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How Long Do The Police Have To Prosecute For Drug Driving?

How Long Do The Police Have To Prosecute For Drug Driving?

If you are facing a drug driving charge, it is important to understand how the system works. In our long experience of successfully defending people against motoring offences, we find one of the first things that people in your position ask is, “How long do the police have to prosecute for drug driving?”

The short answer to this question is that for drug driving they have six months to charge you. However, even if you are well into this time window, you should be aware that it is no guarantee the police won’t charge you by the time it runs out.

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.

Here is everything you need to know about drug driving and how long the police have to take you to court for it:

What Is Drug Driving?

In 2015, changes were made to the Road Traffic Act. These changes made it illegal to drive with more than set quantities of 17 specific (legal and illegal) drugs in your system. Offences under this new clarification of the law are widely referred to as drug driving.

Some of the drugs listed are perfectly legal when prescribed by a physician. However, it has been judged that they impair your ability to drive to an extent that people shouldn’t be allowed to do it.

No matter whether it was one of these legal prescribed medications or a drug that is illegal in the UK anyway (like cannabis or cocaine), the police must prove you had over that set amount of that particular drug in your body while driving. If they believe they can, they will charge you with drug driving.

What Is The Penalty For Drug Driving?

Drug driving is a serious motoring offence, sometimes referred to as a type of dangerous driving. The consequences of being found guilty are equally serious. Even for a first offence, you could face:

  1. Six months in prison – this is a particular risk if you have a history of similar offences or aggravating factors like also being over the alcohol limit at the same time.
  2. A mandatory minimum 12-month driving ban – will be the shortest ban that the court can give you. This can be raised to as many as three years for particularly egregious offences.
  3. A theoretically unlimited fine – but practically a maximum of £5000, the highest that a magistrates’ court can hand out.
  4. A criminal record – this will make it harder for you to find work in future and will add to your future car insurance bill.
  5. A penalty on your license – that will show you have been found guilty of drug driving and will stick with you for the next 11 years.

This is all important to bear in mind. Because many people wondering how long the police have to prosecute for drug driving are essentially hoping that the clock will “tick down” and they will escape the consequences.

Crossing your fingers and hoping for the best is always a bad idea in legal matters – especially when the penalty for drug driving is so serious. It is always a good idea to at least discuss your situation with a skilled drug driving solicitor as soon as possible.

How Long Do The Police Have To Charge You With Drug Driving In The UK?

For drug driving, six months to charge is the timeframe the police have to prosecute you in.

However, a large part of this time often elapses while the police are waiting for the blood sample you provided to be tested by a forensic scientist and the results sent back. This can take anywhere up to eight weeks or two months or even longer.

The result is that people who are charged with drug driving can be lulled into a false sense of security because the police do not continue action for several months. Then, the test result arrives and the charge is made.

Can Police Prosecute After Six Months?

Generally speaking, no. The police cannot charge you for drug driving once the six-month window has expired. That six-month limit applies to many different types of crimes – especially summary-only offences like drug driving. There are many exceptions, but not usually for drug driving.

Again though, it is a very bad idea to wait around hoping for the best. If you are arrested for drug driving, you should always get expert legal advice right away.

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Want to speak with a specialist drink and drug driving solicitor about your situation for FREE and with no obligation? Contact us now on 033 03411690 or by complete a Free Online Enquiry to arrange a commitment-free chat with one of our experts.

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Nigel Murray

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