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Many people are not fully informed about the law relating to driving with certain drugs in their system and may not be aware when they are driving illegally.

If you find yourself facing a drug driving charge, you need to access legal advice at the earliest possible stage to give yourself the best chance of retaining your licence and to avoid other serious repercussions. The Criminal Defence Team at Wilford Smith has years of experience when it comes to defending road traffic cases. Our solicitors can identify any errors or omissions in the case against you, enabling us to plan your defence in the most effective way. We are committed to working ruthlessly to develop a high-level strategy on your behalf, ensuring the best outcome in any case. Accessing quality legal advice as soon as possible provides you with much-needed reassurance at a difficult time, as well as giving you the best chance of avoiding a driving ban. Contact our specialist road traffic defence team today to find out how we can help.

The UK law on drug driving

Government statistics have shown that impairment through drug consumption has been a contributory factor in numerous deaths and serious injuries on the roads in England and Wales. Accidents are more likely to occur when a driver is under the influence of drugs due to effects such as blurred vision, impaired reaction times, loss of concentration and impaired coordination. To address this, the Government brought in new laws regarding drug driving, which came into force in March 2015, with the aim of making it easier to arrest and convict those driving under the influence of drugs. Previously, the police were required to prove that the presence of drugs in a driver's system had caused their driving to be impaired, but this is no longer the case. An offence will now be committed if a driver is found to have drugs present in their blood above prescribed levels.

As of 2017, it is illegal to drive with 17 specified drugs in your blood if traces of these drugs are found to be above a certain level. The list includes nine medicinal drugs and eight illegal drugs. There are:

Medicinal drugs:

  • Amphetamine
  • Clonazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Lorazepam
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Oxazepam
  • Temazepam

Illegal drugs:

  • Benzoylecgonine
  • Cocaine
  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (cannabis)
  • Ketamine
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide
  • Methylamphetamine
  • MDMA
  • 6-monoacetylmorphine (heroin)

How are drivers tested for drugs?

If you are stopped by the police on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, officers will first carry out a roadside screening test and a Field Impairment Test (FIT). The FIT involves the police observing you while you carry out a series of five tests to measure your mental and physical coordination:

  • The Pupil Measure Test: tests pupil dilation and reaction to light.
  • The Romberg Test: tests balance and judgement.
  • The Walk and Run Test.
  • The One Leg Stand Test.
  • The Finger-to-Nose Test.

If you fail the FIT, you will be arrested and taken to a police station where you will undergo a blood or urine test to confirm whether you have legal or illegal drugs in your system. If you are arrested, you are entitled to access legal advice at this time.

What are the penalties for drug driving?

If you are convicted of drug driving you will receive a minimum one-year driving ban and a criminal record. It is also open to the court to issue you with a fine of an unlimited amount, and a prison sentence of up to six months.

Contact our Drug Driving Defence Solicitors in Sheffield and London

Wilford Smith’s Criminal Defence Solicitors appear in court regularly and take a ruthless approach to challenging every detail of the prosecution’s case. We have extensive experience defending in road traffic cases and can provide you with the best legal advice to help avoid the loss of your licence and other penalties. Contesting road traffic charges can be a complex process, but you can be sure that our experienced Criminal Defence Team will provide straightforward, practical advice as part of our client-focused and highly personal service.

Our Criminal Defence Solicitors are based in Sheffield and London and serve clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 01709 828 044 to find out how we can help.

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