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Byron Shire
April 15, 2021

Drug driving. What are your rights?

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Lismore solicitor Steve Bolt. (picture Darren Coyne)
Lismore solicitor Steve Bolt. Photo Darren Coyne.

A Lismore solicitor has prepared a fact sheet to answer some of the most common questions related to roadside drug testing.

Developed in conjunction with the Northern Rivers Greens, the fact sheet is based on current NSW laws and targets people in this region.

Drug driving fact sheet, page 1.
Drug driving fact sheet, page 1.

The solicitor, Steve Bolt, of Bolt Findley Solicitors, explains in the fact sheet that the NSW Police have the power to stop any vehicle and require the driver to submit to saliva testing.

The tests detect cannabis, ecstasy and methamphetamine, but not cocaine or opiates, which are also illegal.

Mr Bolt points out that the tests are not designed to test driver impairment, because the law simply makes it an offence to drive with the presence of any of the three targeted drugs.

‘There is no requirement to prove any impairment effect on your driving,’ he says.

Mr Bolt explains the three levels of testing that drivers testing positive will be subjected to, whether a driver can refuse a saliva test, and whether a driver can have their own sample tested.

Drug driving fact sheet, page 2.
Drug driving fact sheet, page 2.The fact sheet examines the type of penalities that may be imposed by the court, as well as the rights of drivers when being questioned by police.

Mr Bolt points out that legal aid is not available to people charged with drug driving as there is no jail penalty.

He advises that people can either defend themselves or employ a private solicitor to act on their behalf in court.


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12 COMMENTS

  1. So is there anyway we can know if we are ok to drive after consuming cannabis, how many hours or days do we have to wait till we can drive?

    5 hrs? 12 hours? 24 hours? 48 hours?

    This seems rather over the top…

    What do they do in Colorado where weed is legal? I mean, do the police there use a similar sort of test or do they do something else?

  2. So how long is it recommended to wait to drive after consuming a small amount of cannabis?

    Does anyone actually know? I’ve heard 5 hours you should be OK, but now I am starting to doubt that as some people have apparently been done a day or two later…?

    If I use a small amount of weed at say 9pm and then goto sleep (since I use cannabis mostly at night before bed to help me sleep) and wake up and have breakfast and then go and drive at 9 am should I be ok to pass a saliva test (if I happened to get pulled over by the police for a test)?

    Does being tall and skinny and male and a tolerance to weed make any difference?

  3. Before we contemplate any ‘Australian’ ‘law’, is the ‘Australian government’ (registered as a business with the ASC, address in Washington DC) even a legitimate entity to be making ‘law’???

    • No. It’s not. This gubbament claims to be authorised to ‘make laws’ etc, in this country via the ‘commonwealth crown’… who claims its authority to ‘rule’ was divinely bestowed on them by a sky-fairy… The only people authorised to make any laws in this country already have and they are laws that have been in existence for over 50,000 years… These liars and thieves currently enslaving us, ultimately derive their authority from a sky-fairy they invented a couple of thousand years ago… Our law is ageless and profoundly simple… do no harm…

  4. They’re just trying to control the masses by keeping it illegal and making people feel like they are criminals by consuming marijuana. This effin country is bass ackwards. Bloody infuriates me!!

  5. To answer your above questions Jo B and Josh Smith the FDA approved swab test in the united states is the oratect iii swab test which has a cut off of 40ng/ml and recommends 14 hours abstinence before taking the test. The oratect test is also what alot of local work places use here for testing.

    Our police tests are either securetek 5s or drugswipe twin which looks for 10ng/ml and 20ng/ml repectively.

    I recently completed the roadsense traffic offenders intervention program where they state 8 hours after a single joint. More if you have more obviously.

    Here is where it gets interesting. The wolff report 2013 states that a 20ng/ml is the recommended threshold for flight. As this is under the 40ng/ml i can only assume pilots there get urine or blood tested for this.

    So a commercial pilot in the states can have more in their system than what im potentially allowed to driving with to and from work.

    And also someone in the workplace here can drive a heavy duty crane at a worksite and be clean whilst on 30ng/ml but get done on the way home.

    So yes it is true that the police are not looking for impairment. Then the next question is if im not impaired then why can’t i drive?

    If its not about impairment, then it shouldn’t be called a road safety measure as deduced by Greens MP David Shoebridge. Especially when the police in AU have ignored calls for their reports and research to be made available. In truth, they have NO data to backup their heavy handed regime.

    By making it a defacto crime to have presence in your body, they are currently building up yheir dubious stats to support themselves.

    If everyone who dies on the roads here gets a 10ng confirmed thc level at the time of autopsy, then they can claim that cannabis was The cause, whilst knowing full well that the deceased cannot refute or defend themselves.

    As for those with 10ng/ml or more that survive the crashes will have to front a judge and add themselves to the police database for further potential random tests and hefty fines.

    No one is saying that you are OK to be off your face when on the roads, but tests should be fair and reflect science and research much like alcohol. Otherwise, it will be hard for anyone to accept this as a tactic for Justice but as a tool for tyranny and lets not forget the revenue!

  6. 1 question.
    So what about the hundreds of people using LEGAL hemp seed oil that are losing their licences for a product that not only is legal, but has no impairment ability whatsoever?

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