Drug Driving Allegation
If you are charged with drug driving then it is important you seek advice at the earliest opportunity. Not only could this make a huge different to the end result in your case but, you will hopefully find that it puts some of your concerns to rest and makes you feel better about the position you have found yourself in.
It is important that you realise from the outset that whilst you may have provided a sample that was above the limit for a controlled drug, this does not always mean that you can (or should) be convicted of drug driving!
We provide free initial telephone advice and would be happy to help so please contact us to discuss.
You must be confident in your representation and if our statistics are not enough to convince you of our expertise, we invite you to review our web pages, client testimonials and case studies.
You may have been charged with this offence because you have provided a sample of blood or urine that, when analysed, tested positive for a controlled drug above the prescribed limit. This is called the “evidential sample” and is the evidence that will be used against you to try and prove that you were over the prescribed level of drugs.
Alternatively, you may currently be on bail waiting for the results of your sample’s analysis and not yet formally charged.
If you gave your sample whilst you were in hospital then please click here.
Most motorists who approach us assume that they have only one option – to plead guilty. It is understandable to assume that you must be guilty if you have provided a positive test however this is not always the case. As specialists in motor law, there are a number of unique strategies and techniques that enable us to successfully defend you and we urge you to contact us so we can explain your options in detail. Being charged with this offence can be an intimidating process and we want you to be able to make informed decisions on how best to proceed with your case.
Specialist Drug Driving Lawyers
Even amongst specialist firms our success rate is extremely impressive.
Many firms may claim to be specialists in this area and boast of their “success rate” but claims can often be misleading. When we refer to a success rate we mean only cases where our client has been found not guilty or the charges dropped.
Road Traffic Law is a very niche area of criminal law and there are literally only a handful of firms with genuine expertise in this area. As specialists, there are a number of strategies and techniques that have been developed and fine tuned over the years that set us apart from our competitors.
Can I challenge a Drug Driving offence?
If you instruct us to help you, there are a number of aspects in every case that we will scrutinise which include:
- There are a limited number of circumstances under which the police can require you to give a sample of blood or urine and it is important that certain criteria are met before the officer can legally require you to give a sample. If the officer breached the procedure in certain ways it could lead to your acquittal.
- Exactly how the sample was taken and what happened to it afterwards? We have successfully defended cases where the CPS have been unable to prove that the sample analysed was in fact that of our client!
- Is the blood sample reliable enough to be used against you? Once a blood sample is taken it must be treated and analysed in a very particular way to satisfy the standards required by road traffic law. We have defended numerous cases where the sample is found to be clotted, tampered with or contaminated which have led to a verdict of not guilty.
- Is the evidence itself strong enough? To secure a conviction in the UK the court must be satisfied that you are guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. To a non-specialist drink driving lawyer the evidence against you may seem substantial however when we review the strength of the case we almost invariably find flaws and have evidence disregarded. The result? The case against you simply isn’t strong enough to convince the court that you are guilty.
- Whether all evidence has been disclosed is another area that results in acquittals. It is vital that you receive a fair trial and there are many cases where this is simply not possible due to certain evidence not being disclosed to us. We have successfully argued that non-disclosure prevents a fair trial which results in an acquittal.
Motorists charged with offences tend to focus more on the nature of the allegation to judge what the chances of success are but it is actually more relevant to look at the evidence the Prosecution are trying to use against you whether it be breath, blood or a urine sample. Cases involving a sample of blood or urine often provide significantly more issues to explore when compared to a standard breath test case. This is a result of the additional laws and guidance in place to protect your interests and ensure the fairness of proceedings. A non-motor law specialist would (in most cases) not know the various potential defences that may be available and advise you to plead guilty. This is why we would strongly recommend contacting us even if you have spoken to non-specialists to ensure you get the most accurate advice.
Driving Whilst Unfit through Drugs
This allegation is brought against motorists under section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and is slightly different to that of drug driving in respect of what the Crown Prosecution Service have to prove.
To charge someone with drug driving, the police need to obtain a sample that has tested positive for a controlled drug above the prescribed limit. This is not the case with driving whilst unfit as this charge can still be brought even if a motorist’s sample comes back as below the prescribed limit.
What the officers must have instead is evidence of “impairment” or “impaired driving” and the Prosecution must be able to show that the impairment is caused by the substance in the motorists body.
We regularly defend allegations of driving whilst unfit successfully and urge you to contact us to discuss your case in more detail as you could face similar penalties to those outlined below.
Drug Driving: Potential Penalties and Consequences
Drug driving is one of the more serious motoring allegations. The courts have little discretion and must impose a minimum disqualification period of 12 months but in more serious cases where there is a high level of drugs in your system or you are a repeat offender, then disqualifications can be as long as 5 years and you may also be at risk of a prison sentence or community order. You can find out more about the factors that the court consider when imposing penalties here.
There is also an unlimited fine attached to drug driving together with prosecution costs.
A drug driving conviction will go onto your record as a criminal one but there are more far reaching consequences that are not immediately apparent such as:
- A negative impact upon your chosen career or employment
- Adverse effect upon your freedom to travel to certain countries
- Significantly increase the costs of your vehicle insurance for at least the next 4 years
- The social stigma attached to those who are ultimately convicted of drink driving
Have you been charged with Drug Driving?
Drug driving is one of the most daunting offences a motorist can be charged with as for many, the consequences can be catastrophic due to the driving ban they face. Our lawyers will not judge you and we understand the impact that a conviction can have upon a person’s life. This process can be a distressing time yet having representation can help you deal with the situation you are in.
If you have been given your own sample of blood or urine to take away with you then then you should have been informed (either by way of an information booklet given to you or an explanation from the police officers) that you can have it independently analysed. We would strongly recommend that you do this and you can find the most recent booklet of approved analysts on the Royal Society of Chemistry website here.
We would recommend writing down everything you remember about the day/night in question and include as much detail as you can. Smaller details that may first appear minor can often have a significant impact on a case and how it is prepared so ensure that you cover your movements on the day, what you had to drink and at what times and also as much as you can remember about what happened from the moment the police became involved and what they said to you.
How Much Does a Drug Driving Solicitor Cost?
The costs of representation will largely depend upon whether you decide to plead guilty or not guilty.
Your first court date will be when you must attend and confirm whether you are pleading “guilty” or “not guilty”.
If you plead guilty to the charge then in most cases only one hearing is required and we can agree a fixed fee. If you plead not guilty, then it may be several months before your trial date and the fees incurred will be influenced by:
- How complex the case is; and
- The number of hearings involved/duration of the proceedings
For more detail about the fee structure and payment options available please visit our dedicated costs page here.
You can read more about drug driving and its history here.
*Not guilty or the charges dropped when our client had provided a blood or urine sample. Accurate as of March 2017