The Crime and Courts Act 2013 inserted a new section 5A into the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA), which makes it an offence to drive, attempt to drive, or be in charge of a motor vehicle with a concentration of a specified controlled drug in the body above the specified limit. The offence came into force on 2 March 2015.
Driving under the influence of drugs can be a criminal offence if the levels exceed the specified amount or where there is evidence of impairment from the standard of driving.
Driving while under the influence of drugs can lead to slower reaction times, a lack of concentration, nausea, dizziness, tiredness and paranoia. Some people also become more aggressive and therefore can be a hazard to other road users due to changed behaviour.
• 18% of drivers involved in road deaths have illicit drugs in their bodies.
• 22% of passengers involved in road deaths have illicit drugs in their bodies.
• It is not only illicit drugs which impair a person’s ability to drive. Many over-the-counter medicines and prescribed drugs cause impairment. People should always heed the warnings contained on the containers of such drugs.
If you are charged with an offence of drug driving your case will be dealt with in the Magistrates Court. You can be ordered to pay an unlimited fine or sentenced to a custodial sentence. You will also be disqualified for the minimum period of 12 months. If you have more than one conviction previously then the term of disqualification can be increased.
If you wish to discuss this or any other Criminal Law matter then please contact a member of our Criminal Law team.