Case Study: Drive Whilst Disqualified and Drug driving offences
Updated: May 8
Date & location
January and February 2021, eastern suburbs.
Ringwood Magistrates' Court
Facts & penalties for offences
Our client was intercepted by police in late January 2021. At the time of the police intercept she had a traffic infringement for Drug Driving (Drive exceed prescribed concentration of drug). That prior matter was an infringement notice that carried 6 months license disqualification and a requirement to complete a drug driver education program (precondition to getting her license back). Our client had failed to complete the drug driver education program due to several personal issues, and her license was disqualified.
In addition, she was subject to an oral drug test, and subsequent testing revealed that she had MDMA in her system.
She was not driving drug impaired, and there was no suggestion in the prosecution brief that erratic driving had caused the police to stop her vehicle. She told the investigating officers that she had consumed the drug the day before.
Unlike our drink driving laws, drug driving offences, do not require the prosecution to establish the presence of a prohibited substance to a prescribed level. Any concentration of a prohibited substance (for example MDMA, cannabis) will render a driver liable to a penalty which includes mandatory license disqualification.
Consequently, from this incident in late January she was charged with Drive exceed prescribed concentration of drug, and Drive whilst license disqualified.
The penalties for Drive whilst disqualified under section 30 of the Road Safety Act 1986 (Vic) is 240 penalty units, or 2 years imprisonment.
The penalties for Drive exceed prescribed concentration of drug, under either s. 49(1)(bb) or 49(1)(h) of the Road Safety Act are 12 penalty units (first offence), and 60 penalty units for a second offence.
License suspension is discretionary for Drive whilst license disqualified offences, whereas for Drug driving offences under either s. 49(1)(bb) or 49(1)(hh), a minimum mandatory license disqualification of 6 months applies (first offence), and 12 months (subsequent offence).
The positive drug test for our client's second drug driving offence within 6 months brought into play a mandatory disqualification of 12 months.
In February 2021, our client was charged with driving again, and consequently charged with Drive whilst disqualified.
How case resolved
Our client instructed our office to have both cases consolidated at Ringwood Magistrates Court. Our client pleaded guilty to 2 charges of drive whilst disqualified (separate occasions), and a charge of Drive whilst exceeding prescribed concentration of drug.
After a plea in mitigation, in which the circumstances of the offending were explained in full, and various materials submitted to the Court that demonstrated other positive aspects of our client's character, the Magistrate recorded a conviction, and fined our client $1300 for all traffic offences, and given the timing of the offences, imposed a period of 15 months disqualification
Early advice and preparation enchances your prospects
It is always a good idea to discuss how to best prepare for a court apperance for traffic offences with an experienced criminal defence lawyer. Shaun Pascoe, the Director of Pascoe Criminal Law has been recognised in Doyle's Guide for leading criminal lawyers for two consecutive years (2020 and 2021) as a recommended criminal defence lawyer and traffic lawyer. Shaun Pascoe is also a Law Institute Accredited Criminal Law Specialist. If you require advice don't hestitate to call our office on (03) 9668 7600 or contact us directly through an email query.