Drug Driving

Drug Driving Solicitors should be the amongst the first to contact If you have been charged following arrest for ‘drug driving’. The expert Drug Driving Solicitors at Briton Solicitors are specialist drug driving & criminal defence lawyers and will provide the best, most immediate guidance or representation needed.

Briton Solicitors are widely recognised as on of the leading drug driving solicitors in London. Briton Solicitors will provide you with the best legal advice to help effectively build a defence to the drug driving charges and will explain all the options to consider in relation to defending the charges, even if you think you are guilty and see no possible positive resolution to your situation.

A relatively new driving offence; drug driving is viewed most seriously by the courts. Drug driving is viewed with zero tolerance where the driver is affected by illegal drugs.

The offence of ‘drug driving’ ie. ‘Being in charge of a motor vehicle with a concentration of a controlled drug above a specified level’ was introduced on the 2 March 2015.  The offence of ‘drug driving’ does not require the prosecution to prove that the driver’s ability to drive is impaired because of illegal or prescribed drugs.  It merely needs to be shown that the concentration is in excess of a specific level.

People caught driving while feeling the effects of drugs should expect to have their vehicle and person searched and if drugs are found to be present then they would be charged with possession. Not everyone realises that since March 2015, it is also an offence to be operating a vehicle while unfit to be behind the wheel because of intoxication due to controlled substances, hence ‘drug driving’. It is also important for drivers to be aware the law does not discriminate between legal and illegal medicines or drugs and your insurers will take a similar view.

If you have taken drugs or even prescribed medicines your driving can be significantly affected, causing lack of concentration, slow response times, tiredness and even dizziness. It is clear that following the push for authorities to clamp down on the prevalence of drink driving across the country that the long arm of the law would seek to combat the rising number of people on the road, driving while influenced by so-called ‘recreational drugs’ or indeed those who perhaps should not be on the road due to the effects of prescribed drugs.

The Police receive advanced training that teaches observational methods in order to assess how cars, lorries and motorcycles are being driven. If you are stopped for any reason by the Police, they will also be considering your behaviours and your appearance for any signs of ‘drug driving’

If the police have their suspicions once they have stopped you to assess a situation, they may ask you to undertake a ‘field impairment assessment’, generally conducted by a special ‘drug driving’ trained officer.  This test can include looking at whether your eyes a bloodshot or that you have dilated pupils. As well as looking at your ability to walk in a straight line, checking your judgement in a variety of ways and possibly testing your balance.

Some forces are also now trialling new roadside testing kits to test for consumption of cannabis and cocaine.

When testing those arrested for ‘Drug Driving Offences’, the police are essentially testing the following illegal and prescribed drugs to be found in the accused at the following levels

Illegal Drugs (Accidental Exposure -zero tolerance approach)

Threshold limit in blood

Benzoylecgonine

50μg/L

Cocaine

10μg/L

Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannibinol (cannabis)

2μg/L

Ketamine

20μg/L

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide

1μg/L

Methylamphetamine

10μg/L

MDMA

10μg/L

6-Monoacetylmorphine (heroin)

5μg/L

As discussed, a further 9 drugs/medicines commonly prescribed as treatment for a variety of health issues are also tested for.  Not only can these drugs sometimes be taken in excessive amounts mistakenly they are also commonly mis-used

Limits for these drugs are therefore set at much higher levels of acceptability to reflect their prevalence in across the UK public

Medicinal’ Drugs (risk-based approach)

Threshold limit in blood

Clonazepam

50μg/L

Diazepam

550μg/L

Flunitrazepam

300μg/L

Lorazepam

100μg/L

Methadone

500μg/L

Morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs

80μg/L

Oxazepam

300μg/L

Temazepam

1,000μg/L

Amphetamine

250μg/L

The police will carry out a roadside test and if the result is positive the driver will be arrested and taken to a police station for further testing.

At the Police Station, it will be requested that you consent to provide a biological sample to further evidence that you are under the effects of legal or illegal drugs. Usually a blood sample, although sometimes a urine sample may be requested. 

The Police are obliged to provide you back a sample of your own blood. Our team would always instruct you to organise independent analysis of your sample as soon as is possible to arrange. We would point out that very few private laboratories appear to be providing this service though, so we would suggest you speak to our ‘Drug driving Solicitors’ the earliest possible point.

If you refuse to provide a sample once requested at the Police Station you could find yourself being charged again under the offence of ‘failing to provide a specimen’

Even if a driver is under the prescribed limit, he may still be at risk of being prosecuted under Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which provides for an offence of driving whilst unfit. 

If you are convicted of driving whilst on drugs you will face:

    1. A minimum disqualification of 1 year 
    2. A maximum £5000 fine
    3. Up to 6 months in prison
    4. A criminal record
    5. Problems travelling to some countries such as the USA

Your driving licence will show that you’ve been convicted for driving whilst under the influence of drugs. This will remain on your licence for 11 years. If you are found guilty of causing death whilst driving under the influence of drugs the penalty is a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

There is no provision for an offender to undertake a course in order to receive a reduced disqualification as there is for a drink driver.

Driving with excess drugs in the blood is a fairly new offence which was only introduced in March 2015. Quite often the procedures used for taking and analysing blood samples are not followed correctly, and many people using medication legitimately will find themselves being charged.

It is a defence to a drug driving charge a person must be able to prove that the drug in their system had been prescribed or supplied to them for medical or dental purposes. In addition to this they will also need to prove that they took the drug in accordance with the instructions they were given by the person who prescribed or supplied the drug to them.

It is important to get specialist legal advice as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of success in a dangerous driving case.  Whether you are contacting us before or after a police interview, we are here to provide expert advice, assistance and representation. 

If you are facing a drug driving conviction it could lead to a custodial sentence which means you will need a specialist solicitor on your side to review the case, defend you and ensure you get the right outcome.

We will help you understand: 

    1. What defence maybe available to you including, any potential legal issues that might crop up
    2. The minimum sentence that can be passed if you plead guilty

WHY BRITON SOLICITORS?

Briton Solicitors are highly experienced team of solicitors in the heart of London. We will always be happy to assist you and answer any of your queries every step of the way. We provide tailored and unique advice to each of our clients. We make sure you are well informed of every aspect of your case and time frames where possible.

*This is subject to entering into a CFA agreement in accordance with our policy and complying with your responsibilities under the agreement.

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Address: 170 Cranbrook Rd,
Ilford, London, IG1 4LX
Phone: +44 0203 475 4545
Fax: +44 0203 475 4040
Email: info@britonsolicitors.co.uk

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