The law states that it is illegal for a person to attempt to drive when under the influence of drugs. This applies to legal and illegal drugs – the important factor is that both can reduce cognitive function, concentration and the ability to make the kinds of judgements critical to safe driving.

Timely legal advice and representation is essential if you have been charged with a drug driving offence. Oratto works to connect consumers with the motoring defence lawyers who are best suited to their circumstances – a service that is completely free of charge – so that they can make properly informed choices regarding their rights.

Drug driving and the 2015 threshold limits

UK law defines a drug as any substance other than alcohol that affects a person's ability to control his or her body.

For a long time drug driving was something of a grey area; however, in March 2015 new laws came into effect which introduced strict limits for eight illegal drugs and eight prescription drugs. The laws mean that it is possible to successfully prosecute on the basis of the results of a blood test or mouth swab test.

The eight illegal drugs and their respective blood-threshold limits are as follows:

  • Benzoylecgonine - 50µg/L
  • Cocaine - 10µg/L
  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (cannabis) - 2µg/L
  • Ketamine - 20µg/L
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide - 1µg/L
  • Methylamphetamine - 10µg/L
  • MDMA - 10µg/L
  • 6-monoacetylmorphine (heroin) - 5µg/L

The eight legal drugs and their respective blood-threshold limits are as follows:

  • Clonazepam - 50µg/L
  • Diazepam - 550µg/L
  • Flunitrazepam - 300µg/L
  • Lorazepam - 100µg/L
  • Methadone - 500µg/L
  • Morphine - 80µg/L
  • Oxazepam - 300µg/L
  • Temazepam - 1,000µg/L

Room for discretion

Although 2015's introduction of blood-threshold limits has created some clarity for drivers and prosecutors, it has not entirely replaced the old system. This is because a person can still be charged if they are found to be under the limit but considered unfit to drive safely.

Drug driving penalties

Drug driving penalties depend on the severity of the offence and on whether or not it is a first offence. If you have caused an accident and this has caused property damage, personal injury or death, it is likely you will face more serious penalty.

Depending on circumstances, one or more of the following punishments may apply in the event you are convicted:

  • A six month prison sentence
  • A £5,000 fine
  • A criminal record
  • A community order
  • Minimum 12 month driving disqualification
  • Extended retest

Drug driving motoring defence lawyers

The best way to avoid a prison sentence for a drug driving offence is to seek the advice of a motoring defence lawyer at the earliest opportunity.

Oratto can help you connect with the lawyer whose location, specialism and experience are best suited to you and your case. For more help or information, simply browse through our member profiles, chat online with an advisor, arrange to speak to a lawyer free for 30 minutes, or try our Match Service so that we can pair you with the solicitor who we feel best meets your needs.