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Drug Driving

Drug Driving Solicitor

If you or someone you know has been accused of drug driving, our specialist drug driving solicitors are here to provide expert legal support and advice throughout proceedings.

Facing charges for alleged drug driving offences is extremely stressful, with the consequences potentially far reaching. Our drug driving solicitors understand this, working with you closely throughout proceedings to ensure you’re always kept in the loop and giving you complete support.

At BKP Solicitors, our team of legal experts has successfully defended drug driving cases since 1998. Our extensive knowledge in this area will provide you with peace of mind that you have the best possible legal help on your side. Get in touch with our team of motoring law solicitors today by calling us or completing our online contact form.

How Our Drug Driving Solicitors Can Help

At BKP Solicitors, we understand how stressful it can be to face drug driving charges, especially if losing your licence will mean a loss of livelihood and independence. We are here to fight your corner and have a proven track record of successfully defending a variety of motoring offences.

We can provide you with all the necessary guidance, advice and have the expertise to represent you in court. We have helped hundreds of clients avoid disqualification and many of our cases have been dropped by the prosecution without coming to trial.

By instructing BKP Solicitors, you can be assured that you have a team of highly skilled legal professionals who will provide you with the exceptional representation that you deserve.

What Is Drug Driving?

At the most basic level, drug driving is simply operating a motor vehicle whilst under the influence of drugs which may impair your ability to drive.

Since 2015, there have been two ways you can be prosecuted for drug driving offences, with the method of prosecution depending on the drugs involved. They are:

  • Driving whilst unfit through drugs
  • Driving with excess drugs

Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drugs

If you are to be convicted of driving whilst unfit through drugs, the prosecution must demonstrate that your driving ability was impaired as a result of you taking drugs before choosing to drive.

Naturally, this is difficult to prove, with the police typically using a roadside test to judge your level of impairment. The test will include:

  • Checking your pupil size
  • Modified Romberg balance test
  • The walk and turn test
  • The one leg stand
  • Putting your finger to your nose

Should the police decide you have failed this test, you will be taken to the police station to get a blood sample to define the precise amount of drugs in your system at the time.

Although the blood test is used, there is no defined limit in these cases, meaning it will merely form part of the prosecution’s case against you and having a high level does not necessarily prove guilt.

Driving With Excess Drugs

Introduced in 2015, this offence was introduced due to the uncertainty surrounding a driving whilst unfit through drugs charge. Featuring specific legal limits for a range of drugs, this is similar to drink driving prosecutions and is the most common prosecution method for drug driving offences.

Prosecuting under driving with excess drugs law is, therefore, a more straightforward process for the police, who simply need to establish two things to satisfy charging criteria:

  • A specified person was driving
  • The specified person had a level of drug within their system over the set legal limit

The legal limits for drug driving are:
  • Illegal Drugs Limit in blood: benzoylecgonine 50µg/L, cocaine 10µg/L, cannabis 2µg/L, ketamine 20µg/L, lysergic acid diethylamide 1µg/L, methylamphetamine 10µg/L, MDMA 10µg/L, heroin 5µg/L
  • Legal/Prescription Drugs Limit in blood: clonazepam 50µg/L, diazepam 550µg/L, flunitrazepam 300µg/L, lorazepam 100µg/L, methadone 500µg/L, morphine 80µg/L, oxazepam 300µg/L, temazepam 1,000µg/L

If you are found driving whilst over the legal limits outlined above, you will be taken into custody.

The specified limits are strict by design meaning that, in cases where drugs take several days to go through your system, you could be found to be over the limit despite not taking drugs for a number of days. This is particularly common in cases involving cannabis.

Failing to Provide a Specimen (FTP)

If you’ve been arrested for drug driving, you’ll be asked to consent to provide a biological sample to provide further evidence that you are under the influence of legal or illegal drugs. In drug driving cases, this is usually a blood test, but you may also be asked to provide a urine sample.

If you refuse to do so, you may be charged again with the offence of ‘failing to provide a specimen’ (DR60 Offence). There are a number of ways to defend allegations of failure to provide, particularly where the police claim you did so without a ‘reasonable excuse’. Police procedure can also be a key element of the defence in both drug driving and failure to provide cases, and the Crown Prosecution Service must prove that the officers adhered to the rules while you were in police custody.

The experienced drug driving defence solicitors at BKP Solicitors will examine every aspect of the case against you to mount the strongest possible defence for the circumstances.

Drug Driving Punishments

Punishments for drug driving offences differ depending on the specific offence you are charged with and the severity of your offence.

The sentencing guidelines for being found guilty of driving whilst unfit through drugs are:

Nature of Activity Starting Point Punishment Range Driving Disqualification
Moderate impairment and no aggravating factors Band C fine 12-16 months Moderate impairment and one or more aggravating factors

Driving with excess drugs, however, does not have definitive sentencing guidelines, leaving your punishment open to the court’s decisions. Basic guidance has been issued, however, which states anyone found guilty should expect to receive:
  • An unlimited fine, community order or sentence of up to six months
  • A mandatory driving ban of 12 months

As you can see, even the lowest level punishment can have a significant impact on your life, making instructing a specialist drug driving solicitor as early as possible in the process vital.

The Additional Consequences of Drug DrivingM

In addition to the punishments laid out above, being found guilty of drug driving will leave you with a drugs conviction on your criminal record, making travelling to other countries a much more difficult (and in some cases impossible) process.

You can also expect your car insurance to dramatically increase following your conviction and remain higher than average for the eleven years the conviction remains on your driving license.

Should the police officers stopping you have reason to believe you have illegal drugs with you, they may also subject you and your car to a search. If any are discovered, they will be kept as evidence to be used against you and could be used to bring additional charges.

Drug Driving on Prescription Medicines

Driving requires you to be alert and sharp as you constantly react to changing situations around you. As with drink driving, this reaction speed and accuracy is impaired by the side effects of taking drugs.

There are some legal prescription drugs for which you can receive a drug driving charge if you are above the prescribed limit, or even if the legal dose you have taken is impairing your driving ability. Therefore, it is strongly advised that you consult your doctor about whether or not it is a risk to operate a vehicle whilst taking a medicine they have prescribed you. It is also important to make sure you administer the correct dose if you are driving.

An overdose of a prescription drug can produce dangerous side effects and symptoms which impair your driving ability:

  • Delayed reactions
  • Blurred vision or hallucinations
  • Low attention span
  • Short temper
  • Tremors or shakiness
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