Drug-driving penalties

Drivers face harsh penalties if they are caught driving with drugs in their system.

There are strong penalties if you are caught driving while affected by drugs.

You can be given a penalty for:

  • failing a roadside screening test
  • driving while impaired by a drug
  • refusing to cooperate with police.

To find out about the penalties that apply for combined drink-drug-driving offences visit Combined drink and drug-driving penalties.

On the spot suspension

The police also have the power to immediately suspend your licence or learner permit if they charge you with certain drug-driving offences. This suspension lasts until your charges have been decided in court.

If you fail a roadside saliva screening test you may face penalties. There are different penalties depending on whether it is your first offence or if you have been caught before. The following table explains the different penalties.

Offence Penalties
First drug-driving offence and you received an infringement notice
You will receive a:
  • fine to the value of 3 penalty units, and
  • 3 months suspension of your licence or learner permit.
First drug-driving offence and you have to go to court
You will receive a:
  • fine up to the value of 12 penalty units, and
  • minimum 3 months cancellation of your licence or learner permit.

The court may also record a conviction.
Second drug-driving offence
You will go to court and receive a:
  • fine up to the value of 60 penalty units, and
  • minimum 6 months cancellation of your licence or learner permit.

The court may also record a conviction.
More than two drug-driving offences
You will go to court and receive a:
  • fine up to the value of 120 penalty units, and
  • minimum 6 months cancellation of your licence or learner permit.

The court may also record a conviction.

The value of a penalty unit changes each financial year and is published on the website of the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (External link)

The value of a fine is the value of the penalty unit multiplied by the number of penalty units for the offence.

If police stop you, they can do a preliminary assessment of physical factors such as your behaviour, balance and coordination. If this assessment shows that you may be impaired by a drug, you will need to give blood and/or urine samples.

You will be given a penalty if you are found guilty of drug-driving. There are different penalties depending on whether it is your first offence or if you have been caught before. The following table explains the different penalties.

Offence Penalties
First drug-driving offence Your licence will be suspended immediately, and you will receive a:
  • fine up to the value of 12 penalty units, and
  • minimum 12 months cancellation of your licence or learner permit.

The court may also record a conviction.
Second drug-driving offence Your licence will be suspended immediately, and you will receive a:
  • fine up to the value of 120 penalty units or 12 months imprisonment, and
  • minimum 2 years cancellation of your licence or learner permit.

The court may also record a conviction.
More than two drug-driving offences Your licence will be suspended immediately, and you will receive a:
  • fine up to the value of 180 penalty units or 18 months imprisonment, and
  • minimum 2 years cancellation of your licence or learner permit.

The court may also record a conviction.

The value of a penalty unit changes each financial year and is published on the Department of Justice and Regulation (External link) website.

The value of a fine is the value of the penalty unit multiplied by the number of penalty units for the offence.

You will receive even harsher penalties if you refuse to cooperate with testing requirements or refuse to give a saliva, blood or urine sample.

See our Alcohol and other drugs road rules webpage for more information.

Saliva testing is used for roadside screening of illicit drugs.To give a saliva sample you will be asked to place the collecting device in your mouth or to touch it to your tongue.

The sample is then tested for drugs. This takes about five minutes.

If the screening test shows there are drugs in your system, you will have to have further tests. Your saliva sample will also be tested by a laboratory. Only if the laboratory results confirm that drugs were in your system will you be charged and face penalties.

If your driver licence or learner permit is suspended, you cannot drive for a specific period of time (e.g. 3 months). When this period has finished, your licence or permit becomes valid again.

If your driver licence or learner permit is cancelled, you cannot drive for a specific period (e.g. 12 months) and you will need to apply to VicRoads to get your driver licence/learner permit back. You may need to get a Licence Eligibility Order from a Magistrates’ Court first.

See our Drug-driving & other offences page for more information about getting your licence or learner permit back.

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