DRUG DRIVING

If you are facing a drug driving charge you will be extremely worried about the consequences as there is a mandatory disqualification of a minimum of 12 months. You do not need to worry we are here to help you every step of the way

The only way the police could prosecute motorists for drug driving offences up until the new legislation brought in 2 March 2016 was for an offence of driving whilst unfit.

The police had to prove impairment which they rarely could so it was seldom prosecuted.

However, in March 2016, new legislation was brought in with prescribed limits for drugs, if you are over these limits then you will be prosecuted for driving over the prescribed limits for drugs in the same way as excess alcohol limits.

This includes not only prohibited drugs such as cannabis, heroin and cocaine but also medicinal drugs properly prescribed.

Similar offences of being in charge of a vehicle under influence of drugs/failing to provide specimens as in excess alcohol cases. 

Failing to supply specimen for analysis for drink or drugs

In Charge of a vehicle whilst under the influence of drink or drugs

The police no longer have to show any impairment and there has been an wave of prosecutions for drug driving offences as forces bring in drug driving campaigns.

More than 400 a month arrested for drug driving since new laws introduced: 50% of motorists stopped are testing positive

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3120803/More-400-month-arrested-drug-driving-new-laws-introduced-50-motorists-stopped-testing-positive.html#ixzz3kaafOAeB

 

What are the drug limits?

 

Illicit drugs

  • Benzoylecgonine, 50 µg/L
  • Cocaine, 10 µg/L
  • Delta–9–Tetrahydrocannabinol (Cannabis and Cannabinol), 2 µg/L
  • Ketamine, 20 µg/L
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), 1 µg/L
  • Methylamphetamine – 10 µg/L
  • Methylenedioxymethaphetamine (MDMA – Ecstasy), 10 µg/L
  • 6-Monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM – Heroin and Morphine), 5 µg/L

Generally Prescription Drugs

  • Clonazepam, 50 µg/L
  • Diazepam, 550 µg/L
  • Flunitrazepam, 300 µg/L
  • Lorazepam, 100 µg/L
  • Methadone, 500 µg/L
  • Morphine, 80 µg/L
  • Oxazepam, 300 µg/L
  • Temazepam, 1000 µg/L

How do the police find out if I am over the limit?

The police will use a drug screening device (DSD) to establish the presence of drugs. These can test up to 6 drugs in a single test of a person’s saliva.

The DSDs are not 100% accurate and therefore cannot be used as evidence in a court case. They can give false readings both positive and negative and are affected by eating and drinking prior to the test which is why manufacturers of the DSD recommend that there should be a 10 minutes delay after eating or drinking.

The result will give the police sufficient evidence to suspect someone of driving above the drug limit and therefore you will be arrested. You should co-operate because any refusal or obstruction could lead to other offences.

You will be asked to supply a blood sample at the police station which youshould do. You will be offered a sample which you should accept and keep refrigerated until your solicitor indicates it is safe to dispose of. You will receive the result of the analysis within 6-8 weeks and if over the limit you will be charged with Driving with drugs over the prescribed limit.

NOTE : that refusing to provide either specimen is an offence as it is for excess alcohol.

READ MORE ABOUT FAILING TO PROVIDE 

What are the consequences of a drug drive conviction?

  1. Mandatory minimum penalty of 12-month disqualification and a fine of 1.5
    weeks’ net wages;
  2. For repeat offenders, a mandatory minimum penalty of 36-month
    disqualification along with a fine of 1.5 weeks’ net wages;
  3. Your driving licence will be endorsed for 11 years for drug driving;
  4. Possible prison sentence in high reading or repeat offender cases;
  5. Criminal record;
  6. Possible professional consequences such as loss of job/licence to practice;
  7. Significant insurance issues: many insurers to refuse to insure drivers with drink driving convictions from within the last 5 years so your current insurer may refuse to insure you once your disqualification is over.  An average increase in insurance premiums for 5 years post conviction is  103.25%. So, if your insurance premium was £1000 prior to being convicted, you can expect it to pay an increased premium of £2032.50. Multiply the increase by the 5 years your insurers will punish you with increased premiums and you will have spent an additional £5162.50.
  8. Restrictions on foreign travel
  9. Reputational damage.

We understand how you feel about the impact all the potential consequences can have on your work and family. We can help you every step of the way with outstanding expert advice and constant support throughout the process.

How can Auriga Advocates help me?

  • We can help to alleviate all the worry and anxiety that facing an offence of drug driving can cause by giving free initial advice 
  • We can support you even before you are charged by providing representation at a police interview. READ MORE ABOUT POLICE STATION INTERVIEWS
  • We will review the evidence against you meticulously and keep both the prosecution evidence and your defence evidence under constant review.
  • We will keep you informed every step of the way.
  • We will answer all of your questions and concerns.
  • We ensure that you get the best representation in court because we only used advocates we know and trust.
  • If you are pleading guilty we will ensure that you have evidence in support of your mitigation and expert representation to secure the best result possible
  • We will listen and support you all the way without extra charge
  • We will agree a fixed fee so that you have peace of mind financially and we also have payment options to spread the financial burden.

What is the sentence for drug driving?

There are no sentencing guidelines for the new drug law at present and this has led to some significant differences in sentencing, if a bench equate the drugs sentencing to that of excess alcohol. The excess alcohol guidelines are based on respective levels of impairment but these cannot be compared to drugs because the illicit drug levels are not based on impairment. They are based on zero tolerance levels.

However, recent guidance suggests aggravating factors to increase sentence and disqualification so evidence of impairment in driving will increase your sentence and disqualification above the minimum Band C fine and 12 months
disqualification.

The other factor is also that although there is legislative provision for a drugs drive rehabilitation course there are presently no providers so a drug drive offender cannot take advantage of the 25% reduction which that offers.

At the moment pilot schemes for a new drink/drug driving course are being piloted and it is hopeful that courses will become available at sometime in 2018. 

It is imperative that a drug driver is represented to ensure that a fair sentence is passed.

Do not face your sentence alone call one of our expert lawyers to help you now?

Is there a defence to drug driving?

There is a defence has been introduced under S5A(3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988  which states that if a drug is prescribed for medical or dental reasons and taken in accordance with any directions by the Doctor, Dentist or consultant and also the manufacturers instructions. The drugs must also be being used legally ie not prescribed to another.

The only other defences which could be are raised are

  • You were not driving or
  • A procedural fault which results in the sample evidence being in
    admissable.

I don't take cannabis but I have been with friends who do. Will I be over the limit through passive smoking? Is this a defence?

Technically it could amount to a ‘special reason.’

A special reason is not a defence, but if accepted by the court,  allows the Magistrates to exercise their discretion to impose a disqualification of a period less than the mandatory 12 months, no disqualification at all  or to impose penalty points if they feel you inadvertently consumed cannabis.

READ MORE ABOUT SPECIAL REASONS

Release a company which specialises in health, welfare and legal needs of drug users have raised concerns about the new law because they have research evidence that the passive inhalation of cannabis smoke can produce levels of the drug between 1 – 7 ug/L which is over the 2 ug/L limit. The Government, however is confident that passive smoking will not take an individual over the limit of 2ug/L, after taking advice from an expert advisory group

Unsure whether this applies to you – call one of expert lawyers to advise

I have heard that some defences have been successful because the laboratory has made mistakes, is this true? Could it be the case for my defence?

If you have been charged with drug driving and your samples were tested by Randox Testing Services then you will be interested to know that Randox Testing Services has had its drug driving laboratory accreditation withdrawn.

This means that it can no longer analyse blood specimens for use in drug driving cases. It also raises further concerns about the integrity of previous drug driving samples analysed at RTS Manchester, particularly if this has resulted in a drug driving conviction.

Click here below to find out more

There are analysts who will examine the procedure your sample went through and
highlight any issues.

However, since this procedure has been in over 12 months the laboratories are improving their systems so they are more robust than ever.

Any such analysis would require the cost of a report which would be at least £600.

Should I plead guilty or not guilty?

The difficulty you will face is that the vast majority of the evidence will not be provided unless and until a not guilty plea has been entered to the charge.

If you are willing to accept that you committed the offence even though the evidence has not been fully scrutinised and that you will be disqualified then you may wish to plead guilty, keep your legal costs to a fine to a minimum and start your disqualification as quickly as possible.

On the other hand, if you are not prepared to accept you were over the limit and want to investigate possible defences then we would advise you to seriously consider entering a not guilty plea to the charge.

One of our expert solicitors can discuss your case and assist you with your decision on plea. Free of Charge


I am going to Amsterdam where I will take cannabis will it be safe to drive when I am back in the UK a couple days later?

The answer to your question is we do not know.

Cannabis and most other drugs stay in your system much longer than alcohol. We have known people to have the drug in their system 4 days after consumption Recent research suggests that a 2ug of cannabis can stay in your system for 9 days.

If you are a regular user there is an increased risk that you are more likely to be over the prescribed limit at any time. 

It is impossible to work out what limit you will be at unless you take a blood test.

I have never taken cannabis but have proved positive I take Santex for my MS Am I still guilty?

Sativex is a whole cannabis extract and can be prescribed for patients with multiple sclerosis. Currently in the United Kingdom it is also being considered as treatment for brain cancer too.

The Department of Transport has provided guidance for Sativex users confirming, if you are an MS sufferer who in the opinion of a doctor is able to drive safely you should not be deterred from either taking your medicine or from driving. In these circumstances there is a statutory medical defence that can be raised for the new drug driving offence.

Unsure what your options are?

If you are charged with an drug  drive offence you will be devastated and also fearful for the impact any penalty imposed would have on your family and work.  You do not need to go through this alone. Call one our specialist solicitors who will be able to discuss your options and support you every step of the way

One of our legal team will be more than happy to discuss  your options and your concerns FREE OF CHARGE.  

Between us we will reach the right option for you.  

We will not charge you a penny until you instruct us to act for you and offer an instalment payment plan to make it easier for you financially.

We are confident that we can offer you the best advice and support but you do not have to take our word for it see what our clients think of us

By all means browse our website, check out our services and fees you will find we offer our services at highly  competitive rates. You do not have to pay extra for attention and support we give that naturally because we care about you and understand what a traumatic experience being charged with an offence is.

  • Auriga Advocates have been extremely helpfully, very professional to the highest of standards. My case was dealt with quickly, efficiently and thoroughly. I was given all the relevant information to make an excellent and informed decision for the best possible outcome. Andrea has an extensive knowledge regarding drink drive offences and court in general. I would highly recommend her to anyone with confidence that she would be able to get the best possible outcome.

    Mr L Cheshire

  • I came across Andrea via the Website, and after reading the testimonials I decided to make an appointment with Andrea. From that very first meeting I found Andrea very  knowledgeable and professional in her field. Andrea is also a caring, friendly and compassionate person, always at the end of the telephone if I had any questions or queries.

  • Just a short note to say thank you to you both for your help, assistance and professional guidance in relation to my court case.At all times I felt that you were very much acting on my behalf and supporting him. (drug driving – October 2016)

    Mr L Staffordshire

  • I would like to thank you for all your help and support over the last few months both in and out of court, knowing I could contact you if ever i had any questions was very reassuring and made this whole ordeal a lot less stressful, for that I cant thank you enough.

    I found your representation in court excellent, resulting in the lowest possible disqualification and fine I could have received.

    I really appreciate all the work you put into my case thank you. 

    Ms S   CHESHIRE

  • I wanted to write to thank both yourself and Tony for your amazing support and performance during my recent drink drive charge. I was thoroughly impressed with you both and will happily recommend you to anyone that may be facing driving convictions in the future.

    Mr C Cheshire ( March 2016)

  • The service I received was exemplary I couldn’t have received the result I got without her expertise! I was so impressed with the ultimate result and the friendly help and advice I recieved from Auriga I feel it was money well spent!

    Mr B, Northants  (June 2016)

  • At times I was unable to go to Auriga’s office, so in turn Andrea came to my home, which took away a lot of the stress.

    Throughout , Andrea was very supportive and showed tremendous dedication.

    Andrea put an excellent defence case at my court hearing, which resulted in a small fine, and a reduced driving disqualification.

    I cannot thank Andrea enough for the professionalism and support she gave to me. I would highly recommend Andrea to anyone in the future.”

    Ms W, Cheshire

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