Medical defence

  • What is a medical defence?

    A medical defence is a way for you to dispute your drug driving infringement by providing evidence that you have taken your prescription medication in accordance with your current prescription, and any instructions from a health practitioner or manufacturer.

  • Who can apply for a medical defence?

    If you have received an Infringement Offence Notice (ION) following a positive blood test for a qualifying drug, you can apply for a medical defence if the drug is a medicine that has been prescribed to you.

    See the list of qualifying drugs from the New Zealand Legislation website.

  • When can't you apply to Police for a medical defence?

    Police cannot consider a medical defence for any notice that has either been paid or transferred to the Fines Collection Unit of the Ministry of Justice.

  • What are the requirements for applying?

    You will need a current and valid prescription, and a copy of the label from the container in which the drug(s) were dispensed in.

    How to apply

    For a medical defence to be considered, please complete the following steps:

    1. You can complete and submit your application online.

      Alternatively, download the Medical Defence application form (PDF 141KB) and complete.

      Send your application by email or post to:
          Police Infringement Bureau
          Mail: PO Box 9147, Wellington 6141
    2. Provide the following information with your Medical Defence application form:
      1. a copy of the current and valid prescription for the qualifying drug(s) you tested positive for; and
      2. a copy of the label from the container in which the qualifying drug(s) you have tested positive for were dispensed in; and
      3. any other relevant information you wish to have considered.

    Please note:
    We are unable to assess your medical defence if insufficient information is provided or the information cannot be verified. This could result in your medical defence application being declined.

    If you require further information about the process or your rights, you should seek professional legal advice.

  • What is the relevant legislation this is based on?

    The Land Transport Act 1998 - Section 64.

    It says:

    Section 64(1A) - It is a defence to proceedings for an offence against section 57A(1)* or (2), 57B(1)* or (2), 57C(1)* or (2), or 62(1B)* if the Court** is satisfied that the person has consumed the relevant [qualifying drug]—

    1. in accordance with—
      1. a current and valid prescription written for that person by a health practitioner; and
      2. any instructions from a health practitioner or from the manufacturer of the [qualifying drug]; or
    2. because it was administered by a health practitioner, provided that the person complied with the instructions (if any) that the health practitioner has given.


    *Offences under these sections (57A(1), 57B(1), 57C(1) & 62(1B)) are criminal charges and do not relate to infringement offences. If the offence you are alleged to have committed falls under one of these sections, you should seek professional legal advice.

    **Offences under 57A(2), 57B(2) & 57C(2) are infringement offences and therefore a medical defence can be considered by the Police Infringement Bureau.