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Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of illicit substances

Driving under the influence of an illegal substance is prohibited in every Australian State. However, there are two ways in which you can be charged with a DUI. You can face charges for driving whilst being noticeably under the influence of drugs or you can face charges if an illicit substance is detected by blood, saliva or urine test.

These types of offences are taken very seriously by the police and criminal courts because of the danger that is posed to others when someone is driving under the influence of drugs. It is one of the most serious kinds of traffic offences and subsequently attracts the most severe penalties.


Penalties can range from an on-the-spot suspension of your driver’s licence, demerit points, or a fine. Penalties for driving offences are often handed out instantaneously and cannot be easily defended as they are strict liability offences.

Further, depending on the extent to which you were affected by illicit substances or how much was detected in your system, you may even face jail time. It’s in these sorts of cases where character references and pharmacological reports are important.

If you are a first time offender, a Judge may give you a section 10 which means that there will be no conviction recorded.

Strict Liability

A strict liability offence is an offence where a person’s intent to commit an offence is not a relevant factor in determining whether they are sanctioned for it. Rather, there is a presumption that a person is liable by doing the act itself.

For example, if you’re caught driving through a red light you won’t be exonerated because you claim it was an accident. If there’s evidence that it was done (such as on a camera), then you have to suffer the penalty. Most driving offences are considered strict liability offences because it is assumed that driver’s will always take adequate care on the roads, meaning that offences caused by negligence are also punishable.

By contrast, other offences require that the prosecution prove that the defendant both committed the criminal act, but also had the intention to do it.

What is a drug driving lawyer?

A drug driving lawyer assists clients who have been charged with the offence of driving under the influence of drugs. Our network of drug driving lawyers are skilled and experienced in dealing with these matters.

When will I need a drug driving lawyer?

A drug driving lawyer can assist you if you have been found to have driven under the influence of drugs after taking a Random Drug Test (RDT). This includes illicit substances such as cannabis, ecstasy or methylamphetamine. If you have caused an accident whilst driving under the influence of drugs, seeking advice from a drug driving lawyer is recommended.

If you have been charged with a drug offence whilst driving you should seek legal advice from a drug driving lawyer to ensure you are adequately prepared for the court proceedings and possible charges made against you. A drug driving lawyer can assist you when dealing with the criminal justice system to ensure you receive the best advice through this process.

What will a drug driving lawyer provide?

Drug driving lawyers are equipped with the skills and expertise to handle these matters, particularly in the criminal court process. A drug driving lawyer has experience dealing with the police, prosecutors and judges. Drug driving lawyers will be able to provide you with advice that is relevant to current laws.

A Drug Driving lawyer can assess the relevant factors in your case such as character, the extent to which you were affected by drugs and your previous driving history.

How much will a Drug Driving Lawyer charge?

Being charged with a drug driving offence can already have a devastating impact on your life without the burden of costly legal fees. Our aim at LawPath is to provide you with legal options that are efficient, affordable and tailored to your needs. We’ll provide you with fixed-price quotes from drug driving lawyers most suited to your individual situation. This means you are always aware of what the work will cost and can choose the solution which best meets your needs.

Hourly rates and Court fees

The cost of a Drug Driving Lawyer will vary based on the scope of the work. Small issues likely to be addressed quickly will cost less. For matters that will need to go court, there are additional Court fees associated with doing this, particularly as these disputes take time.

What can a Drug Driving Lawyer legally charge?

Costs can rise very quickly, especially in litigation. However, this is sometimes hard to avoid when work is being done by a lawyer on an hourly basis. Where fixed-fees are not offered by the lawyer, you should expect to be invoiced on a monthly basis. Lawyers are required to adhere to the rules outlined in the relevant acts. For example, in NSW and Victoria, this is the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014.

Lawyers are required to provide to their clients a document called a ‘costs disclosure’ if your costs will be higher than $750.00. This document will outline how costs will be calculated in relation to your case. Also be mindful that costs are divided into ‘professional costs’ and ‘disbursements’, and you will be expected to pay for both. Professional costs are the costs of the actual work done by the lawyer, whilst disbursements cover incidentals such as court filing fees, telephone calls, photocopying charges – amongst other things.

What if I don’t agree with the costs?

You have the right to request an itemised bill that will outline how much time was spent on each task in relation to your matter, and how this adds up to the fee you’re requested to pay. If you wish to dispute the cost, you can make a complaint to the The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) and they will investigate the matter and may allocate a costs assessor. You can also take further legal action in the Courts if you feel you have been unfairly charged.

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