Drug Driving Laws in NSW: Understanding the Legal Implications of Cannabis Use and Mistakes

It has been a tiring week in New South Wales (NSW), and on Friday night, you decide to take some cannabis. The next morning, you don’t feel high anymore, so you think it’s safe to get behind the wheel to get brunch with friends. But are you really legally safe?

The intake of cannabis while driving is unlawful in New South Wales, and one cannot use the factor of ignorance as an excuse. Even if you are too high, cannabis affects the ability to drive for hours after vaporising, and this increases the risk of a positive drug test.

The repercussions of a drug driving offence are pretty stiff – a very strong financial penalty, license suspension and possible imprisonment in certain circumstances. It has the potential of giving you a lifetime regret and or damaging your corporate career.

In this blog, you will get a clear insight into the NSW drug driving laws, with a particular focus on cannabis. It will give details of the legal approval, legal consequences, dangers of driving under the influence and the effects of cannabis last longer. Legal pitfalls will be checked with case examples to prevent unintentionally touching on areas of the law. Understanding these laws will help you make the correct decisions behind the car that will protect your life.

Understanding Drug Driving Laws in NSW

New South Wales police can legally carry out tests called Random Drug Tests in an effort to detect prohibited substances that will have an impact on the ability of the driver to drive safely on the road, like:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • MDMA or any other substance

Drug driving offences, as outlined in section 111 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW), are related to the detection of illegal substances in the blood samples of the defendants, regardless of whether their driving ability was impaired or not.

To summarise, the sanctions for drug driving vary in accordance with several factors. This is an offence that comes with the cancellation of your license in case you are caught.

  • For first-time drug driving offenders to be charged a 3-month license disqualification and a $572 fine, irrespective of quantity, but the offenders don’t go to court.
  • The disputed matter could cost $2,200 and a 6-month ban, although this is improbable as of a recent decision.
  • Subsequent occurrences attract a fine of an amount not exceeding $3,300 and a disqualification of the license for one year.

In Australia, having a criminal record is a disadvantage since the record stays with a person forever, and one loses most of their rights, which are civil liberties like employment, immigration, and travel. The law of NSW allows the court to dismiss a charge against the accused person without rendering a conviction for drug driving offences under Section 10.

That is why it is most prudent to consult a drug-driving lawyer in Sydney to help you fight such an ordeal and minimise the impacts of a conviction on your life and your livelihood.

Medical Marijuana and NSW Driving

Even if Australia has now legalised medicinal marijuana, driving a vehicle where THC was detected in the driver’s blood remains prohibited in most of the states of the country, including NSW. It means that regardless of the state’s medical marijuana laws, there is always going to be a chance that even when you are legally using marijuana due to a doctor’s prescription, you can still be legally considered guilty of drug driving.

There is absolutely no lawful justification for being behind the wheel while containing THC in your system in New South Wales, despite it being legal to use medical marijuana. The patient should seek legal advice from their doctor and lawyer before agreeing to anything.

Australian criminal lawyers can advise on how to handle the best legal frameworks surrounding drug driving in Sydney while in the use of medical marijuana. They can assist you in gaining clarity with respect to your rights and the possibilities that are available to you.

Navigating the Complexities with Expert Advice

In many situations, it becomes almost impossible to handle a drug-driving case or even any case of the law without some help. In order to adequately defend yourself, it is necessary to involve an experienced drug driving lawyers in sydney.

It is noteworthy that criminal lawyers can use a number of tactics while defending charges of drug driving; this can range from questioning the validity of the test employed to seeking a non-conviction order. They can also assist in making findings and witnesses in the case that is being presented to the court.

The professional team of lawyers can reduce the sanctions that await you and ensure the maximum legal defence. They can represent you and make sure that justice has been served for your sake.

Seeking Counsel from Criminal Law Firms in Sydney

Criminal law firms that have been in operation for some time can give proper legal advice and representation on drug driving issues. They can explain the section of the law you have violated and the possible defences, and assist in coming up with a good defence plan.

In NSW, there have been major situations where legal representation has played a key role in ensuring people’s rights during drug driving incidents.

  • In an appeal of the case Police vs Joseph Carrall (2016), a driver was acquitted of cannabis driving, even though he tested positive, as he waited over a week to drive after using it in consultation with a police officer. It demonstrates the unfairness of the NSW drug driving laws that are only for the presence of prohibited drugs in a driver’s system, while alcohol testing is based on the impairment level. This move also helped the ruling reveal the shortcomings of such laws and the cases of wrong judgements made possible by them.
  • In the 2017 case of Police vs Sheree McKenzie, the accused, who used medicinal cannabis, claiming it helped her cure cancer, was charged with cannabis driving in April 2016 before the substance was legal in Australia. Magistrate Heilpern further pointed out that while Section 111 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) is self-explanatory, Section 112 is different because even with drugs in the system, one must prove impairment. It is evident that Section 111 has certain penalties, like the cancellation of one’s license or fines, but Section 112 has the added penalty of imprisonment. The case has left McKenzie not guilty because the prosecution did not make a good effort to dispute her side of the story, as Heilpern noted.

If ever you were charged with drug-related driving offences, here at Oxford Lawyers, we do acknowledge how greatly it can affect your life. Our criminal lawyers are highly skilled and do not rest until everything is done to defend you and your rights. We do everything within our power to assist you in getting the most favourable result for the case; it can be reducing the penalties you have to pay or even escaping a conviction at all costs. Get in touch with our lawyers for advice on your drug driving case in NSW.

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