On the 2nd March 2015 new drug driving legislation came into force under Section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This makes it illegal to drive or be in charge of a motor vehicle having taken a specified controlled drug, the concentration of which is above the legal prescribed limit in blood.
The following drugs fall within the ambit of this legislation and can be subdivided between illegal drugs and medication:
Illegal Drugs Medication
Benzoylecgonine (Cocaine Metabolite) Clonazepam
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (Cannabis) Flunitrazepam
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) Methadone
MDMA (Ecstasy) Oxazepam
6-monoacetylmorphine (Heroin) Temazepam
The police can stop you at the roadside if they have reasonable suspicion that you have been drug driving. They can then conduct a field assessment test (similar to a sobriety test) to help them determine the likelihood of you driving having taken drugs above the prescribed limit. They may also undertake a saliva test using their roadside device to provide them with an indication as to whether you are above the legal limit for cannabis or cocaine. Regardless of the outcome of this, if the officers believe that you may have been drug driving you may be arrested and conveyed to the police station for the purpose of providing a blood sample.
The blood sample will provide details of the exact concentration of drug within your body and thus a definitive determination of whether you are above or below the legal limit for drug driving.
Where the individual has been taking medication in accordance with a prescribed manner, if this causes them to be above the legal limit they would have a full defence to the allegation. However, it is important to note, if the manner of driving is impaired, the individual could be prosecuted for drug driving even if the concentration of medication is below the prescribed legal limit.
Where the individual is facing prosecution for ‘being in charge’ of a motor vehicle, they would have a full defence to the allegation if they could show that they had no intention of driving whilst the concentration of drug within their body exceeded the prescribed limit.
Technical defences may be available where it can be shown that the officers have not followed the correct procedure. The officers are required to follow a set of complex rules and procedures. If these measures have not been executed meticulously by the officers you may have a defence to the allegation.
If you are convicted of drug driving, you will face a mandatory driving disqualification for a minimum period of 12 months and a fine of up to £5000. The greater the concentration of drug within your body, the greater the length of the driving disqualification. They Court may also consider imposing a community order and in extremely serious cases, a prison sentence of up to 6 months.
If you are being investigated for Drug Driving or you have been charged with Drug Driving, call us now on 0800 6441544 and ask to speak to one of our Motoring Solicitors. Alternatively, if you wish for us to call you at a time convenient for you, fill in our Contact Us form and one of our Drug Driving lawyers will contact youContact us