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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 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 getting the strongest drug driving defence and the best result possible in the courts.
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. They can also provide tests, having done a Modified Romberg balance test, among other physical tests. Obviously, these must have been carried out after the incident. Both of these forms of evidence can be subjective, and their results can differ for various reasons, which is why our drug driving solicitors will make the case easier to navigate.
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 partner-led team of highly experienced and determined drug driving solicitors, such as those at JMW. We offer all the legal advice and information you need on any other aspect of this law, as we have been doing since 1978, 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. all us on 0800 804 8159 or complete our online enquiry form now.
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.
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. You can now be prosecuted for driving whilst unfit, and further: for driving with over the specified legal limit (excess).
While illegal drugs - such as cocaine, cannabis, ketamine, etc - are the obvious contenders, there are also strict limits for legal and prescribed drugs, too - diazepam, methadone, morphine, etc. Our 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' drugs||Threshold limit in blood|
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|'Medicinal' drugs||Threshold limit in blood|
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 is highly probable that - once we have had the opportunity to review the prosecution evidence - we will be able to 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 0800 804 8159.
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.
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.
FAQs About Drug Driving Offences
How much does drug driving defence representation cost?
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 £1800.00 including VAT (at 20%).
- For cases where physical representation at court for one hearing is required, our fixed fees start from as little as £1200.00 including VAT (at 20%) and range up to £4200.00 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.
How long does the process take?
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 6 months to being the process, and it may then be a further month or 2 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, and this can then depend 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.
What qualifications do the team hold?
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 15 departments ranked, 12 ranked departments and 33 ranked lawyers in the 2021 Chambers & Partners guide, and has many more credit with the SRA, IIP, and other awards from law websites and award institutions
For testimonials, please see what our clients have said in the testimonials section.
What are the key stages in entering a guilty plea?
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, which will ultimately result in having to retest before you can drive again.
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:
- Telephone conference/personal meeting with your solicitor
- Representation at the hearing by either a partner 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 0800 804 8159.
Talk to Us
If you’re not sure 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 0800 804 8159, or fill in our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.
Partner and Head of Department
Business Crime, Regulation & Driving Offences