guilty. If you are facing charges relating to driving under the influence of drugs, call our traffic infringement lawyers immediately to schedule a FREE first consultation where we can provide tailored advice in relation to your specific matter.

NOT GUILTY

You also have the option to plead not guilty to the charge of drug driving, if you wish to do so. If this is the case, it is up to the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you did commit the offence. If it can be successfully proven, it is likely that you will be convicted as per the penalties listed above.

However, at Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, our criminal defence have achieved successful results for clients in such situations. In order to avoid conviction, we will challenge the allegations set our against you, by arguing the following defences and thoroughly cross-examining any evidence put forth to the Court. If we are able to successfully do this, the charges against you may be completely dismissed in which you will no longer be penalised. Our work may also result in a section 10 dismissal, whereby no conviction will be recorded and no penalties will be incurred. Alternatively, our defence strategy may result in reduced punishment, which is much more favourable in comparison to serving the maximum sentence.

For relevant advice in relation to whether you should plead guilty or not guilty, please do not hesitate to contact our Sydney based traffic lawyers for a FREE first consultation.

THE DEFENCE

In order to dismiss the allegations that you were involved in a drug driving offence, our expert traffic offence lawyers may argue the follow legal defences:

Honest and Reasonable Mistake: The Criminal Codes Act 1995 (Cth) defines circumstances in which a person will not be criminally responsible for particular offences. Under division 9, the Criminal Codes Act states:

9.1: Mistake of ignorance of the fact (fault elements other than negligence).

  1. A person is not criminally responsible for an offence that has a physical element for which there is fault element other than negligence if:
    1. at the time of the conduct constituting the physical element, the person is under a mistaken belief about, or is ignorant of, fact and
    2. the existence of that mistaken belief or ignorance negates any fault element applying to that physical element.
  2. In determining whether a person was under a mistaken belief about, or was ignorant of, fact, the tribunal of fact may consider whether the mistaken belief or ignorance was reasonable in the circumstances.

Therefore, it must be proven that there was a mistaken belief surrounding the incidence. A common example showcasing a reasonable and honest mistake of drug driving offences may be that food or drink was unknowingly spiked, which therefore resulted in positive drug test. This characters a reasonable mistaken belief in which the accused will be found not guilty of this particular charge.

Other: It is also a defence if it can be proven that the drugs taken were for medicinal purposed. For example, opioid medication which may contain controlled substances such as morphine are typically used for pain relief. These medications can sometimes trigger positive drug tests and although these prescription medications may have warnings in relation to driving, it is not prohibited. Therefore, it is a suitable defence for medicinal purposes that traces of such medication resulted in a positive test.

WHICH COURT?

The crime of driving under the influence of drugs will be typically dealt with at a Local Court. However, at Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, are traffic lawyers have experiencing in representing clients throughout Local, District and Supreme Courts in NSW. With a 90% success rate on the cases we have represented, clients can be confident that our team possess the experience, knowledge and dedication to achieve the best possible outcome, regardless of the Court your matter is brought before.

Should you or someone you know be facing charges relating to drug driving, do not hesitate to call our expert criminal defence lawyers to schedule a FREE consultation.