New offences apply for the combined offence of drink and drug driving in Western Australia from 1 July 2021. There are also increased penalties for existing drink and drug driving offences.
Recent amendments to the Road Traffic Act 1974 have commenced. They are contained within the Road Traffic (Impaired Driving and Penalties) Act 2019.
The amending Act implements reforms which will:
- allow a police officer to immediately prohibit a driver who tests positive to the presence of prescribed illicit drugs at roadside from driving for 24 hours;
- introduce new offences to target people who drive with an illegal level of both alcohol and prescribed illicit drugs;
- increase penalties for existing drink and drug driving offences to ensure that they remain an effective deterrent; and
- enhance and streamline drink and drug driving enforcement processes.
The By Lawyers Magistrates Court (WA) – Traffic Offences commentary has been updated to reflect these changes.
Corresponding amendments have also been made to the Retainer Instructions and initial letters to reflect the updated penalty amounts for each applicable offence.
There are also 20 new precedents. These new initial letters deal with the new category of offence: driving with an illegal level of alcohol and prescribed illicit drugs. These helpful precedent letters contain the relevant penalties, which are dependent upon the BAC level of the offender and whether the incident is a first, second, third or subsequent offence. These letters assist practitioners to quickly and accurately advise and inform their clients.