Driving on Drugs: The effects
It’s not quite as common to be aware of the effects of driving under the influence of drugs as it is to know about being under the influence of alcohol. A person may be convicted when they attempt to drive or be in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place if the illegal substance is found on the defendant’s body.
If caught by the police they can carry out a ‘field impairment assessment’ which includes a series of tests to do at the roadside, these include pupil measurement tests, ‘Romberg’ test which checks balance and judgement of time, walk and turn test, one leg stand test and finger to nose test. As of 2nd March 2015 the police now carry a roadside drugs kit which is a saliva test that shows whether there are traces of cannabis and cocaine on a person. Ultimately if a person fails any of theses tests the police can arrest them. When arrested they’re taken to the police station where a blood and urine sample is taken to confirm there are drugs present in their body. Failure to provide specimen for analysis without a reasonable excuse to do so is also an offence.
As of March 2015 new regulations came into force where a zero tolerance approach to 8 illegal drugs was introduced but limits were set if there were any claims of accidental exposure can be ruled out. There are 8 prescription drugs which you are not able to drive on and a doctor must be consulted before you’re able to drive as it may be a road safety risk; these include diazepam, clonazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, methadone, morphine, oxazepam and temazepam.
Penalties for being found guilty of this offence are a minimum of 1 year driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to 6 months in prison and a criminal record. Causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs is a prison sentence of up to 14 years.
If you’ve been convicted of a driving offence and need expert legal advice, contact Chadwick Lawrence’s Criminal Law team on 01924 379 078 for a no obligation telephone call today.
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