Drug Driving – What you Need to Know
New Laws Came in 2015
New drug driving laws in England and Wales came into effect in March 2015, which made it an offence to drive if you have certain drugs in your system.
It’s illegal to drive if either:
- you’re unfit to do so because you’re on legal or illegal drugs
- you have certain levels of illegal drugs in your blood (EVEN IF YOUR DRIVING IS NOT AFFECTED)
Those caught face a minimum 12-month driving ban, up to six months in prison, an unlimited fine and a criminal record. Levins Solicitors are experts in dealing with drug driving cases and our expertise guarantees that our clients get the best possible outcome when facing such charges.
It is a common misconception that your driving must be impaired as a result either illegal drugs or some legal drugs in order to be prosecuted. Due to the change in drug driving law the drugs just have to be in your system. The amount of drugs in your system may depend on how long you are banned for and what other sentence you may face.
The police can stop you and make you do a ‘field impairment assessment’ if they think you’re on drugs. This is a series of tests, eg asking you to walk in a straight line. However, it is now more common for the police to use a roadside drug kit to screen for Cannabis and Cocaine.
If the police think that you are unfit to drive or the road side test shows that there are drugs in your system then you will be arrested and will have to take a blood or urine test at a police station.
You could be charged with a criminal offence if the test shows you’ve taken drugs.
As well as illegal drugs, such as Cannabis and Cocaine, it’s an offence to drive if you have over the specified limits of certain drugs in your blood and you haven’t been prescribed them. Talk to your doctor about whether you should drive if you’ve been prescribed any of the following drugs:
- amphetamine, eg dexamphetamine or selegiline
- morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, eg codeine, tramadol or fentanyl
You could be prosecuted if you drive with certain levels of these drugs in your body and you haven’t been prescribed them.
Penalties for Drug Driving
If you’re convicted of drug driving you’ll get:
- a minimum 1 year driving ban
- an unlimited fine
- up to 6 months in prison
- a criminal record
Your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving.
The penalty for causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs is a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
Other problems you could face:
- Increase in car insurance
- Your employer may need to know if you drive for a living
If you find yourself facing a drug driving charge or investigation it is important that you contact one of our experienced criminal solicitors as soon as possible. You contact us via our contact form or call us on 0151 480 5777