In 2019, 12,391 people were convicted of drug driving which is an increase of over 2,000 from the previous year. Enforcement of drug driving laws varies across the country with some police forces convicting ten times more people than other areas.
The offence of drug driving is contained in section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 which states ‘it is an offence to drive, attempt to drive or be in charge of a motor vehicle with a specifies controlled drug in the blood or urine in excess of the specified limit for that drug.’
If stopped by police under suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs you may be required to conduct a preliminary Field Impaired Test (FIT) and the police could use a roadside screening device which tests for the presence of a variety of controlled drugs.
If the FIT or roadside screening indicates that you are under the influence of drugs you will be taken to the police station where a sample of blood will be taken and submitted for forensic examination to determine the level of drugs (per litre of blood) in your system. It is unlawful to drive with illegal drugs in your system even if they have not impaired your driving.
It can also be unlawful to drive even if you have taken prescribed medication as they can impact your ability to drive. It is always important to read the documentation to see if driving is recommended after taking medication or seek a medical professional’s opinion if unsure.
If convicted of driving under the influences of drugs the penalties include; up to six months in prison, a driving disqualification of at least 12 months and a financial penalty.
There are defences to driving under the influence of drugs which include; a procedural error, the medication or drug was prescribed or the drug was taken after driving.
Due to the technical nature of this area if you are charged with driving under the influence of drugs it is crucial that you seek legal advice. If you need to talk to someone please contact one of our motoring solicitors, on email@example.com or 01753 279039.