Drug Driving Offences

In March 2015, the law in relation to drug driving changed in England and Wales, to make it easier for the police to both catch and convict those guilty of the criminal offence.

It is illegal to drive, if drugs impair your driving, whether the drugs be legal or illegal. It is also illegal to drive if you have over a specified amount of a certain drug in your blood, even if you do not feel as if the drug is affecting your driving. The limit for the eight well-known illegal drugs, including cocaine and cannabis, has been set very low.

A legal drug is a prescribed drug, or a drug that can be bought over the counter. If you are taking a legal drug and you are not sure if you should to be driving, then you must contact a health professional, as certain medicines affect your ability to drive.

If you are stopped by the police, you may be asked to undertake an assessment. This is an assessment whereby you are asked to complete a number of tests. For example, you could be asked to walk in a straight line. An alternative is to use a drug kit on the roadside. The drug kit, referred to as a “drugalyser”, tests for cocaine and cannabis. If the police are of the opinion that you are unfit to drive, due to drugs, you will be arrested and taken to a police station. Once at the police station, you will be asked to give a blood or urine sample. If the test shows that you have taken a specified drug above the specified limit, you could be charged with drug driving.

If you are convicted of drug driving, you will receive a minimum driving ban of one year and a criminal record. You will also receive an unlimited fine and/or up to 6 months imprisonment. It is worth noting, that the conviction will remain on your driving licence for 11 years. Not only will you be sentenced by the Court, your car insurance will increase significantly, you will lose your independence and you may have issues with travelling to certain countries.

Further information in relation to drug driving can be found using the following link: https://www.gov.uk/drug-driving-law

Should you require any legal assistance in relation to a drug driving offence, please feel free to contact a member of our criminal department on 0116 255 4855, who will be more than happy to assist you.