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Drug Drive Penalties

Drug Drive Penalties

Drug Drive Penalties – What are the drug driving penalties in the UK?

In the UK, drug driving is a serious crime with an equally serious punishment. But exactly what are the drug driving penalties?

Let’s take a look at each of the possible consequences if you are charged with drug driving by the police:

What Is Drug Driving?

It is important to understand that drug driving limits in the UK apply to 17 specific drugs. Eight of these are illegal anyway, but nine are prescription medications that your doctor can give to you.

Reach out to one of our specialist drug driving solicitors today – for FREE and with no obligation – by giving us a call on 033 03411690 or by completing a Free Online Enquiry with zero commitment to use us.

Each of these seventeen drugs has a set limit (measured in microgrammes per litre of blood) that you can have in your bloodstream and still legally drive:

Illegal Drugs

The drug drive limits for each of the already-illegal drugs you can have in your system are set to very low levels. However, the goal was to set these above the level you would have in your system if you had only been passive smoking, for example.

The eight illegal drugs that have set limits for what also constitutes drug driving are:

  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Ketamine
  • LSD
  • MDMA
  • Meth
  • Speed

Legal Prescription Drugs

In theory, the drug drive limits for the nine legal prescription drugs are set above the standard dosage levels that you should have in your system were you prescribed them by your doctor. You should always carry your prescription documentation with you, just in case you are stopped.

The nine legal medications (actually eight plus Amphetamines, which have special limits given their use as both medication and for illegal recreation) covered by drug driving laws are:

  • Amphetamines
  • Clonazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Lorazepam
  • Methadone
  • Morphine (and opioid-based drugs in general)
  • Oxazepam
  • Temazepam

What Are The Drug Driving Penalties In The UK?

1) A Mandatory Minimum 12-Month Driving Ban

If you are found guilty of drug driving, the court must impose a minimum driving ban of at least 12 months. If there were any aggravating factors in your case – things that would make it more serious, for example if you were also speeding in a city centre area – this can be extended to three years.

A driving ban might not sound that serious to some people. But for many others, the immediate questions are:

  • How will I get to work if I can’t drive?
  • If my work involves driving, how will I earn a living?
  • If I can’t drive, how much does public transport cost?

2) An Unlimited Fine

The court is likely to impose a financial penalty on you too. In theory, this can be an unlimited amount. But, in practice, it’s usually:

  1. Limited to £5000, the maximum fine that a magistrates’ court can impose
  2. Linked to your income, usually estimated at between one and two week’s wages

Regardless though, that’s still not an amount of money that most people will look forward to having to pay.

3) Up To Six Months In Prison

For the worst cases, the court may impose a drug driving penalty that also includes actual prison time.

This isn’t always part of a penalty. However, it is something that can happen – particularly if there were any more aggravating factors or you have other similar offences on your record.

4) A Criminal Record

A criminal record is not something to take lightly. You have to disclose it to future employers, for instance. This can make it difficult to find work or change jobs.

It is also difficult to travel to some other countries – such as the USA – if you have a criminal record.

5) An 11-Year Endorsement On Your Driving License

Finally, the fact you were found guilty of drug driving stays on your driving license for the next eleven years. Once you are allowed to drive again, this will make your car insurance much more expensive – you’ll be viewed as a risk.

What Do I Do If I Am Charged With Drug Driving?

Drug drive penalties can be life-altering – and not in a good way. If you have been charged with drug driving, you need to find expert legal representation right away. So why not talk to us about it?

DFR Solicitors have successfully helped 95% of our clients avoid or reduce any driving ban they would be facing from a motoring offence.

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