Until March 2015 there were no legal limits for driving whilst under the influence of drugs, also known as drug driving.
At that time, the new ‘Section 5A Drug Driving’ offences were inserted in the Road Traffic Act 1988 (‘the Act’) creating a new offence of driving, attempting to drive or being in charge of a motor vehicle on a public road at a time when the concentration of a specified drug in the blood is above the limit prescribed for that drug.
The Act mirrors the provisions for driving under the influence of alcohol contained within the Act. and there is no requirement to show any evidence of impairment.
Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors comments upon the position.
If you are being prosecuted or anticipate facing prosecution in the Magistrates’ Court in relation to any motoring offence, including driving under the influence of drugs, it is imperative that you seek expert legal guidance to consider your position, including any potential defences which may be available to you.
The team at Kangs Solicitors is here to assist so please feel free to call one of our offices for a no obligation confidential discussion as follows:
We are rated in the Top Tier of both the leading Law Directories, Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners for our work in the field of criminal defence.
Procedure | Kangs Road Traffic Offences Solicitors
The procedure leading to a prosecution under the section 5A legislation generally follows that adopted for drink driving offences in that there is firstly, a roadside test followed by, secondly, confirmation by way of a blood sample at a Police Station.
No urine levels can be used.
If any delay occurs, the levels of drugs in a body may change rapidly. Accordingly, anyone provided with a sample of blood, should obtain an independent assessment of that sample immediately and not wait to see whether or not any prosecution is going to follow.
Potential Defences | Kangs Motoring Offences Defence Team
Potential defences to offences under the Act are:
- that medication had been consumed as prescribed,
- the person in charge of the vehicle had no intention of driving whilst over the limit,
- the drug(s) had been consumed after the driving had been completed,
- there had been an unwitting consumption of the drug(s) e. g. through eating food containing the drug(s).
In relation to the last two examples, it is not possible to undertake a back calculation. Unlike alcohol, the amount of drug(s) taken is often impossible to determine. The metabolism of drugs is much more complex than alcohol and some drugs accumulate with regular usage.
To support the contentions of a defendant at court, the Report of an expert toxicologist may well be required based upon the examination and assessment all of the evidence available.
Sentencing For Offences | Kangs Motoring Law Solicitors
There are still no definitive Sentencing Guidelines for convicted offenders. However, the Sentencing Council has issued some Sentencing Guidance as outlined in our previous article posted to this site entitled:
Who Can I Contact For Help? | Kangs National Motoring Offences Defence Solicitors
The team at Kangs Solicitors assist clients facing motoring prosecutions of every nature on a daily basis and if you need expert help and advice, please do not hesitate to contact the team through one of the following: