Penalties and reconviction risk among offenders convicted of drug driving


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Release date: 17 Sept, 2012 Embargo: 10.30am

About a third (35.3%) of those convicted of drug driving offences are reconvicted (but not necessarily of drug driving) within 24 months, according to new research released today by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.

The research was based on 3,770 offenders, 45.8 per cent of whom had a proven offence under s11B 1 of the Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Act, while the remaining 54.2 per cent had a proven offence under s12 2 of the Act.

The average age of offenders was 31.8 years. More than four in five (83.2%) were male, while 6.7 per cent were Indigenous.

Nearly three-quarters (74.8%) had no concurrent charges and most (95.1%) were on bail or had bail dispensed with at the index court appearance.

Just over one-fifth (21.3%) of those who re-offended within 24 months had one subsequent appearance. Nearly one in ten (8.9%) had two subsequent appearances, while five per cent had three or more subsequent court appearances.

Nearly all (99 per cent) of those convicted of a further offence were convicted of some offence other than drug driving. Nearly one in 10 (8.2%) were reconvicted of some form of drug offence (not necessarily drug driving), while 15.1 per cent were convicted of a further driving offence.

The most common principal penalty for drug driving was a fine (60.2% received a fine and the average fine was $581).

While 17.2 per cent of offenders had their matters dismissed without conviction, most dismissals (84%) involved a good behaviour bond. If offenders on good behaviour bonds re-offend they can be re-sentenced for the original offence.

Offenders were less likely to have their matters dismissed if they were younger, had concurrent charges or a prior criminal record. Recidivism was higher for offenders who had a prior criminal record, were not on bail and/or were Indigenous.

Further enquiries: Dr Don Weatherburn 9231-9190