Roadside Drug Testing – How long do drugs stay in my saliva?

roadside druf testing

Have you wondered how long do drugs stay in your saliva when police do roadside drug testing?

It’s illegal to drive with an illicit drug in your system. If you intend to drive, the safest option is to avoid alcohol or other drugs, even if you don’t think you’re affected or under the influence. Alcohol or drugs can affect your brain by reducing your ability to stay alert and drive safely and they stay in your body for longer than you think.

In New South Wales (NSW), the police may conduct a roadside test at any time, in any place and do not require a specific reason to do so. This includes being pulled over for a separate offence after which they decide a drug test should be conducted.

The drug test is taken by mouth using a saliva sample, which is analysed for the presence of drugs such as THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), cocaine, amphetamines, and opioids.

You are asked to put a small oral swab in your mouth which will detect any drugs in your system. If this swab returns negative, you may leave.

If a driver tests positive for drugs, they may receive a court attendance notice, heavy fines, a license disqualification, and even criminal charges. In some cases, the police may also choose to impound the driver’s vehicle.

Types of drug tests used by police

Drug testing can be done by taking samples of urine, breath, hair, saliva or sweat to detect the presence of drugs in the body.

Roadside Drug Testing – Saliva tests & detection periods

Roadside tests in NSW are done by a saliva swab which can detect the presence of the following drugs:

THC (Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the psychoactive component of cannabis.

>> Can Up to 24-48 hours, or even longer for heavy users.

Amphetamines, including ‘ice’ and ‘speed’,

>> Up to 2-3 days

MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), which is also known as ‘ecstacy’ or ‘molly’, and

>> Up to 2-3 days

Cocaine, which is the most recent addition to the list.

>> Up to 1-2 days

Once police detect a positive roadside test, they are required to take a second saliva sample which will then be examined in a laboratory for a positive reading.

Did you know that you can refuse to give a drug test to police if police have stopped you on an area of your home including the driveway for the purposes of a drug test?

What about drugs that are not detected by the roadside test?

If the police suspect you are impaired by a drug that can’t be detected in a roadside test or if you refuse to provide a saliva sample, they may ask you to provide a blood sample. The blood sample must be taken within four hours of the person driving, otherwise police cannot rely on it in court.

Refusing to provide a blood sample is an offence that carries a maximum fine of $3,300 and disqualification from driving for a minimum of six months with the maximum term being unlimited.

These are just general estimates and detection times in your system on any drug may vary depending on factors such as the persons age, weight, health, individual metabolism, frequency of use, the amount used, and the period and time of consumption.

This is general information and not legal advice. You should seek proper legal advice from a Sydney Criminal lawyer and medical practitioner before making decisions.

Contact one of Sydney’s leading drug law firms

If you would like advice on how to avoid a conviction and licence disqualification for a drug driving offence, our professional team of Sydney-based drug lawyers are here to help. Call 1800 100 529 for 24/7 legal assistance or submit your enquiry online using our form.