Drug Driving – The Law

Drug Driving

Drug Driving – The Law

It is an offence to drive or attempt to drive a vehicle on a road or other public place when there is a specified controlled drug in your body.

Specified Drug and the limits


Illicit Drugs

  • 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) – 6 – Monoacetylmorphine (Heroin)


Prescription Drugs

  • Amphetamine – 250µg/L
  • 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


(‘µg/L’ means ‘micrograms per litre of blood)



It is a Defence if you can show that the drug was in your possession lawfully and had been prescribed or supplied to you for medical or dental purposes and you took the drug in accordance with any directions and instructions given. This Defence is not available if you drove sooner than you were advised to do so.

Sentence and Disqualification

The Court must endorse your driving licence and disqualify for a minimum term of 12 months. This minimum term is automatically increased if you have like previous convictions and disqualifications.

The Court should consider a sentencing starting point of a financial penalty, and a disqualification from driving in the region of 12–22 months unless any of the 4 factors which increase seriousness apply.


The 4 factors which can increase the serious are:

  • Evidence of another specified drug1 or of alcohol in the body
  • Evidence of an unacceptable standard of driving
  • Driving (or in charge of) an LGV, HGV or PSV
  • Driving (or in charge of) a vehicle driven for hire or reward


If any of the factors that increase seriousness are present, then the Court should consider increasing the sentence. The Court will also take into consideration any mitigating or aggravating factors. You are more likely to receive a community order and a disqualification in the region of 23–28 months where there is evidence of one or more factors that increase seriousness. You are more likely to receive a custodial sentence (of up to 6 months) and a disqualification in the region of 29–36 months where there is evidence of one or more factors that increase seriousness and one or more aggravating factors.


How can we help?

If you have been charged with the above offence or if you have any questions about this in general then please contact us on 01268 820111. Our highly experienced team are available to provide you with the best legal advice.

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