What to expect during a roadside drug test

As described in our article on “are random drink or drug tests legal”, you can be asked to undergo a roadside drug test if either:

  • The officer reasonably suspects you’ve consumed drugs;
  • The officer reasonably suspects you’ve committed a motoring offence;
  • You’ve been involved in an accident;

If you’ve never done drugs, or haven’t for several months, then being asked to undergo a roadside drug test should cause you no concern. However, recent use of drugs, sometimes as long as two or three days ago could result in a positive test, ultimately ending in a disqualification from driving unless a defence can be identified.

What happens during a roadside drug test?

You’d usually be asked to circle the inside of your mouth with your tongue three times. Once you’ve worked up enough saliva, the officer will use the sample collector to wipe saliva from your tongue.  The sample pads usually change colour indicating that the sample has been successfully collected.

The police officer would then place the sample collector back into the test cassette and click it back into place. The officer then holds the device vertically with the blue section at the top and presses until the sealed section of the capsule breaks. The police officer should continue to hold the device vertically for another ten seconds.

After obtaining the sample, the officer should leave the test undisturbed on a horizontal surface and read the test result after 8 minutes.

If a red line appears, even if it is very faint, then the test is positive, and you’ll be taken to the police station for an evidential blood test to establish the quantity of drugs that are in your system.

What the police should NOT do during a roadside drug test procedure

  • Don’t use the test if the expiration date has been exceeded;
  • Don’t use the test if the packaging is damaged;
  • Don’t use the test if the package contains any moisture;
  • Don’t use the test if the control line already appears red on opening the packet;
  • Don’t store the test at extremes of temperature such as extreme heat or frost;
  • Don’t open the test until shortly before intending to swab the driver.

If you’ve been subjected to a roadside drug test and you think the police have failed to follow the above guidelines, please contact a member of our legal team as soon as possible on 0330 33 22 770. There are numerous defences to drug driving, whether the police have breached procedure at the roadside, police station or hospital. It may not always be obvious that the police have made a mistake, so it’s vital to gain expert opinion on whether you have a case to fight. It could make the difference between walking away from Court with your licence intact or facing a minimum twelve-month ban from driving and a criminal record.

Found this information useful? Share it with a friend!

Article written by Alison Ashworth, Specialist drink and drug driving solicitor and Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law. Alison has a first-class honours degree in law and has appeared on various TV and Radio programs to discuss drink and drug driving. Widely considered the “go-to” expert in the field of motoring law, Alison has outstanding rates of securing not guilty verdicts in cases involving drink and drug driving. If you would like Alison to personally look into your case, please call our advice line on 0330 33 22 770 and ask to be transferred directly to her.

What to expect during a roadside breath test?

As described in our article on “are random drink or drug tests legal”, you can be asked to undergo a roadside breath test if either:

  • The officer reasonably suspects you’ve consumed alcohol;
  • The officer reasonably suspects you’ve committed a motoring offence;
  • You’ve been involved in an accident.

There are currently fifteen, home office approved roadside breath testing kits in use on Britain’s roads. The below are the instructions that are typical to most devices in use today.

What should happen during a roadside breath test?

You should be asked when your last drink was. The police officer should wait at least 20 minutes before conducting the roadside breath test after your last drink. Officers typically wait 2-5 minutes after your last cigarette.

The officer should attach a fresh mouthpiece to the breathalyser and should explain the test to you. The officer should instruct you to fill your lungs and blow in one continuous breath through the mouthpiece.

In some cases, you’d have to blow strongly enough to bring on light A, and long enough to bring on light B. If you fail to bring on light B then you’d be deemed to have provided an unsatisfactory sample. In other cases, you’d need to cause the machine to create a continuous beep whilst blowing and would have to stop once you hear a double beep. It all depends which type of device you blow into.

In under a minute, the officer will take the reading from the machine.

A green light, or the words “Zero” or “Pass” means you’ve hardly got any alcohol in your system and you’ve passed the test. You can go on your way.

An amber light, or the word “Warn” means you’ve got more alcohol in your system, but you’ve passed the test. You’ve been lucky and should go on your way.

A red light, or the word “Fail” is bad news. You’re over the limit and will be taken to the police station for evidential testing.

The do’s and don’ts of roadside breath tests that the police should adhere to:

Your knowledge of these procedures could help you establish whether the police have breached procedure, and whether or not the roadside breath test result can be challenged by your legal team.

Do:

  • Ensure that it has been at least twenty minutes since the driver’s last drink before performing a roadside breath test;
  • Allow at least two minutes since the driver’s last cigarette before performing a roadside breath test;
  • Use a new mouthpiece for every test;
  • Ensure that a “ready check” is obtained before performing the breath test;

Don’t:

  • Allow the driver to hold the breathalyser device themselves;
  • Allow tobacco smoke to be blown into the mouthpiece;
  • Store the breathalyser device in an environment that is too hot or too cold;
  • Don’t subject the machine to severe mechanical shock (e.g. throwing it on the ground).

If you’ve been subjected to a breath test and you think the police have failed to follow the above guidelines, please contact a member of our legal team as soon as possible on 0330 33 22 770. There are numerous defences to drink driving, whether the police have breached procedure at the roadside, police station or hospital. It may not always be obvious that the police have made a mistake, so it’s vital to gain expert opinion on whether you have a case to fight. It could make the difference between walking away from Court with your licence intact or facing a minimum twelve-month ban from driving and a criminal record.

Found this information useful? Share it with a friend!

Article written by Alison Ashworth, Specialist drink and drug driving solicitor and Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law. Alison has a first-class honours degree in law and has appeared on various TV and Radio programs to discuss drink and drug driving. Widely considered the “go-to” expert in the field of motoring law, Alison has outstanding rates of securing not guilty verdicts in cases involving drink and drug driving. If you would like Alison to personally look into your case, please call our advice line on 0330 33 22 770 and ask to be transferred directly to her.

Legal advice line

Are random breath tests or drug tests legal?

Photograph of random police stop

It’s official, the Christmas crackdown on drink and drug drivers has begun. This time of year sees hundreds of unsuspecting motorists caught with too much alcohol or drugs in their system after a random stop by police. But are random breath tests and random drug tests legal?

We could all be stopped in the run up to Christmas, and what happens next could determine whether or not you spend the next few hours in a cell, and ultimately, whether you lose your driving licence. What are your rights? What are you compelled to do? How can you avoid being arrested? This article seeks to help address all of these questions.

Can the police stop you at random?

Yes. The law gives the police a general power to stop a vehicle under Section 163 Road Traffic Act 1988. The police can, at random, stop any vehicle without any particular reason.

Can the police make you take a roadside breath test or a drug test at random?

No. Whilst you can be stopped at random by a police officer, they cannot require you take a roadside drink or drugs test without first having reasonable cause to suspect the you, the driver, of having consumed alcohol or committing a traffic offence when the vehicle was moving. If for example the officer asks you “when was the last time you drank alcohol/ took drugs” and you answer “Dinner time today” this may give rise to a suspicion that you are under the influence, in which case a roadside specimen can be requested from you. Failing or refusing the test would then lead to you being arrested and taken to the police station for evidential testing.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. An exception exists where there has been an accident. A police officer can ask you to take a roadside drink or drug test where they reasonably believe that you were driving or in charge of a vehicle that has been involved in an accident, whether or not another vehicle was involved.

Can you refuse to take a roadside breath test or drug swab?

Not without a reasonable excuse. Failing to take a roadside test without reasonable excuse is an offence which will result in you being brought to the police station for evidential testing in much the same way that a positive test would have done.

Summary

The police can randomly stop your vehicle; however they need reasonable cause to require you to participate in a roadside breath test or drug swab. If you don’t give the officer any reason to believe you may be under the influence, they cannot require you to participate in the test. Keep in mind that over the Christmas period, forces up and down the country are conducting random stops on motorists, and many drivers are ultimately charged with drink driving or drug driving as a result of these random stops.

Our best advice is common sense; make alternative arrangements to return home after a night’s indulgences and do not drive until you are certain you are fit to do so. Bear in mind that this could be well into the afternoon the following day for alcohol, or even several days later in the case of drugs, such as cocaine.

What if I’ve already been pulled for drink driving or drug driving?

If you’ve already been arrested for drink or drug driving and need advice on what happens next, feel free to contact our free legal advice line on 0330 33 22 770. One of our specialist drink or drug drive lawyers will listen to the details of your case, advise on your options and let you know the best course of action. Whether you need to minimise the effects of a ban or fight the conviction altogether, rest assured we can help.

Found this information useful? Share it with a friend!

Article written by Alison Ashworth, Specialist drink and drug driving solicitor and Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law. Alison has a first-class honours degree in law and has appeared on various TV and Radio programs to discuss drink and drug driving. Widely considered the “go-to” expert in the field of motoring law, Alison has outstanding rates of securing not guilty verdicts in cases involving drink and drug driving. If you would like Alison to personally look into your case, please call our advice line on 0330 33 22 770 and ask to be transferred directly to her.

Legal advice line

Top 5 ways the Autumn Statement will Affect Motorists:

Lord Chancellor Philip Hammond has given his Autumn Statement to parliament. This is how it will affect drivers:

1. The fuel duty rise had been cancelled for the seventh year in a row meaning that the average car driver could be saving £130 a year and the average van driver saving £350 a year.

2. Insurance Premium is being raised from 10% to 12% from next June however according to Chancellor Hammond new legislation being brought out in 2017 to end compensation culture will save an average of £40 a year in insurance Premium.

3. £1.1 billion is going to be spent on English local transport networks, with £200 million set to be spent on traffic pinch spots on strategic roads and £300 million on the development of low emission and autonomous vehicles. This includes more electric vehicle charging points.

4. Cuts to salary sacrifice schemes have been made resulting in employees who are switching salary for benefits now having to pay the same tax as the majority of other individuals who have bought cars after post tax income.

5. However these cuts to salary sacrifice schemes won’t affect those with ultra-low emission vehicles with CO2 emissions below 75g/km.

Article Written by Leah Nelson

How to cut the cost of your vehicle insurance

Last month, our Managing Director, Alison Ashworth went into the BBC Lancashire Studio to discuss the price of vehicle insurance live on air with presenter, Graham Liver.

This comes as it was announced that the North West has the highest cost of car insurance in mainland Britain according to the AA’s National Index.

A number of factors could be to blame for the increased cost.

As outlined on air, one of the reasons is the high proportion of so called cash for crash schemes operating in the North West area, with Bolton and Oldham identified as the worst hit areas of the UK.

What is cash for crash?

Cash for crash is the term given to an accident which is deliberately caused for the purpose of financial gain. These schemes include instances where the fraudster would drive a vehicle and slam on the breaks, giving the innocent motorist behind little to no chance of avoiding the inevitable crash. The fraudster would then go on to claim for personal injury, vehicle damage, loss of earnings, a hire car etc. The list goes on.

It is thought that one in seven personal injury claims are associated with a cash for crash scheme.

Statistically, these schemes cost the insurance industry over £400 million per year, with an additional £50 being added on to the cost of every motor insurance policy every year.

How can we bring down the cost of our vehicle insurance?

bring-insurance-cost-down-ashworth-motoring-law

Install a device to monitor your driving

Many insurers now recognise the benefits of installing a blackbox type device or camera to monitor your driving and provide evidence in liability disputes.

Companies such as K-safe and Joovuu offer such devices and have revolutionised the way that fault is attributed in accidents.

Bikers – K-safe

“K-Safe have developed MiBB, a wearable sensor that provides automatic monitoring and analysis of incidents. MiBB covers a wide range of industries and activities including but not limited to motorcyclists, cyclists, snowboarders and skiers. Our sensor is able to integrate with existing claims management solutions, provide quicker medical assistance (reducing complexity/severity of injuries and therefore cost per claim) and provide end-users with lower insurance premiums through selected insurance partners.” Aaron Lloyd; Chief Operating Officer of K-safe.

Cars – JooVuu X

“The JooVuu X is a camera that captures the truth every time you drive.  With its discreet design but powerful hardware, the JooVuu X can be mounted anywhere within your car and capture everything in crystal clear quality, day or night.  The JooVuu X is the perfect dash camera to help you fight against fraudulent car insurance claims and bad drivers.  It is the best eye-witness money can buy.” Daniel Jaenicke; Chief Executive of JooVuu X.

Shop around

Never accept the renewal offer from your insurer without first obtaining quotes from competitors to see whether you could be getting a better deal.

Pay upfront

Paying your insurance annually can net you on average savings over £60. It also reduces the risks of you being charged with an offence such as driving without insurance by lessening the chance of you missing a monthly payment.

Increase your excess

Increasing the amount that you’d be willing to pay out when making a claim can significantly decrease the overall cost of your vehicle insurance quote. Work out what you can afford and adjust your policy accordingly.

Decrease your added extras

Most insurance policies include a range of optional extras such as windscreen, breakdown and legal cover. Restricting the number of added extras on your policy can really help to bring the cost of the policy down.

Build up a lengthy period of no claims bonus

In short, the longer the period of no claims bonus, the cheaper the policy will be. No reasonable driver ever really wants to be involved in an accident. Staying alert at all times and driving cautiously will reduce your risk of having an accident and will reduce the cost of your annual premium.

Keep a clean licence

It’s no secret that penalty points mean an increase in insurance premiums. Take the time to read about some of the more common motoring offences on this site and stick to the law. If you’ve been caught out and are offered the opportunity to avoid the points by attending a course then take it. You will thank yourself when it comes time for your renewal.

Take care over your job description

There are strange but significant discrepancies when it comes to the quotes associated with certain professions.

For example, describing yourself as a Chef could cost you £98 more than being “kitchen staff”, and classing yourself as “full time parent” or “retired” rather than “unemployed” could save you almost £300.

If your job could fit into more than one of the descriptions offered by the insurance provider, run checks for each applicable job type.

Article written by Specialist Motoring Lawyer, Alison Ashworth; Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law.

Why we do what we do

At Ashworth motoring law we are dedicated to keeping drivers on the road. We believe that no driver’s licence should be placed in jeopardy due to a lack of legal or technical knowledge. That’s why we’re always striving to deliver relevant, current content to keep you up to date with issues that could affect your freedom to drive.

We know the devastating impact that a disqualification from driving could have on a person’s life, career and family. It’s from that understanding that we fight to save the driving licences of motorists throughout the Country, to ensure that no person is disqualified where a valid defence or judicial discretion is available.

If you have been accused of committing a motoring offence and would like to discuss your case in confidence with a specialist motoring law solicitor call 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk. Our expert solicitors will listen to the details of your case and let you know instantly if your licence could be saved.

 

Ashworth Motoring Law celebrates phenomenal month

It’s been a busy month here at Ashworth Motoring Law and October has been one our best yet!

Ashworth Motoring Law on BBC TV

The Month began with our Managing Director, Alison Ashworth featuring on BBC’S Inside Out Programme discussing the new Drug Driving Offence and raising awareness of the very low limits that are applicable to drugs of abuse. The programme aired on Monday 03 October 2016 following over two hours of filming in September at the Law Society in London.

Month Long campaign for Tyre Safety

October was National Tyre Safety Month. As a Law Firm who keeps road safety firmly in mind, we ran a month-long campaign to increase awareness of basic tyre checks, promote free tyre health checks and educate drivers of the potential sentence for driving on defective tyres.

Managing Director Shortlisted as a Finalist for Prestigious Award

Our very own Alison Ashworth has been shortlisted as one of four finalists in the prestigious Rossendale Business Awards for the “Enterprising Woman Award”. The awards ceremony will be held at Riverside, Whitworth, Rossendale, Lancashire on Wednesday 09 November 2016.

Back to school

Directors Colette Ashworth and Alison Ashworth went back to their roots to give a talk to the Students of their old Law School. With a focus on gaining the best out of their education, expanding their professional network and overcoming adversity, Colette and Alison sought to encourage and inspire the next generation of Lawyers.

Interns take centre stage

This month saw nine new interns given the once in a lifetime opportunity to gain experience at our leading law firm. With interns from Manchester Metropolitan University and The University Centre at Blackburn College taking up positions in computing, accounting, law, marketing and legal management, the next few months are set to be an exciting time at our growing firm.

Ashworth Motoring Law on BBC Radio

Towards the end of the month, our Alison Ashworth was invited into the BBC Radio Lancashire studio to discuss the increasing cost of car insurance live on air, speaking to breakfast show presenter Graham Liver on 27 October 2016. Since the show, Ashworth Motoring Law have begun working with North West based K-safe and Joovuu to bring down the cost of vehicle insurance around the North West and beyond.

….And of course, we still haven’t lost a case!

Ashworth Motoring Law is a Highly Specialised National Law Firm which focuses solely on representing drivers who are facing the possible loss of their driving licence. To discuss any motoring offence in confidence and find out whether your licence can be saved, call our mobile friendly helpline on 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk for free initial advice.

Listen again to Ashworth Motoring Law live on BBC Radio Lancashire

This week, Specialist Driving Offence Solicitor and Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law, Alison Ashworth featured live on BBC Radio Lancashire discussing  the cost of vehicle insurance.

Did you know that the North West has the highest cost of car insurance in mainland Britain?

The feature included a discussion on the high rates of cash for crash schemes currently operating in the North West which cause our premiums to rise year on year, and considers what we can do to reduce the cost of our annual premium.

To listen again to the show click the following link:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p049y269

The feature on the costs of car insurance begins at 02.11.35 in the clip.

bbc-radio-lancashire

Ashworth Motoring Law is a Highly Specialised National Law Firm which focuses solely on representing drivers who are facing the possible loss of their driving licence. To discuss any motoring offence in confidence and find out whether your licence can be saved, call our mobile friendly helpline on 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk for free initial advice.

Halloween specific driving offences – Trick or Treat!

It’s that time of year again, the time when haunters and howlers come out to play, killer clowns are on the loose and big kids dress up and going to parties.

Here are at Ashworth Motoring Law we have a few tips to keep you on the right side of the law this Halloween.

But what to wear?

For some, a pair of horns or a cat’s tail will do. Others however like to go the whole hog and think of more and more inventive costumes every year (and why shouldn’t you! It’s Halloween!).  A word of caution though – if you plan on getting into your carefully planned outfit before driving to the party, you must ensure that your outfit allows you a clear view of the road before you start your journey.  If not, it may be a pretty awesome costume but could land you with an unexpected award for the efforts you made.

Being caught with a white sheet over your head with two cut out holes for your eyes, or wearing any kind of mask which restricts your view of the road and traffic ahead could land you not only with some funny looks from your mates, but if caught by the ‘devils in blue’ could land you with three points on your driving licence and a fine of up to £1000 for failing to have a proper view of the road.

Under  S41 D Road Traffic Act 1988 A person who contravenes or fails to comply with a construction and use requirement—

(a)as to not driving a motor vehicle in a position which does not give proper control or a full view of the road and traffic ahead, or not causing or permitting the driving of a motor vehicle by another person in such a position is guilty of an offence….

So to put it simply if you can’t see the road you could end up seeing 3 points and a fine.

boo-not-in-propper-control-of-vehicle

Beware the witches brew and wizard’s magic dust…

At a Halloween party, you may be tempted to try some witches brew and wizards dust. (or punch, to the less magically minded of us).

Not surprisingly, the magical potions which you may be possessed into “sampling” could be more evil than you think, it could contain a horrifying amount of alcohol. Just one glass could contain several units of alcohol.

The truth is that in most cases, you simply don’t know what you’re drinking. As a general rule of thumb, if you haven’t made it, or bought it in licensed premises then it’s always best to stay well clear, or order a ride on a magic broomstick (taxi) back home after the magical evening. Otherwise, even Harry’s invisibility cloak won’t let you hide from the ‘blue devils’, and once they get hold of you there’s no magic spell that can reverse your bad decisions. This could therefore lead to a consequence even more frightful than the hangover which will surely follow: a conviction for drink driving.

The UK drink drive limit is 35mg in breath, 80mg in blood or 107mg in urine. Unfortunately, there is no ‘magic number’ for how much alcohol you can drink before you reach these limits. There are too many unknown quantities: your height, your weight, the rate at which the alcohol is absorbed into your system, and certainly in the case of the witch’s brew, the strength of the alcohol that you’re consuming.

Even more hellish is the mandatory minimum twelve month disqualification which would be imposed if convicted of drink driving. With this in mind, is the party punch really worth the risk of the loss of your licence.

As for the wizard’s magic dust… the levels are even stricter. A limit of just 10mg of cocaine per litre of blood could see you convicted for drug driving, leading to an automatic disqualification for a minimum of 12 months, a fine of up to £5000 and a prison sentence of up to 6 months. Cannabis is even more of a devil’s advocate with the limit set at just 2mg of THC per litre of blood, with the same punishment applicable.

wizards-dust

Ghosts, and what to do if you see one…

If on your way to the haunted venue you spot a poltergeist or one of the killer clowns this Halloween (whether in your car or on the road), keep calm and keep your eyes on the road! Panicking and driving like the ‘ghost busters’ rushing to trap the ghost and performing aggressive manoeuvres could end in a conviction for careless driving (for which you would receive 3-9 horrifying points) or worse, a conviction for dangerous driving (for which you would receive at least a 12 month driving ban, be made to sit a devilish extended re-test and could even be sent to prison for up to two of the most haunting years of your life!

ghostbuster

Guest article by Robert Andrews

Happy Halloween from Ashworth Motoring Law!

For more information about the offences mentioned in this blog, or for help defending your right to drive if it is threatened by a motoring prosecution, you can call our mobile friendly helpline on 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk for FREE initial advice. We are always happy to hear from you.

 

Ashworth Motoring Law live on BBC Radio Lancashire

Expert Motoring Lawyer and Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law, Alison Ashworth is heading to BBC Radio Lancashire’s studio on 27 October 2016 to discuss the cost of car insurance live on air with presenter, Graham Liver.

Tune in to BBC Radio Lancashire just after 8.00am to hear the discussion.

BBC radio Lancashire Ashworth Motoring Law.jpg

Ashworth Motoring Law is a National Law Firm which specialises in representing drivers who are facing the possible loss of their driving licence. To discuss any motoring offence in confidence and find out whether your licence can be saved, call our mobile friendly helpline on 0330 33 22 770 or email enquiries@ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk for free initial advice.