What is the punishment for drug driving?

Punishment for drug driving

Drug driving is a serious offence which attracts severe punishment by the Courts. The consequences of a conviction are wide ranging and can last long after your case has been dealt with by the Court. Therefore its vital to engage the highest possible quality of legal representation to fight your corner and argue your case in Court.

If you are convicted of drug driving, you would face a minimum of a 1-year disqualification from driving alongside an unlimited fine, community order (such as community service) or even a custodial sentence (of up to 6 months).

Drug driving is a criminal offence; therefore, you would receive a criminal record and would have to declare the conviction to potential employers. For more information on your declaring the conviction to your employer, please visit here.

The offence will also appear on your driver record for 11 years; therefore, your employer will find out about the offence if you drive for a living.

What are the hidden punishments for drug driving?

Alongside the legal penalties for drug driving, if convicted, you would also be faced with a number of additional consequences that may last long after the disqualification has ended such as:

  1. An inability to pursue certain careers such as within the legal or medical profession which usually require you to have a clean criminal record
  2. Significant increases in your future insurance premiums
  3. Difficulties securing jobs within the transport industry
  4. Difficulties travelling to certain Countries which have stringent visa criteria like the USA
  5. Your good name would be tarnished and your conviction could be reported by the press

What sentence will you receive for drug driving?

The Magistrates refer to sentencing guidelines when deciding what punishment to impose for drug driving. The specific sentence you’ll receive is determined by which guideline governs the particular offence you’ve been charged with.

Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 – Driving whilst unfit through drugs:

If you’ve been charged under Section 4 Road Traffic Act 1988 for driving whilst unfit through drugs, then the relevant sentencing guideline can be found here. The starting point for the type of punishment you’re likely to receive is usually determined by how impaired you were perceived to have been and the circumstances around your driving (such as whether you were driving a HGV and whether you were driving for hire). As the question of whether or not you were significantly impaired is subjective, its very important to prepare arguments in mitigation to the highest possible standard in order to persuade the Magistrates to impose a more lenient sentence. Please see our guilty plea and mitigation service for further details on how we can help to achieve a much more favourable outcome at Court or contact us on 0330 33 22 770.

Section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 – Driving when the proportion of a controlled drug exceeded the specified limit:

If you’ve been charged under Section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1998 for driving when the proportion of a controlled drug exceeded the specified limit, then the relevant sentencing guidance can be found here. As this offence is still relatively new, there is insufficient data available for a full formal guideline to be completed in this area, therefore the Magistrates are not necessarily obligated to follow the suggested sentencing of the guide. Such suggested sentencing includes increasing the minimum term of disqualification from 12 months to 23 months if there was alcohol or another specified drug in your body and considering a custodial sentence if in addition to this, there was evidence of an unacceptable standard of driving in your case. As the sentencing options available are so wide ranging, its vital to obtain specialist representation to present your case in Court and ensure that you receive the minimum length of disqualification and avoid a more severe punishment such as community service or even custody. Please see our guilty plea and mitigation service for further details on how we could achieve a phenomenal outcome at Court or contact us on 0330 33 22 770.

Do you have to plead guilty to drug driving?

No. Just because you have been charged with drug driving does not mean that you have to plead guilty to drug driving. In fact, many of our clients plead not guilty to drug driving and we have 100% success rates in successfully defending clients who have been accused of this offence.  There are many valid defences to drug driving, and it is often very worthwhile to obtain the evidence in advance of the first hearing to determine whether defences exist in your case, how strong those defences are, and what your chances of succeeding at trial might be. We offer this exact service for drivers who have been accused of drug driving. If you have been accused of drug driving and would like to know if your case can be defended, feel free to call us on 0330 33 22 770 for free initial advice or email us at admin@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk . This service has been instrumental in the acquittals of many of our previous clients after our specialist drug driving solicitors identified issues with the police procedure and failings in the reliability of the blood sample as evidence itself.

Who we are:

Ashworth Motoring Law is a multi-award winning, highly specialised criminal law firm which focusses solely on representing motorists who are accused of committing driving offences such as drug driving. Our specialist solicitors are experts in all aspects of motoring law, and our Managing Director, Alison Ashworth has particular expertise in defending driving whilst unfit through drug and driving whilst over the specified drug limit offences. Alison was instrumental in campaigning against, and raising awareness of the new Section 5A drug driving offence before its introduction in 2015, appearing on the BBC and ITV News, and has successfully represented drivers from all walks of life in relation to this charge. If you’d like Alison to personally look into the details of your case, please ask to be put through directly to her when calling our office on 0330 33 22 770.

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