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Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs

If you are found guilty of drug driving you could, in serious cases, face a prison sentence.  The law is complicated and there have been recent amendments to it.  There are possible defences, some of which are very technical. Therefore, if you face an allegation of this nature contact our leading specialist motoring law solicitor, Philip Hatvany, now for a free telephone consultation.


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Driving While Above The Proscribed Limit For Drugs

In 2015 new legislation came into force which now makes it an offence if you were found to be driving whilst over the limit for a certain drug. This applies to both illegal and legal drugs.  This is irrespective of whether your driving was affected.

Defences to driving over the proscribed limit for drugs

There are numerous possible defences.  Some examples of these are as follows;

  • The driving in question did not take place on a road or other public place, i.e. it was on private land. It should be noted, however, that car parks are normally treated as public places.
  • If it can be shown that the drug was prescribed, and that the driver had adhered to the advice of the person who supplied or prescribed the drug, then, even if the driver is above the proscribed limit, the court must find the driver not guilty of this offence.  However, such a person could still be found guilty of a separate offence called driving while unfit (see below).
  • When establishing at the police station whether you are above the proscribed limit, a blood or urine sample will be taken by the police.  The police have to follow a strict procedure here.  If they fail to do this then that may constitute a defence.
  • One procedure, the police have to follow, is that when taking blood they must take two samples and the second sample must be offered to you.  In such a case we would advise you very strongly to refrigerate that sample and to contact us immediately so that we can set about having the sample analysed by our own expert to see if you really were over the proscribed limit.

It should be noted that if you refuse to give the required specimen of blood or urine at the police station then the police may pursue you for the offence of failing to provide a specimen.

The penalty for driving while above the proscribed limit

The penalties are the same as for drink driving.  There is a mandatory disqualification for at least a year.  Also there is an unlimited fine.  In extreme cases you can receive a prison sentence for up to 6 months.

In Charge Of A Motor Vehicle Whilst Over The Proscribed Limit For Drugs

This offence is very similar to the offence of being drunk in charge.  It means that the police just have to show that you had some control over the vehicle in question (you would not even necessarily have to be in the vehicle) and that you were over the proscribed limit.

Defences to being in charge of a motor vehicle when over the proscribed limit for drugs

As with being drunk in charge, the most common defence would be to show that there was no likelihood that you would drive the vehicle while over the proscribed limit for drugs.

The penalty for being in charge of a motor vehicle while over the proscribed limit for drugs

This is the same penalty as for being drunk in charge.  The Magistrates Court has a discretion to disqualify you from driving for as long as they see fit.  If they choose not to disqualify you then they must impose 10 penalty points on your driving licence.  You can also be fined up to £2,500.  In extreme cases you can receive a prison sentence of up to 3 months.

Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drugs

Even if you were below the proscribed limit for drug driving, or if you have a defence to being over the limit because you had taken a prescribed drug and you were following proper medical advice, you may still be found guilty of this offence of driving whilst unfit through drugs.  You can be guilty of the offence of driving whilst unfit whether the drugs were illegal or prescribed.

In order to prove that you were driving whilst unfit through drugs the prosecution would have to show that;

(1) Your driving was impaired i.e. you were not able to drive as well as normal.


(2)  The reason for this impairment was the use of drugs.

Defences to driving whilst unfit through drugs

Normally, the evidence of your driving being impaired will come from a police officer who will comment on the manner of your driving.  At Speeding Law Solicitors we are very skilled at cross examining such officers at trial and casting doubt on their evidence.  There are also numerous other possible defences.

The penalty for driving whilst unfit through drugs.

A minimum of a 12 month driving disqualification and an unlimited fine.  In extreme cases up to 6 months in prison.

Why You Should Call Speeding Law Solicitors

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has revealed that over 400 people a month have been arrested for drug driving in England and Wales since the new legislation came into force for driving whilst over the proscribed limit in March 2015.  As can be seen the law in this area is complicated.  Often there are technical defences that people are simply unaware of.  Our leading motoring specialist solicitor, Philip Hatvany, has an 82% success rate (average over the last 10 years) at trial in relation to motoring offences.  He visits a broad range of Magistrates' Courts, these include Reading, Birmingham, Oxford, Coventry, Southampton, Cardiff, Portsmouth, Bristol and Bath Magistrates Courts.  He also attends London Magistrates Courts as well.  Even if your hearing is further afield, we have an expert panel of solicitors and barristers, located throughout England and Wales, who can represent you at the hearing in question under Mr Hatvany’s close supervision.  Mr Hatvany would still carry out all the preparation for your case in his usual meticulous fashion.  Call Philip Hatvany now for a FREE telephone consultation on FREEPHONE 0800 909 8110.