Drug driving

As of December 2009 driving while under the influence of any drug is now an offence in Queensland. Random roadside drug testing takes place in conjunction with RBT’s all across Queensland.

These drug tests are conducted similarly to RBTs. The tests are mostly done through an oral saliva test, however they can be conducted through a blood drug test or a urine drug test if you are unable to provide a saliva sample.

To test for drug driving Queensland Police will ask for a saliva sample for the purpose of testing for:

  • THC – active ingredient in cannabis;
  • Methylamphetamine – also known as speed and ice; and
  • MDMA – the active ingredient in ecstasy.

The Queensland Police website states that even though methamphetamine is manufactured from substances such as pseudoephedrine (found in cold and flu tablets) those substances will not be detected by the saliva tests.

If the preliminary saliva test is negative you will be free to go immediately. If a drug is detected in your system (positive result) you will be taken to a police station for a second saliva test. If the second test is again positive for drugs your driver’s license will be suspended for 24 hours. The remaining saliva sample will be sent to a laboratory and following the result you will be notified and charged with a traffic offence for drug driving.

If the results of a drug driving test comes back positive it is irrelevant whether your driving was affected by having illicit drugs in your system. This means that for example, if you consume marijuana a couple of weeks before being tested you will still be charged with drug driving if the results are positive (marijuana stays in your system for 40 days). However, saliva tests are designed only to react to the active ingredient of a drug. Therefore the period in which drugs can be detected varies depending on quality and quantity of the drug that has been ingested, the period of time since taking the drug and the frequency of use of the drug.

There is a strictly zero tolerance with drug driving. If ANY traces of illicit drugs are found in your system you will be penalised. For a first offence the penalty is a maximum fine of $1,400 and up to nine months disqualification of your license.

It is not only illicit drugs that are tested for. If a police officer believes that your driving has been impaired by prescription or other drugs you will be required to undertake a drug test. This will be in the form of a blood sample. If the results show there are traces of drugs in your system you will, like any other drug driving charge, face possible fines, license disqualification and imprisonment and will have to appear in court.

If you are charged with driving or being in charge of a vehicle with cannabis, ecstasy or ICE in your saliva or blood (but not with driving or being in charge or a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, which is a more serious charge), then you may be able to get a work licence but this must be done at the time you appear in the court to plead guilty, it cannot be done afterwards.  Visit our article on drug driving and work licences for more information on applying for a work licence if charged with drug driving.

Well thought out submissions and arguments before a Magistrate can in our experience significantly reduce the length of your disqualification.  There are a number of factors that can lead a magistrate to impose the lowest penalty possible, we know them all.


Here at Clarity Law we appear each week in the courts with people charged with drug driving, it is this experience that allows us to get the best result for clients.  Other law firms simply dont have the experience that we do and dont know the judges like we do.  We also offer one of the most competitive prices for drugdriving charges in Queensland click here to see what we will charge.  If you want to engage us or just need further information or advice then you can either;

  1. Use our contact form,
  2. Call us on 1300 952 255 seven days a week, 7am to 8pm