Defence for Driving under Drug Influence

Updated on Tuesday 26th July 2016

Defence for Driving under Drug Influence Image
In England and Wales, it is a driving offence if a person drives a motor vehicle when:

•    He or she is not in an appropriate state to drive because he or she is on legal or illegal drugs;
•    He or she has certain levels of illegal drugs in the blood stream. 

Legal drugs which can impair one’s ability to drive

In England and Wales, it is considered an offence to drive after taking certain legal medicines if they weaken a person’s ability to do so. These drugs include:

•    amphetamine, like selegiline or dexamphetamine;
•    clonazepam;
•    morphine or opiate and opioid medicines;
•    oxazepam;
•    diazepam;
•    flunitrazepam;
•    lorazepam;
•    methadone;
•    temazepam.

Illegal drugs which can impair one’s abilty to drive

The stipulated legal limit for illegal drug consumption while driving are mentioned in the Drug Driving (Specified Limits) (England and Wales) Regs 2014. These drugs include:

•    cannabis;
•    cocaine;
•    MDMA (ecstasy);
•    LSD;
•    Ketamine;
•    Heroin.

The legal limit for these drugs is set very low. Our defence solicitors in London can provide further details on what these limits consist of.  

Defences which can be adopted for drug driving

There are two defences for driving under the influence of drugs

1.    The medical defence: it requires that the following criteria are met by the accused:

•    the controlled drug was prescribed or supplied to the person in charge for medical or dental reasons;
•    the accused ingested the drug according to the instructions provided by the person who prescribed it, as well as the instructions on the drug package;
•    the accused was in legal possession of the medicine.

The accused can adopt this defence for drug driving and then it is the persecution’s duty to prove beyond reasonable doubt that it is not true. This type of defence can be appealed to for any of the drugs listed above, provided that they were prescribed or over-the-counter drugs. 

2.    The second defence for driving under drug influence is only available for offences regarding whether the defendant was actually the one driving the car. This defence is very similar to the legislation connected to drinking and driving and refers to the improbability of the accused actually drive when he or she was over the stipulated limit.

Please get in touch with our criminal solicitors in London with the detailed information on your drug driving offences. We can help you raise the most appropriate defence in order to serve your best interests.