Author Isabel Taussig and Craig Jones
Published July 2012
Report Type Bureau Brief No. 79
Subject Driving offences; Drugs and Drug Courts; Recidivism / Re-offending; Sentencing
Keywords Drugs, driving, re-offending, sentence length

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To investigate:
1) penalties for drug driving;
2) risk of reconviction among drug drivers; and
3) how penalties and reconviction risk vary according to offender characteristics.


Information for 3,770 offenders with proven drug driving offences (2007 - 2011) was extracted from the NSW re-offending database. Aims (1) and (2) were addressed by identifying the most serious penalties for drug driving and the number of convictions accumulated over 12 and 24 months. Aim (3) was addressed by building logistic regression models identifying independent predictors of penalty and recidivism.


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%) also included a good behaviour bond. Offenders were less likely to have their matters dismissed if they were younger, had concurrent charges or a prior criminal record. One-third (35.3%) had been convicted for a new offence within 24 months. Recidivism was higher for offenders who had a prior criminal record, were not on bail and/or were Indigenous.


The most common outcomes for drug driving are fines and dismissals. Those who have their matters dismissed tend to share characteristics with those at lower risk of recidivism.

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