Advice on Drug Driving Offences

If you have been accused of drug driving you will need legal advice, and potentially representation, from a team of expert motoring offence solicitors. At JMW, we understand how important it is for our clients to stay on the road and we focus all of our attention and expertise on getting the best result possible in the courts.

To speak to a lawyer, call us on 0800 804 8159 or complete our online enquiry form and let us know a suitable time to call you back. 

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About Drug Driving Offences

It is a criminal offence for a person to drive or attempt to drive when they are under the influence of drugs. This includes legal and illegal substances because both inhibit your driving ability by reducing your concentration and clouding your judgement.

The law defines a drug as being any intoxicant other than alcohol. Basically, a substance is classed as a drug if it is neither a food or drink and has affected the control of your body.

Driving Whilst Unfit

Driving whilst unfit through drugs, often shortened to driving whilst unfit, is a motoring offence that could leave you facing a hefty fine, points on your licence or a potential ban.

Most people who are accused of being unfit through drugs will be charged because they have been asked to provide a blood sample to check the level of drugs in their body but have been unable to do so.

If no sample is available for analysis, the judgement on a person’s fitness to drive will be based on the opinion of an experienced police officer and/or a doctor, who will decide on the degree of impairment.

Drug Driving Limits Explained

Prior to 2nd March 2015, there was no definitive legal drug driving limit, and in order to secure a conviction the prosecution had to prove the following:

  • The accused was unfit to drive
  • They had been under the influence of drugs
  • Their driving was hindered by the taken substance

However, the law now has 16 specified drugs (eight illegal and eight prescription), and similar to drink driving, you can now be charged with drug driving based on the results of a blood test (or even a mouth swab) alone.

‘Illegal’ drugs

Threshold limit in blood

benzoylecgonine

50µg/L

cocaine

10µg/L

delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (cannabis)

2µg/L

ketamine

20µg/L

lysergic acid diethylamide

1µg/L

methylamphetamine

10µg/L

MDMA

10µg/L

6-monoacetylmorphine (heroin)

5µg/L

 

‘Medicinal’ drugs

Threshold limit in blood

clonazepam

50µg/L

diazepam

550µg/L

flunitrazepam

300µg/L

lorazepam

100µg/L

methadone

500µg/L

morphine

80µg/L

oxazepam

300µg/L

temazepam

1,000µg/L

The introduction of these limits has not meant that the old test no longer applies and a person can still be charged if they are found to be under the ‘limit’ but are deemed unfit to drive.

What are the Consequences of Drug Driving?

Following a conviction for drug driving, the court must impose a disqualification from driving for a minimum period of 12 months. This is mandatory unless a special reason is presented. The court will also issue a fine of up to £5,000. Additionally, and depending on the circumstances, the court could also impose the following penalties:

  • Up to six months in prison
  • Community order
  • Extended retest

If you have previously been convicted of the offence in the last ten years, disqualification from driving may be extended to 36 months.

Why Choose JMW?

It is up to the prosecuting authorities to prove the impairment of the defendant’s abilities, usually though statements by witnesses. Erratic driving or irrational behaviour may be regarded as sufficient proof of inability to drive properly or a later blood-alcohol sample could show that drinking had been over the limit.

The best way to challenge this process and to come away with the most satisfactory outcome for you is to enlist the help of a team of highly experienced motoring offence solicitors, like those at JMW. We offer all the legal advice and information you need on any other aspect of this law.

Talk to Us

If you’re not sure how to proceed, or require further information and guidance, the team at JMW are on hand to explain your options and provide support if you decide to challenge the drug driving allegations. Get in touch today by calling us on 0800 804 8159 or fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.

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