Driving with Drugs Over the Prescribed Limit

driving with drugs over the prescribed limit
Jim Morrison Driving by Karl-Ludwig Poggeman

Have you been accused of driving with drugs over the prescribed limit? Call 0330 111 6074 for free initial advice and help from a specialist solicitor.

Key Facts

What is drug driving?

  • Drug driving applies when a person drives or attempts to drive a vehicle on a road or other public place with specified drugs in their body.
  • If the proportion of the drug in the driver’s urine or blood is above the prescribed limit they are guilty of an offence.
  • It is a defence if the driver has taken prescription drugs in accordance with medical advice.
  • There are prescribed limits for illegal and legal drugs.
  • Cases in England and Wales are heard in the magistrates’ court. There is a minimum driving disqualification of 12 months and a maximum sentence of 6 months’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine.
  • The correct name for the offence is “Driving a motor vehicle with concentration of specified controlled drug above specified limit”.

The law

The offence of driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle with concentration of specified controlled drug above specified limit is in section 5A Road Traffic Act 1988. Section 5A was inserted by section 56 Crime and Courts Act 2013.

Drug driving limits for illegal and legal drugs are in The Drug Driving (Specified Limits) (England and Wales) Regulations 2014 and for amphetamine The Drug Driving (Specified Limits) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

Fixed levels for some drugs have been in force since 2015. The limits for illegal drugs are equivalent to a “zero tolerance” approach. The amount of a legal drug allowed takes the normal levels in a prescription.

If the police have accused you of driving with drugs over the prescribed limit and you want to challenge the case against you, I can help. Are you worried about a court appearance for driving with excess alcohol? I can help with that too.

Limits for Illegal Drugs

Drug Limit
benzoylecgonine 50μg/L
cocaine 10μg/L
THC/cannabis 2μg/L
ketamine 20μg/L
LSD 1μg/L
methylamphetamine 10μg/L
MDMA/ecstasy 10μg/L
heroin 5μg/L

Limits for Legal Drugs

Drug Limit
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 1000μg/L

How I Defend Driving with Drugs Over the Prescribed Limit Cases

  • Advising whether to answer questions in a police interview
  • Do the prosecution have enough evidence to prove their case?
  • Is there evidence to show that the accused was driving or attempting to drive?
  • Are there any errors in procedure by the prosecution?
  • Have the police followed the correct procedure in taking the sample of blood, or urine?
  • Has the sample of blood or urine been tested properly either by the machine or by the analysts in the laboratory?
  • Should the case be dealt with by a guilty plea to being over the limit whilst in charge of a vehicle meaning that the mandatory 12 month driving disqualification can be avoided?
  • Are there any special reasons to avoid the minimum 12 month driving ban?
  • Is there any mitigation to keep the penalty that the magistrates impose down to a minimum?

Also Known As

  • Drug driving
  • Driving after taking drugs
  • Driving over the prescribed limit for drugs(driving OPL)

Not to Be Confused With

Penalties for Driving with Excess Alcohol

The magistrates’ court will impose:

  • Fine up to £5,000, a community order or imprisonment of up to 6 months
  • A mandatory driving disqualification of at least 12 months (36 months for the second offence in 10 years).

Where Will the Case Be Heard

Cases of driving with excess alcohol are heard in the Magistrates’ Court. Appeals are dealt with in the Crown Court.

Find Out More

Unsure If You Need Legal Representation for Driving with Drugs Over the Prescribed Limit?

Before you decide if you need a solicitor, call me or request a call back under no obligation.

Photo Jim Morrison Driving by Karl-Ludwig Poggeman / CC BY