Drugs: Driving Under the Influence of Cannabis, Weed or Cocaine

Driving under the influence of drugs, such as cannabis (weed) or cocaine, is a serious offence and can result in a lengthy disqualification from driving.

Previously, it was for a police officer to decide whether there was evidence of impaired driving, which would reasonably have enabled them to conclude that the driver was driving under the influence of drugs.

Drug Driving Penalties, Consequences & the Law

Sometimes an officer might stop a vehicle and think that the driver was driving under the influence of cannabis (weed) because of a distinctive odour. However, there may be occasions when an officer concludes that the driver was driving under the influence of cocaine due to dilated pupils. These matters can be very subjective but may give the officer reasonable grounds to arrest the driver.

Drug driving law changed on 2nd March 2015 with a new offence of driving with controlled drugs above specified limits, now in force. This will make it easier for the police to detect and prosecute drug drivers. These new rules will mean it will be an offence to be over the specified limits for each drug whilst driving, as it is with drink driving.

The new offence will work alongside the existing offence of driving while impaired through drink or drugs. Drugs covered by the new rules include:

  • Cannabis (weed)
  • Cocaine
  • Ecstasy
  • Ketamine

The limits for illegal drugs will be extremely low – smoking one cannabis cigarette will put you over the drug drive limit.

What many people don’t realise is that the new drug drive law also covers certain prescribed or over-the-counter drugs too, so you could be facing a charge of driving under the influence. If you’re taking medicines, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or healthcare professional before driving, otherwise you run the risk of a charge of impaired driving.

Drug driving penalties will be similar to the existing law on drink drive cases. What the new offences throw up is the potential new drug driving defences. This will include absolute defences, but also Special Reasons.

Why is Legal Representation Important?

Our motoring offence lawyers will be able to advise you on the new drug driving law and procedure.

The developments in drug driving law will demand that driving offence solicitors have the ability to recognise defences to impaired driving.

To receive immediate assistance and help, contact us now.