Combined Drink and Drug Driving Offences in NSW

The NSW Government has introduced tough new laws targeting drivers who are detected drink driving whilst at the same time having illicit drugs present in their system. These are commonly referred to as combined drink and drug driving offences.

Why Were Combined Drink and Drug Driving Offences Introduced in NSW?

The recent amendments, commencing 28 June 2021, created offences of combined drink and drug driving under section 111A of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW). The amending legislation referred to as the ‘Four Angels Law’. These laws were enacted in the aftermath of four children killed by a driver who was under the influence of alcohol and drugs in Oatlands, NSW in 2020.

Research shows that drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash if they are under the influence of alcohol as well as illegal drugs. Between 2015 and 2019, 98 people were killed on NSW roads as a result of a driver or rider having illegal levels of alcohol and illicit drugs in their system. The new amendments seek to send a clear message to drivers that reckless and life-threatening behaviour involving driving whilst under the influence of alcohol and drugs will not be tolerated and offenders will be subject to harsher penalties as a result.

What are the Penalties for Combined Offences of Driving with Low, Novice or Special Range PCA with Illicit Drug Present?

Pursuant to section 111A(3) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW), the offence of driving with a combined Low, Novice or Special Range PCA together with an illicit drug present only applies where a defendant was convicted of a previous offence of Low, Novice and Special Range PCA as well as Drive with Illicit Substance Present within the last five years.

The maximum penalties for this offence are a fine of $5,500 and/or 18 months imprisonment. This offence attracts an immediate licence suspension on detection as well as a Mandatory Interlock Order on conviction.

Pursuant to section 211 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) the applicable minimum Mandatory Interlock period is 12 months with the minimum disqualification period being 1 month and the maximum period being 3 months.

What are the Penalties for Combined Offences of Driving with Mid-Range PCA with Illicit Drug Present?

Pursuant to section 111A(2) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW), the offence of driving with a combined Mid-Range PCA together with an illicit drug present result carries maximum penalties of a fine of $3,300 and/or 18 months imprisonment for a first offence within a 5 year period. For second or subsequent offences, the maximum penalties are a fine of $6,600 and/or imprisonment for 2 years. This offence attracts an immediate licence suspension on detection as well as a Mandatory Interlock Order on conviction. Pursuant to section 211 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) the applicable minimum Mandatory Interlock period is 12 months with the minimum disqualification period being 3 months and the maximum period being 6 months for a first offence. For a second or subsequent offence, the applicable Mandatory Interlock period is 24 months with the minimum disqualification period being 6 months and the maximum period being 9 months.

What are the Penalties for Combined Offences of Driving with High Range PCA with Illicit Drug Present?

Pursuant to section 111A(1) of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW), the offence of driving with a combined High-Range PCA together with an illicit drug present result carries maximum penalties of a fine of $5,500 and/or 2 years imprisonment for a first offence within a 5 year period. For second or subsequent offences, the maximum penalties are a fine of $11,000 and/or imprisonment for 2 years. This offence attracts an immediate licence suspension on detection as well as a Mandatory Interlock Order on conviction.

Pursuant to section 211 of the Road Transport Act 2013 (NSW) the applicable minimum Mandatory Interlock period is 24 months months with the minimum disqualification period being 6 months and the maximum period being 9 months for a first offence. For a second or subsequent offence, the applicable Mandatory Interlock period is 48 months with the minimum disqualification period being 9 months and the maximum period being 12 months.

Why Choose Australian Lawyers and Advocates?

Drink driving matters are serious offences. It is important that the circumstances and evidence of each case be carefully examined by an experienced criminal defence lawyer. It is therefore important that you consult with an experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible after you have been charged with an offence. Many law firms claim to be ‘the best’ or ‘leading’ firms. At Australian Lawyers and Advocates, we let our results, reputation and high level of client service and satisfaction speak for themselves. Our team of lawyers are highly experienced, highly skilled and respected advocates.

The content contained within this guide is expressed as a general guide as to this area of law and is not intended to contain legal advice specific to an individual’s case. If you, or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offence and requires legal advice, do not hesitate to contact Australian Lawyers and Advocates to discuss any criminal law or traffic law matters further.

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