What is drive with a prescribed illicit drug?

This is offence is committed if the presence of one of the following prescribed illicit drugs has been detected in your blood, urine or oral fluid:

  • Cocaine
  • Methylamphetamine (speed/ice)
  • 3,4-Methyl​enedioxy-​methamphetamine (ecstacy/MDMA)
  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (a cannabinoid found in cannabis – Active THC)

The mere presence of a prescribed illicit drug in your system is sufficient to trigger this charge. Driving under the influence of a drug is a separate charge that may also be laid.

The quantity of the drug in your system has no impact or bearing on the charge of drive with prescribed illicit drug.

How is driving with prescribed illicit drug detected?

Police usually perform two tests of your saliva as follows:

  • A roadside swab test.
  • A test on equipment contained at a police station or on an RBT bus, if you tested positive to the first test.
    • A positive result to either of the above tests will result in a 48-hour suspension from driving.
    • A positive or negative result to Test 2 will be confirmed in 6 weeks through comprehensive laboratory testing. If the laboratory result is positive, you will be issued with either a Penalty Notice or a Court Attendance notice.

Advice: Have your own forensic toxicologist perform a test immediately, or the next day, if possible.

What happens after I am detected with driving with prescribed illicit drug?

One of two things may happen:

  • Police may issue you with a Penalty Notice, requiring you to pay a fine.
    • If you pay your fine, court attendance is not necessary. No criminal conviction will be recorded, and the matter only appears on a traffic history.
    • After the fine on the Penalty Notice has been paid, TFNSW will issue you with a 3-month suspension that commences on the date advised on the suspension notice.
    • A Penalty Notice provides an option to elect to have the matter heard at court. You will then be mailed a Court Attendance Notice.
  • Police may issue you with a Court Attendance Notice instead of a Penalty Notice, requiring you to attend court on the date specified on the notice.
    • This is a police discretion that is usually reserved for repeat offenders.

What are my options?

What are the penalties or outcomes available?

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