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What is the law in relation to Drug Driving?

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Is it an offence to drive after I have smoked cannabis?

It is an offence under S5A, of the Road Traffic Act 1988, if you drive, attempt to drive or be in charge of a motor vehicle with a specified controlled drug in your blood or urine in excess of the specified limit for that drug. The case we most often see charged relate to cannabis but we have also dealt with charges of driving whilst under the influence of Cocaine or other Class A drugs.

When did the law in relation to drug driving change?

The law came in to place March 2015, making it easier for the police to convict those guilty of the offence.

What will happen if the Police think I have been drug driving?

If you are stopped by the police, you may be asked to undertake an assessment. This is where the police may ask you to undertake a number of tests, for example, walk in a straight line. The police may also use a drug kit to test for drugs in your system at the roadside. If the police suspect that you have consumed drugs whilst driving, they can arrest you and take you to a police station. At the police station the police can request a blood or urine sample from you, if the test shows you have taken a specific drug, you could be charged with drug driving. 

What if I take prescription Drugs?

Section 5A(3) provides a defence if a specified controlled drug is prescribed or supplied in accordance with the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and taken in accordance with medical advice.

Here at Johnson Astills we can offer expert legal advice to assist with challenging the offence.

How would I challenge a charge of Drug Driving?

Johnson Astills can help you challenge a charge of Drug driving. We can instruct an expert to help you challenge the results of a test or to carry out a further analysis of the sample provided to the police. This can be useful if you do not accept the results of the test or if you have no, low or historical use of a drug which seems contrary to the Prosecution’s results.

What sentence will I get for Drug Driving? Will I be disqualified from driving?  

If you are convicted of Drug Driving you will be disqualified from driving for a minimum of 12, unless the Court are persuaded that there are special reasons not to disqualify from driving.

Can I go to prison for Drug Driving?

You should also expect to receive a fine or a community penalty, such as unpaid work, alongside a disqualification. However, the court can impose a prison sentence of up to 6 months for the offence of drug driving. This is more likely if the level of drugs is very high, it is a repeated offence of drug driving or if you are also charged with other related offence particularly offences related to bad driving.  

Johnson Astills are experts in Road Traffic offences, and are able to assist 24 hours of the day whether at the police station or at Court. If you need advice or representation from Johnson Astills , please contact us at crimeteam@johnsonastills or telephone us on 0116 255 4855.

To discuss any offences please contact our Criminal Defence Team at Johnson Astills at our Leicester or Loughborough offices.