Drug Driving Offences
If you are arrested or charged with drug driving, contact us for advice. We aim to achieve the most favourable outcome possible for clients who are charged with any drug driving offence. This may mean an acquittal, in other cases it may mean minimising the sentence imposed by the Courts.
We have a 24-hour emergency advice line so that we can respond immediately to your situation. Our 24 hour number is 07850 012 366.
What is the law on Drug Driving in England?
Drug driving is defined as when someone gets behind the wheel of a vehicle under the influence of any substance (illegal or legal), which is likely to impair his or her driving ability.
Testing for drugs at the roadside
There is currently no reliable scientific test that can be carried out by Police at the roadside. This is because there is no legal limit for the use of drugs, unlike for alcohol which can be tested due to the defined allowable limits.
Different types of drugs affect people’s ability to drive in different ways, from prescription drugs to illegal substances.
Drug Driving are based on the Police officers belief that your driving is impaired. They will therefore carry out a field impairment test at the roadside. This involves you being asked to close your eyes and touch your nose or to stand on each foot alternately for 30 seconds whilst counting aloud. The Police may also check your pupils for unusual dilation which could be caused by the use of certain drugs.
Testing for drugs at the Police Station
A roadside impairment test is used to determine whether the Police think you are unfit to drive a vehicle. If you fail this test then you can be taken to the Police station to undergo biological tests such as blood or urine samples.
It is an offence to refuse to participate in any of these tests, either at the roadside or at the Police station. This offence is known as failure to provide a specimen.
What are the penalties for drug driving in England?
The penalties for drug driving are the same as for drink driving - a ban and a fine of up to £5,000, or up to 6 months in jail.
If the person under the influence of drugs causes a fatal accident they could face a longer ban and up to 10 years in jail.
Defences for drug driving
The Police may argue that your standard of driving was unsafe, for example if someone under the influence of drugs caused a crash. In many cases, prosecutions will revolve around failure of a field impairment test and further biological tests carried out at the Police station.
Because of the difficulty for Police in proving which drugs a person has taken, and at what dose, prosecutions for drug driving offences are restricted to those where Police can prove that an individual is incapable of driving safely because of drugs.
The Police have to follow very strict guidelines during a drug driving arrest, and the tests must be carried out in the correct manner. Failure to correctly follow these procedures can result in us being able to challenge the prosecution on that basis.
It may also be possible to challenge the forensic evidence that the Police provide and whether you were in fact impaired in your ability to drive.
Please contact us for advice.