Drug Driving

Driving while being over the prescribed limit

It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle on a road or in a public space while being over the prescribed limit for one or more of the following prescription and illegal drugs:

Prescription drugs:

– Clonazepam (used to treat seizures and some panic disorders), 50 µg/L (micrograms per litre)
– Diazepam (used for anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms and muscle spasms) 550 µg/L
– Flunitrazepam (sedative)  300 µg/L
– Lorazepam (used to treat epilepsy) 100 µg/L
– Methadone (used to treat heroin addiction, and as a form of pain relief) 500 µg/L
– Morphine, 80 µg/L
– Oxazepam,(used to relieve anxiety) 300 µg/L
– Temazepam (used to treat insomnia) 1000 µg/L

Illegal drugs:

– Benzoylecgonine (a metabolite of cocaine), 50 µg/L
– Cocaine, 10 µg/L
– Delta–9–tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis), 2 µg/L
– Ketamine, 20 µg/L (sedative)
– Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 1 µg/L
– Methylamphetamine (Crystal Meth), 10 µg/L
– Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA – ecstasy), 10 µg/L
– 6-monoacetylmorphine (6-MAM – heroin and diamorphine), 5 µg/L

Being Tested For Drug Driving

A limited number of police forces use roadside saliva tests, to test for cannabis and cocaine, however, if the Police have a reasonable suspicion that you are drug driving, you can be arrested and taken to a police station and required to give an evidential sample of blood. If the results show that your sample contains one of the above drugs over the prescribed limits, you will be charged and prosecuted for drug driving.

Penalties range from:

– An unlimited fine, unpaid work in the community or an electronically monitored curfew or up to six months imprisonment.
– A mandatory minimum disqualification of 12 months
– This mandatory driving ban increases to a minimum of three years, if you have a previous relevant conviction within the last 10 years
Prescription medication defence for drug driving
It is a defence to demonstrate that you are taking prescription medication in accordance with the advice of your doctor and the patient information leaflets provided by the manufacturer.
The Police must follow various statutory procedures during the investigation which we will scrutinise to establish whether there are any flaws that would give rise to a defence. We regularly instruct the countries leading independent forensic toxicology expert to assess the analysis undertaken by the police laboratory in order to establish whether that evidence is unreliable and can be challenged.

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