Use or Attempted Use of a Vehicle Under the Influence of Drugs


The offence of use or attempted use of a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any other drug is committed by a person who drives a motor vehicle, attempts to use a motor vehicle or occupies a seat in or on a motor vehicle next to a learner driver who is driving a vehicle on a public road whilst under the influence of a drug or combination of drugs.

Following the recording of a criminal conviction the maximum penalty for a first offender is imprisonment for 18 months, a fine of 30 penalty units and automatic licence disqualification for 13 years. The maximum penalty for a repeat following the recording of a criminal conviction within 5 years is imprisonment for 2 years, a fine of 50 penalty units and automatic licence disqualification for 5 years.

The Offence of Use or Attempted Use of a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol or Any Other Drug:

The offence of use or attempted use of a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any other drug is set out in section 112 of the Road Transport Act 2013 which states:

A person must not, while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug:

  • drive a vehicle, or
  • occupy the driving seat of a vehicle and attempt to put the vehicle in motion, or
  • 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.

How Is “Drive” Defined?

Section 4 of the Road Transport Act 2013 defines drive:

Drive includes:

  • be in control of the steering, movement or propulsion of a vehicle; and
  • in relation to a trailer, draw or tow the trailer; and
  • ride a vehicle.

What Is A “Vehicle” Described As?

A vehicle is defined in section 4 of the Road Transport Act 2013:

  • Any description of vehicle on wheels (including a light rail vehicle) but not including any other vehicle used on a railway or tramway, or
  • Any description of tracked vehicle (such as a bulldozer), or any description of vehicle that moves on revolving runners inside endless tracks, that is not used exclusively on a railway or tramway, or
  • Any other description of vehicle prescribed by the statutory rules.

What Is as “Applicable Driver Licence”?

Section 107 of the Road Transport Act 2013 defines an applicable driver licence:

  • a licence (however described) issued under a law in force in any jurisdiction authorising the holder to drive one or more classes of motor vehicle on a road;
  • a driver licence receipt for a licence referred to in paragraph (a);
  • a foreign driver licence.

The term “driver licence receipt” is defined in section 4 (1) of the Road Transport Act 2013 to mean a receipt that:

  • is issued following an application for an Australian driver licence and after payment of any applicable fee, and
  • authorises the holder to drive one or more classes of motor vehicle on a road or road related area.

What the Police Must Prove:

To convict you of “use or attempted use of a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any other drug”, the Police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were under the influence of:

  • A drug described in the court attendance notice, or
  • A combination of drugs any one or more of which was or were described in the court attendance notice.

Is It Possible to Avoid a Criminal Record?

It may be possible to avoid a criminal record if you are afforded the leniency of a section 10 non conviction order.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

This charge will be heard in the Local Court.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Represent Me?

It is your choice whether to represent yourself or whether to have a solicitor represent you in court. If you are worried about a criminal conviction or loss of licence, we would advise having a solicitor represent you. For someone who is unfamiliar with the court system, having to navigate a drink driving charge can be daunting. Our solicitors specialise in these matters and will use their experience and expertise to lead you through the process to the best possible outcome.

WHERE TO NEXT?

In NSW, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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