Caught Drug Driving?

We now see more drug driving prosecutions than ever before. This is due to the law change in 2015 that made it a strict liability offence to be above the specified limit for either one of 17 different drugs.

Following a report from a panel of experts and a drug driving consultation the government decided to take:

  • a zero tolerance approach to 8 drugs most associated with illegal use, with limits set at a level where any claims of accidental exposure can be ruled out
  • a road safety risk based approach to 8 drugs most associated with medical uses
  • a separate approach to amphetamine that balances its legitimate use for medical purposes against its abuse

If stopped by the police, they no longer have to show any impairment of your driving. Instead, it is likely you will face a roadside ‘drug swipe’ which gives the police evidence of an offence, albeit this is an indicator and not an evidential reading.

You will then have blood taken at a police station, be bailed, awaiting confirmation from the laboratory as to the results.

What are the drug driving limits?

Illegal drugs

1. Benzoylecgonine (is a metabolite of cocaine) – 50 micrograms per litre of blood (µg/L)
2. Cocaine – 10µg/L
3. Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) – 2µg/L
4. Ketamine – 20µg/L
5. LSD – 1µg/L
6. Methylamphetamine – 10µg/L
7. MDMA (ecstasy) – 10µg/L
8. Heroin and diamorphine – 5µg/L

Prescription drugs

1. Clonazepam – 50µg/L
2. Diazepam (anti-anxiety) – 550µg/L
3. Flunitrazepam (sedative) – 300µg/L
4. Lorazepam (anti-anxiety) – 100µg/L
5. Methadone (heroin substitute) – 500µg/L
6. Morphine (pain relief) – 80µg/L
7. Oxazepam (anti-anxiety) – 300µg/L
8. Temazepam (anti-anxiety and sedative) – 1,000µg/L
9. Amphetamines (used for conditions such as ADHD) – 250µg/L

Penalties for drug driving

If you’re convicted of drug driving you’ll get:

  • a minimum 1 year driving ban
  • an unlimited fine
  • up to 6 months in prison
  • a criminal record

Your driving licence will also show you’ve been convicted for drug driving. This will last for 11 years.

The penalty for causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs is a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

If you have been charged with any such offence it is important that you take immediate legal and do not wait until the first hearing; criminal procedural matters are time sensitive and the prosecution should be put on notice of any issues forthwith.

Disclaimer The contents of these pages are provided as an information guide only and are limited to offences committed in England and Wales. No responsibility is accepted for any errors, omissions, or misleading statements on these pages or any site to which these pages connect, including any feature or aspect of such site or pages, whether provided by Motor Defence Solicitors or by any organisation, company or individual. No mention of any organisation, company or individual, whether on these pages or on other sites to which these pages are linked shall imply any approval or warranty as to the standing and capability of any such organisations, company or individual on the part of Motor Defence Solicitors.