Use Vehicle Under the Influence of Drugs
The offence of use 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 a Vehicle Under the Influence
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.
- 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.
A “vehicle” is:
- 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.
“Applicable driver licence” is:
- 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 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 find a person guilty of use a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any other drug, the police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that they 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 for use vehicle under the influence of a drug.
Use Vehicle Under the Influence: Jurisdiction
This charge will be heard in the Local Court.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.