New South Wales legislation will change for all first-time offenders on low range drink driving & drive with illicit drugs present in saliva/blood charges from the 20th of May 2019.

What is low range drink driving?

You are considered to have committed a low range drink driving offence if you are the holder of a full licence and are caught driving with a blood alcohol content ranging from 0.05 to 0.079.

A person will be driving with an illicit drug present if they test positive to having driven with cannabis, methyamphetamine or MDMA in their blood or saliva.

What has changed?

Previously, if you committed a low range drink driving offence in New South Wales you were issued with a notice to attend court. You were able to keep your licence until you went to Court and the Magistrate made a decision to disqualify you as part of your sentence. You also had an opportunity to ask the Court to show you leniency and give you a good behaviour order instead of taking your licence away.

From the 20th May 2019, Police will have the power to issue you an on-the-spot three-month licence suspension.  This will also include a $561 fine instead of giving you a notice to appear in court.

The same legislation applies for people who drive with the presence of illicit drugs for the first time. They will receive a $561 fine and a three month licence suspension by way of infringement notice, once the offence is confirmed by laboratory analysis.  This could take several weeks.

What does this mean for you?

The new legislation bypasses your opportunity to have the Court give you a sentence that reflects your personal circumstances.  It also means that you immediately lose your licence and cannot lawfully drive.

You may still be able to have your charge heard by a Court and so have the Magistrate take into account those important personal circumstances.

This article was written by Mr Sam Jackson, Accredited Specialist Criminal Law – Queensland and Ms India Brady, Law Clerk.  If you require assistance with a traffic law matter, our lawyers are available by telephoning the office on (07) 5527 0020, sending an enquiry to or by using the query tool here.