If you return a positive saliva test for any illegal drug in Queensland, you can be charged under the drug driving law. You may also required assistance to obtain a work license. The 2 most common offences for drug driving are:-
Driving under the influence of drugs (the most serious), and Driving while a relevant drug is in your saliva or blood.
The presence of drugs is usually detected at a roadside test, in much the same way as alcohol during a RBT. Like drink driving failure to supply a specimen of saliva is an offence.
If the first saliva test indicates a positive reading then you will normally be asked to undertake a second saliva test. It that test also returns a positive result then your licence will be suspended for 24 hours. Don’t drive during that time. Like drink driving, driving while your licence is suspended normally results in additional charges.
Police can ask you to undertake a blood test if police reasonably suspect that you have been driving or in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of a drug.
A maximum penalty of 14 penalty units applies. (a penalty unit is currently $133.45 but subject to change). A compulsory disqualification period of 1 month applies. The maximum allowable is 9 months disqualification.
A work licence is not guaranteed. Each application for a work licence is considered on its own merits.
If you are charged with driving or being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs you cannot get a work licence. If you are charged with driving or being in charge of a vehicle with a relevant drug in your saliva or blood, you may be able to get a work licence.
The offence of being in charge of a vehicle means that while you are not driving, you are still in charge of the vehicle. If, for example, you pull the car over for a nap, but leave the keys in the ignition, then you are in charge of the vehicle.
The procedure to obtain a work licence is relatively straightforward. You cannot however plead guilty to the drug driving offence and decide at a later date, that you need a work licence. The drug driving charge and application for a work licence must be heard by a magistrate at the same time. You cannot get a work licence if you have been convicted of drug driving or drink driving in the last 5 years.
The procedure for a work licence is much the same as for a work licence if you had been caught drink driving.
You must make an application to the court and provide affidavits in support of your application. The application must set out your work details including travel days and time, type of work, work responsibilities, etc. If you are employed then you should get an affidavit from your employer and your employer should also attend court on the hearing date.
A court order that you get a work licence does not mean that you can get in your car and drive away from the courthouse. You need to take the court order to the Department of Transport for an actual licence to issue.
If the nature of your work means that you require a work licence for lengthy hours daily or even 7 days a week (as happens with flight attendants), then the amount of your fine and duration of the work licence are going to be higher than a person with a 9-5 job.
This is a general overview only. For more detailed information please contact our office.