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JR Jones Solicitors Birmingham
solicitors Birmingham

Drug Driving Offences

At J R Jones we have a great deal of experience in defending all types of motoring offences including Drug Driving.

Drug Driving – what is the law in England?

Drug driving is defined as when someone gets behind the wheel of a vehicle under the influence of any substance (illegal or legal) that is likely to impair his or her driving ability.

Drugs testing at the roadside

There is currently no scientific test that can be carried out by contact usPolice at the roadside. This is because there is no legal limit for the use of drugs, unlike for alcohol. There are many different types of drugs, which affect people’s ability to drive in different ways, from prescription drugs to illegal substances.

If you are stopped by the Police it will be often be based on the Police’s belief that your driving is impaired. They may carry out a field impairment test at the roadside. This will involve you being asked to close your eyes and touch your nose or to stand on each foot alternately for 30 seconds whilst counting aloud. They may also check your pupils for unusual dilation which could be caused by the use of certain drugs.

Drugs testing at the Police Station

A roadside impairment test can be used to determine whether the Police think you are unfit or unable to safely to drive a motor vehicle. If you fail this test then you may be taken to the Police station to undergo biological tests such as blood or urine samples.
It is an offence to refuse to participate in any of these tests, either at the roadside or at the Police station.

Penalties for drug driving

The penalties for drug driving are the same as for drink driving - a ban and a fine of up to £5,000, or up to 6 months in jail.

If the person under the influence of drugs causes a fatal accident they could face a longer ban and up to 10 years in jail.

Drug driving – possible defences

Because of the difficulty for Police in proving which drugs a person has taken, and at what dose, prosecutions for drug driving offences are restricted to those where Police can prove that an individual is incapable of driving safely because of drugs.

The Police can argue that your standard of driving was unsafe, for example if someone under the influence of drugs caused a crash. In many cases, prosecution of these cases will revolve around the failure of a field impairment test and further biological tests carried out at the Police station.

Police have to follow very strict guidelines during a drug driving arrest, and the tests must be carried out in the correct manner. Failure to correctly follow these procedures can be a cause for challenge of the charges.

Another area of possible challenge is the actual forensic evidence provided by the Police, and to what extent the consumption of drugs would have impaired a person’s ability to drive safely. Each person has a different metabolism and will be affected by drugs in different ways, in the same way that alcohol consumption affects individuals differently.

Do I require a solicitor for a motoring offence?

Some people choose to represent themselves in Court to try and save money on legal fees. This is almost always a mistake. The Courts have heard every excuse that exists for motoring offences and will not be impressed by someone with little or no understanding of the law trying to defend themselves.

A specialist motoring offences solicitor with knowledge and experience of the law will offer you the best chance of achieving a favourable outcome in your case.

Contact us to speak to one of our solicitors who will assess your case and advise you on a possible defence.