Drug driving solicitors
If you have been stopped by the police and charged with driving whilst unfit because of drug use, contact us to speak to one of our specialist motoring offences solicitors.
We are experts in dealing with allegations of drug driving and we will work on your behalf to mount a strong defence against the charges.
Drug driving is defined as when someone gets behind the wheel of a vehicle under the influence of any substance (illegal or legal) which is likely to impair their driving ability.
Testing for drugs
Unlike alcohol breathalysers, there is no scientific test that can be carried out by Police at the roadside. This is because there is no legal limit for the use of drugs. There are many different types of drugs, from prescription drugs to illegal substances, which affect people’s ability to drive in different ways.
If the Police think that your driving is impaired by drug use they will carry out a field impairment test. This involves being asked to close your eyes and touch your nose or to stand on each foot alternately for 30 seconds whilst counting aloud. They may also check your pupils for unusual dilation which could be caused by the use of certain drugs.
These tests are used to determine whether the Police think you are unfit to drive a vehicle. If you fail these tests you may be taken to the Police station to undergo biological tests such as blood or urine samples.
It is an offence to refuse to participate in any of these tests, either at the roadside or at the Police station.
Penalties for drug driving
The penalties for drug driving are the same as for drink driving - a ban and a fine of up to £5,000, or up to 6 months in jail.
If the person under the influence of drugs causes a fatal accident they could face a longer ban and up to 10 years in jail.
Defences for drug driving
Prosecutions for drug driving offences are restricted to those where Police can prove that an individual is incapable of driving because of drugs.
This can sometimes be argued due to the standard of driving involved, for example if someone under the influence of drugs caused a crash. However, in many cases it will revolve around a field impairment test and further biological tests carried out at the Police station.
Strict procedures exist to ensure that the correct protocols are followed at all times by Police officers. Any deviation from these procedures can be a cause for challenge of the charges.
It may also be possible to question the evidence of a forensic scientist because of the differing effects that drugs have on each individual. They have to present evidence based on whether the readings of drug levels in a person’s body would normally cause a person to be impaired. This will obviously vary from person to person and can therefore be argued.
If you have been charged with driving whilst unfit because of drug use contact us to speak to one of our specialist solicitors.