Two months on from the introduction of new penalties that see drivers charged with low-range drink driving and drug driving for the first time, there has been a "noticeable" change in the number of matters listed in court.
Last Wednesday in Mudgee Local Court, a Cooyal man was handed a six-month Conditional Release Order without a criminal conviction being recorded.
He tested positive to cannabis when he was stopped for random breath and drug testing, in Church Street, Mudgee, on the afternoon of Monday, February 4, 2019. And admitted to police "I smoked some last night".
When sentencing the 25-year-old - who had no prior criminal record - Magistrate David Day commented that with the legislation changes he's noticed less low-range charges. And that drug driving will likely be the same eventually, but that offence needs confirmation by laboratory analysis.
"We'll still be getting these for a while, because of the delay in the testing, but low-ranges [have dropped right off]. It's been noticeable," he said.
And warned the defendant against re-offending, given its "prevalence" in the local area. Recently Mudgee Local Court has regularly seen more people listed to appear for drug driving offences than for drink driving.
Roads Minister Andrew Constance, at the time, spruiked the immediate nature of the new penalties as a "zero-tolerance approach".
"Drivers who have an illegal level of alcohol in their blood or have used illegal drugs have no place on the road," he said.
A woman charged with her second charge of drive with illicit drugs in her blood, had her written request for leniency denied by the court.
Tammy Susan De Courcy Browne, aged 30, of Adams Street, was fined $110 and disqualified for six months.
She tested positive to methamphetamine and cannabis when she was stopped for random breath and drug testing, in Gladstone Street, Mudgee, on the morning of Monday, April 1, 2019. And said she'd last used on the Saturday night.
In noting that De Courcy Browne asked for clemency for financial reasons, Magistrate Day said "she still finds money for drugs".