Drug Driving

Many people remain unaware that there are now prescribed limits for driving with drugs in your system.  The limits are set very low.

On 2 March 2015, the drug driving law changed to make it easier for the police to catch and convict drug drivers.

It is now an offence to drive with any of 17 controlled drugs above a specified level in your blood. This includes illegal and medical drugs. The limits set for each drug is different but have been set at a level to rule out any accidental exposure (i.e. from passive smoking).

The police can test for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside, and screen for other drugs, including ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin at the police station. Even drivers that pass the roadside check can be arrested if the police suspect that your driving is impaired by drugs.

If you have been prosecuted for a drug driving offence, contact Kellocks now for expert advice.

The law

S4 Road Traffic Act 1988

  • A person who, when driving or attempting to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place, is unfit to drive through drink or drugs is guilty of an offence.
  • Without prejudice to subsection (1) above, a person who, when in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle which is on a road or other public place, is unfit to drive through drink or drugs is guilty of an offence.

S5A Road Traffic Act 1988

Driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle with concentration of specified controlled drug above specified limit. It is an offence to drive, attempt to drive or be in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place with a proportion of a specified drug over the specified limit for that drug.  There is a statutory defence which may apply.

What am I looking at?

Similar to drink driving, a minimum 12 month disqualification from driving is pretty much inevitable on conviction. Factors such as poor driving or carrying passengers could lead to a guideline sentence start point of immediate custody.

Is Legal Aid available?

It depends.

Allegations of drug driving offences may satisfy the “interests of justice” test.  If they do in your case and if you are financially eligible, legal aid would be available.  If it is, we can provide representation at no cost to yourself at court.

Contact us now and we can provide you with expert advice regarding legal aid eligibility or a fixed fee to provide representation.