You can refuse drug testing but should you?

You can refuse drug testing on our roads and in our workplaces, but that doesn’t mean you should. Credit letr Victoria

As we’ve highlighted before in our blogs, you can absolutely refuse drug testing on our roads and in our workplaces, but that doesn’t mean you should.

This comes on the back of an article in the Shepparton News about a man who refused drug testing after being stopped by the Seymour Highway Patrol. He was charged by Victoria Police for refusing roadside drug testing but decided to fight the charge in court, saying that he refused drug testing because it was a risk due to COVID-19.

“I have asthma, I didn’t want to do it – then they wanted me to jump in the back of a police car and put something in my mouth, I didn’t want to put my life at risk,” he is quoted as saying in the article.

The accused was in the Shepparton Magistrates’ Court recently for preliminary proceedings, with the case to be heard in April 2021. The Magistrate, Peter Dunn, asked the accused how he wanted to plead and he replied that he was pleading not guilty to being positive to a substance. Mr Dunn pointed out that he was not charged for the positive result, but for refusing drug testing.

Mr Dunn added that there have been a lot of reasons used for refusing drug testing on our roads but none of them have been successful.

“It was different,” the accused said. “This was a pandemic, it was different, you couldn’t even buy toilet paper.”

You can refuse drug testing but it’s unlikely to end well

As the judge hearing the Shepparton drug testing case implied, while it is within everyone’s right to refuse roadside drug testing it’s not a smart idea to do so and fighting the charge is highly unlikely to be successful. In fact, more often than not you are better off to simply take the drug test, even if you know you’ve taken drugs recently and may fail.

While the likely outcome in the Shepparton case will depend on previous offences, the accused is likely to be without their licence for at least 2 years and maybe longer. Plus they’ll also receive a significant fine. Compare this with a first offence for failing drug testing, which involves a penalty of six months’ licence disqualification and a fine of approximately $500, and it’s easy to see why we say you are better to take the test.

What about in the workplace?

The rules in the workplace aren’t as clear, although generally you are better to take a drug test rather than refuse to take part in testing.

Just like on the roadside, you are absolutely within your rights to refuse drug testing. No one is going to force you provide a saliva sample (or dare we say a urine sample!) for analysis. However, generally you are better off taking the test and failing than refusing.

The qualification is about the particular workplace’s policy. There is no one set of rules regarding drug testing for workplaces, so workplaces develop their own ‘rules’ or policies. So, at one workplace you may be able to refuse a drug test and only be considered to have failed the test, while at another the consequences may be much worse.

It’s worth remembering that in most workplaces, failing drug testing for the first time is not likely to lead to serious consequences. You are very likely to face some consequences, such as a note on your employment file, but most workplaces will also provide you with support and education to help you manage your drug use. Of course, there are some workplaces with zero tolerance – such as the aviation and transportation industry – and the consequences are then much different, however, if you work in a zero tolerance industry you should know about it.

For more information on workplace drug testing, including drug testing in Shepparton, where Integrity Sampling has a branch, contact Integrity Sampling.


You can refuse drug testing on our roads and in our workplaces, but that doesn’t mean you should. Credit letr Victoria

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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