Drug Driving Solicitors

Call 0345 872 6666

Drug Driving Solicitors

If you have been accused of drug driving you will need legal advice, and potentially representation, from a team of expert drug driving 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 building the strongest drug driving defence to get the best result possible.

To speak to a lawyer, call us on 0345 872 6666 or complete our online enquiry form and let us know a suitable time to call you back.

On this page

How JMW Can Help

It is up to the prosecuting authorities to prove the impairment of the defendant’s abilities, usually through 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, is to enlist the help of a partner-led team of highly experienced and determined drug driving solicitors, such as those at JMW. Since 1978, we have been offering all the legal advice and information you need, such as getting and proving scientific results from experts.

If you have been accused of drug driving, do not hesitate to contact our drug driving solicitors so we can help you manage the significant impact of the consequences.

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, and it can be a very stressful and difficult situation to manage.

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.

How is Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drugs Defined?

As well as proving that you were in fact over the limit, it must also be proven that you were driving or in charge of the vehicle. The following points will be considered to determine whether you committed the drug driving offence:

  • Were you in-charge of the vehicle?
  • Did you have intent to drive the vehicle?
  • Were you in possession of the ignition key?
  • What were you doing at the time of your arrest?
  • Was anyone else near your vehicle, and what were their intentions?

Even if you were not driving the vehicle, you could be charged for being under the influence while in-charge of a vehicle. This is an equally serious motoring offence, but is slightly different to drug driving. For more information, speak to our team today.

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 or urine test. You can also now be prosecuted for driving whilst unfit, and further for driving while over the specified legal limit (excess).

While illegal drugs - such as cocaine, cannabis and ketamine - are the obvious examples, there are also strict limits for legal and prescribed drugs, too, such as diazepam, methadone and morphine. The specialist drug driving solicitors at JMW can help you outline and understand these limits.

Please note: some of these substances can take a number of days to work through your system, therefore you might be prosecuted for drug driving after a longer period of time than you expected.

Our drug driving solicitors can help build your defence by looking at the following medical factors:

  • Were you prescribed the drug for medical purposes?
  • Maybe you were not fully informed on the usage and were given incorrect directions for use.
  • Was the drug in possession not in fact unlawful (Misuse of Drugs Act 1971)?
'Illegal' drugsThreshold limit in blood
delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (cannabis)2µg/L
lysergic acid diethylamide1µg/L
6-monoacetylmorphine (heroin)5µg/L
'Medicinal' drugsThreshold limit in blood

Whether you have been caught driving over the limit under the influence of legal or illegal drugs, our solicitors will work to identify defences to assist in your case so you have the best chance to retain your driving licence.

Defending Your Case

The law surrounding the drug driving procedures the police should follow is complex. Many experienced officers struggle to fully understand the procedures. This can, and often does, lead to mistakes. A simple mistake made by an officer when conducting the drug drive procedure can often turn out to be fatal for the prosecution’s case.

With our experience and expertise, it probable that - once we have had the opportunity to review the prosecution’s evidence - we may identify flaws in the drug drive procedures followed by the officer and/or any other issues that arise as a result of the drug/drive procedures that were or were not followed.

You may not necessarily know what procedures the police should have and should not have followed, and that’s where we come in. Give us a quick call today free of charge on 0345 872 6666.

We do not limit the review and preparation of your case to only those issues relating to the procedure followed by the police. We will also consider the procedures followed by the prosecution once proceedings are underway. We have had many successes based on the prosecution failing to overcome the many obstacles drug driving cases present. Our superior technical knowledge and ability to fully focus on your case gives us the edge over the prosecution.

Providing Biological Evidence

Your case can be pushed further along by whether you choose to consent to provide a biological sample - a urine sample or blood test - to the police, and you will be considered ‘under investigation’ while this evidence is analysed. If you fail to provide this specimen (FTP), you can be charged with an additional offence of FTP.

This procedure can be a difficult choice to make, however, it will be a serious part of determining the result of your case, and our drug driving defence solicitors will be able to advise you on what steps to take depending on whether you consented to the test or not.

If you are stopped by the police on suspicion of drink or drug driving, you are legally required to cooperate with the police and provide a specimen for testing. This includes breath, urine or blood tests. The police have the right to ask for these tests if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If a police officer asks you to take a breath test and you refuse without a good reason, you can be arrested. A good reason could include a medical condition that could cause you to be unable to provide a sample.

Similarly, if you are taken to a police station and asked to provide a blood or urine sample, you are legally required to do so. Refusing to provide a breath, blood or urine sample can result in a charge of 'failing to provide a specimen for analysis’. This can carry similar penalties to drink and drug driving offences, including a driving ban, an unlimited fine, and imprisonment.

It is also worth noting that even if you do refuse, the police may still be able to prosecute you if they have sufficient evidence. For example, they could use the results of a field impairment test or witness statements.

It is highly recommended that you cooperate with the police if asked to provide a specimen for testing unless there are medical reasons for not doing so. If you have been charged with an offence, it is important to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

After Pleading 'Not Guilty' for Drug Driving

If you plead 'not guilty' to a drug driving charge, the case will proceed to trial. This is what generally happens:

  1. First appearance: this is a preparatory hearing where the court will set dates for future hearings and ensure that all necessary steps have been taken by the prosecution and defence and request you to enter a plea.
  2. Pre-trial review: at this stage, the court reviews the case to ensure it is ready for trial. They will check if all the evidence has been shared and if there are any legal arguments to resolve before the trial.
  3. Trial: during the trial, the prosecution and defence will present their cases. This may include presenting evidence, questioning witnesses, and making legal arguments. You, as the defendant, may also be called to testify.
  4. Verdict: after both sides have presented their cases, the court will make a decision. If you are found not guilty, you will be acquitted and the case will end. If you are found guilty, the court will proceed to sentencing.

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, and pleading guilty early in the case will not help you in this regard. 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.

Further consequences of drug driving conviction extends to making travel to other countries in which you might need to provide a criminal record hard, and sometimes impossible. Driving insurance can also become much more expensive, and you may be more likely to be stopped for police searches.

These are obviously factors that can make life more stressful, so our drug driving solicitors work hard to help you understand your case, and to achieve the best result in the most efficient way possible.



The costs of representation by a solicitor for drug driving defence varies depending on the complexity of the charge.

In the following cases, the fixed fees are charged by JMW:

  • For guilty plea cases where physical representation at court is not required, our fixed fees start from as little as £600.00 including VAT (at 20%) and range up to £1,800.00 including VAT (at 20%).
  • For cases where physical representation at court for one hearing is required, our fixed fees start from as little as £1,200.00 including VAT (at 20%) and range up to £4,200.00 including VAT (at 20%) per hearing.

Please note that these fees are also dependent on the offence solicitor.

In the following cases, the fees are payable to third parties:

The fixed fees for legal representation at court do not include third party disbursements, which may be required in certain cases. Third party disbursements are expenses that we incur on your behalf and examples include: expert reports, whether that be:

  • a forensic scientist, collision investigator, psychologist or psychiatrist (approximately £60.00 including VAT (at 20%) - £360.00 including VAT (at 20%) per hour)
  • Expert attendance at court (approximately £60.00 including VAT at 20% - £360.00 including VAT at 20% per hour)
  • Barrister’s costs (advice or attendance at court £60.00 including VAT at 20% - £360.00 including VAT at 20% per hour).

Where we anticipate that any disbursements or additional fees may be payable, we will let you know as soon as possible.

In the event that you are acquitted, or the proceedings are discontinued, you may be entitled to recover a proportion of your legal costs from the court’s central fund.


Drug driving defence cases can take a long time, depending on how long the police take to compile the evidence, analyse biological samples, and to actually prosecute you.

The police have six months to begin the process, and it may then be a further month or two before you can actually attend a hearing. For guilty pleas, hearings typically last 30 minutes, but for non-guilty pleas they can last much longer, depending on the amount of evidence brought forward.

Please note: pleading guilty early will speed up your case and may reduce expenses, but it will not help your driving ban, future insurance costs, or difficulties with travel. This is due to the severity in which drug (and drink) driving convictions are taken.


Going through a drug driving defence is a challenging experience, thus it is important to know that the drug driving solicitors you request help from are trustworthy, experienced and able to effectively help you.

JMW is recognised by The Legal 500 and has one of the most experienced teams nationally with over a century worth of experience. Majority of the work we undertake are recommendations.

For testimonials, please see what our clients have said in the testimonials section.


If you choose to plead guilty to drug driving you will still have to attend a hearing, and the court will first look into whether you have had any previous or ongoing disqualifications. If you have had two or more for a period of 56 days or more, within the last three years, you will receive a mandatory minimum two-year disqualification.

JMW Solicitors offers a ‘fixed-fee’ service designed to assist you in preparing detailed and effective mitigation aimed at persuading the court to exercise leniency when imposing the penalty. Further information regarding ‘fixed fees’ can be found at our Motoring Solicitor Fees page.

With our ‘fixed-fee’ service, we offer the following:

  • A telephone/video conference or a personal meeting with your solicitor (dependant on location)
  • Representation at the hearing by either a solicitor or an expert motoring law barrister
  • A full pre-hearing briefing with regards to court procedures and what to expect at court
  • A conference with your legal representative on the morning of the hearing
  • A full post-hearing debriefing (to discuss the penalty imposed, the implications and any further options that may be available to you)

If you are facing a drug driving charge and need legal help - call us on 0345 872 6666.


There are several potential factors that can be taken into consideration when presented with the results of a blood test. It is important to remember that while these can provide a basis for a defence, they do not guarantee that the case will be dismissed.

Here are some ways a blood test for drug driving can be challenged:

  1. Procedure inconsistencies: if the procedure for administering the blood test was not followed correctly, this may affect the test results' reliability. A procedural inconsistency could include anything from not obtaining proper consent for the test to not cleaning the skin properly before the blood draw.
  2. Sample contamination: contamination of the blood sample could occur during the collection, handling, transportation, or storage of the blood sample. If this can be proven, it may invalidate the test results.
  3. Testing equipment malfunction: if the equipment used to conduct the blood test was not functioning correctly, it could potentially lead to false-positive results.
  4. Time of consumption versus time of testing: if a significant amount of time passed between the alleged drug use and the administration of the blood test, it may be argued that any drugs found in the system would not have impacted driving ability.
  5. Medical explanation: in certain cases, it may be possible to argue that there was a medical reason for the presence of the drugs in the person's system. This could be due to a prescription or over-the-counter medication.
  6. Chain of custody issues: if there are gaps in the chain of custody - that is, the record of the control, transfer, and analysis of the blood sample - the validity of the results may be challenged.
  7. Appropriately qualified individual: in the UK, only a qualified practitioner can take a blood sample for a drug driving test. If it is discovered that the individual who administered the test was not properly qualified, this could lead to the dismissal of the charge.
  8. Laboratory error: even the most experienced laboratories can make mistakes. If an error in analysis is discovered, it could challenge the blood test results.

In every situation, the specifics of the case will heavily dictate the appropriate strategy for a defence. Professional legal advice from expert drug driving offence solicitors is crucial to navigate through the potential legal complexities and develop the most effective defence possible.


Here is the general procedure that is usually followed for taking a blood test for someone accused of driving while unfit through drugs:

  1. Initial stop: the procedure begins when a police officer stops a driver due to suspicion of drug driving. This suspicion might arise from a driver's erratic behaviour, involvement in an accident, or other traffic offences.
  2. Roadside test: after stopping the driver, the officer might administer a preliminary drug test. This is often done with a device that takes a saliva sample from the driver to test for cannabis or cocaine. It could also include a field impairment test that checks physical abilities.
  3. Arrest and transportation to the police station: if the roadside test is positive or the police officer still has reason to suspect that the driver is under the influence of drugs, they will arrest the driver and transport them to the police station.
  4. Custody nurse or police surgeon evaluation: once at the police station, the driver might be evaluated by a custody nurse or a police surgeon (also known as a forensic medical examiner). This medical professional will determine if the person is fit to be detained and can also advise on whether it is appropriate to request a blood test.
  5. Blood test: if deemed appropriate - or if the driver refused to take a blood or urine test - a doctor or another qualified healthcare professional will take a blood sample from the driver. The person giving the sample must give their consent before the sample is taken. It should be noted that failure to provide consent could result in a separate charge.
  6. Sample analysis: the blood sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis to determine the presence and quantity of drugs in the driver's bloodstream. The results of this test will provide a basis for whether charges are brought against the driver.
  7. Notification of results: once the results of the blood test have been received from the laboratory, the police will notify the driver. If the test result shows that the legal limit for a specific drug has been exceeded, the driver could be charged with a drug driving offence.
  8. Court proceedings: if charged, the case will then proceed to court where evidence will be presented and a verdict rendered.

Throughout this process, it is critical for anyone suspected of a drug driving offence to seek legal representation to ensure that their rights are protected and to navigate the complexities of the legal system.

Talk to Us

If you are unsure how to proceed or require further information and guidance, the team at JMW is 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 0345 872 6666, or fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.