Drug Driving Offences in the ACT - Armstrong Legal Canberra

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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Drug Driving

The most common drug-driving charge is driving with a prescribed drug in oral fluid or blood. Drug testing shows only the presence of certain drugs in a driver’s system, not the amount, or if there was any impairment caused by the drugs.

What must be proven

The offence of driving with a prescribed drug in your system is similar to a drink-driving offence in that all is required to convict of the offence is for police to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were:

  1. driving, or were a driver trainer in a motor vehicle;
  2. on a road or road-related area; and
  3. you tested positive for a prescribed drug.

Prescribed drugs are defined as:

  • Methylamphetamine;
  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (more commonly known as THC, or cannabis);
  • N,α-Dimethyl-3,4-(Methylenedioxy)phenylethylamine (more commonly known as MDMA).

A person can be randomly asked to submit to an oral fluid test for drugs. Random oral testing for drugs such as cannabis can detect the presence of this drug many hours after use. Urines tests can show this drug weeks after use.


For a first offence, a driver faces a maximum fine of 10 penalty units ($1600) and an automatic disqualification from driving for 3 years. A repeat offender faces a maximum fine of 25 penalty units ($4000), imprisonment for 3 months, or both, and an automatic disqualification from driving for five years. If the offender is a driver trainer, they face a fine of 20 penalty units ($3200).

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal. 

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