Drink Driving (DUI) Penalties QLD

Intoxicated driving is dangerous and affects your ability to drive, thus increasing the likelihood of an accident.

Queensland police officers can also pull you over for a random roadside saliva test to detect any presence of relevant drugs, just as they do with breath tests for alcohol. It is possible to be tested at random breath test sites as well as at targeted drug test sites. If a police officer suspects you are driving under the influence of drugs, he or she can also pull you over and test you.

Relevant drugs that are tested

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

  • Methylamphetamine—also known as speed and ice

  • MDMA—the active ingredient in ecstasy

  • THC—the active ingredient in cannabis.

The drugs listed here are relevant to the legislation.

How the testing process works

You’ll have to take a saliva test and it’ll take 3 to 5 minutes. Saliva tests are only used for drug detection, and they get destroyed once they’re done. If you can’t provide a saliva sample, you might have to give a blood sample.

The results of your saliva test will either be:

  • Negative result: no drugs were detected, so you can continue your journey

  • positive result—this means drugs have been detected.

A positive drug test result will require you to provide a second saliva sample for a second test. If the second test result is also positive, the samples will be analyzed in a laboratory.

A saliva test is used to detect the active ingredient in a drug and is based on several factors, including:

  • type of drug taken

  • quantity and quality of drug

  • frequency of drug use

  • period of time since taking the drug.

Penalties for drug driving

Drivers who are under the influence of a relevant drug are subject to a zero tolerance policy. Any trace of a relevant drug in your system is punishable.

A saliva analysis is used to identify drivers who are driving while under the influence of a relevant drug.

A positive drug test will result in the suspension of your driving privileges for 24 hours.

Your driver license will remain valid until the charge is resolved by a court, is withdrawn or otherwise terminated, if you are charged with driving while under the influence of an illicit drug and you do not have any pending drug driving charges.

In the event that you have pending drug driving charges and are charged with driving with a relevant drug present, your license will be suspended immediately until your court date.

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 $2,167

  • impose a maximum term of imprisonment up to 3 months.

Driving under the influence of liquor or a drug

Police officers may require you to provide a specimen of blood for analysis if they reasonably suspect that your driving ability has been impaired by any drug. If you fail to provide a specimen, or if a drug is detected in your blood, you will be charged with driving under the influence.

In the event that you are charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol or a drug, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended until you have resolved the charge.

  • by a court

  • is withdrawn or otherwise discontinued

  • or you are issued with a court order permitting you to drive until your court hearing.

If you are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the magistrate may:

  • disqualify you from driving for up to 6 months

  • fine you up to $4,334

  • impose a maximum term of imprisonment up to 9 months.

Upon conviction for a repeat drug driving offense (you have been previously convicted of a drug driving offense within the past five years), the court may:

  • disqualify you from driving for up to 2 years

  • fine you up to $9,288

  • impose a term of imprisonment for a period of time determined by the court.

The penalties for failure to provide a specimen of saliva for testing range from a fine of up to $6,192 up to a maximum of six months in prison. Your penalties may also be the same as if you were charged with driving under the influence.

Prescription and other drugs

You should never drive:

  • after taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can affect your driving

  • after taking illegal drugs.

Depending on what type of drug you consume, the effects on your brain and body can vary. Legal as well as illegal drugs can affect your reaction time, judgement, perception, attention, and motor skills, which are all necessary for safe driving.

It is important to consult your doctor or pharmacist regularly in order to discuss:

  • The impact of any medication you are taking on your driving ability

  • If you are experiencing any adverse effects from your medications, please let us know

  • If you are taking any new medications or have changed your dosage

  • Any medication you are taking may have warning labels or potential effects on your ability to drive safely (as well as on other common activities).

  • It is important to note that any other medications you are taking at the same time may affect your ability to drive (e.g. you may be able to drive when taking one medication, but not if you are taking both).

  • Taking medications while drinking alcohol

  • how to use and store your medication

  • In the event that you miss a dose of your medication, here is what you should do

  • The appropriate time to stop taking your medication.

For a period of time following the start of a new drug treatment, you may want to consider alternative transportation options, such as asking someone for a lift, taking public transportation, or booking an alternative transportation service. Your doctor will be able to consult with you as necessary as you will be able to monitor the effects.

Remember that it is not just prescription drugs that can affect your ability to drive safely. Over the counter medicines and herbal remedies, some of which can be available in supermarkets, can also affect your driving. Read all warning labels and if in doubt seek medical advice.