Are random breath tests or drug tests legal?

Random stop for breath test or drug test

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. 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 you 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, drugs 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?

driver refusing to take a roadside  breath drive test

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.


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 over 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.

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.

Motoring Lawyer Alison Ashworth being interviewed on TV

Exceptional hardship – another 6-month ban avoided

In another example of our valuable guilty plea and mitigation service, our client from Gateshead faced a 6 month ban from driving after totting up too many points on her driving licence.

With a keen eye for detail, our caring lawyers listened to her personal circumstances, built a strong case and advocated on her behalf in Court about the disastrous consequences a 6 month ban would have on herself and those around her.

After the impassioned pleas from one of our specialist barristers, the Magistrates were persuaded to save her driving licence and imposed a sentence of NO BAN WHATSOEVER.

Our client was understandably very relieved and happy with the result.

When asked what she liked the best about our business, she said we were “very caring, supportive and fast”, stating that “this has been an excellent service from start to finish”.

If you are also facing the possible loss of your licence, we invite you to contact one of our specialist driving offence solicitors free of charge via our advice line on 0330 33 22 770. One of our qualified motoring law solicitors will listen to your situation, advise on your options and create a plan for saving your licence.

Speeding offence – long ban avoided

In a recent case, our client from South West London avoided a six months totting up ban, despite pleading guilty to a speeding offence which should have put him over the totting up threshold thanks to the specialist advice and case strategy deployed by Ashworth Motoring Law.

Our client explains:

“With six points already, my latest speeding offence meant I was looking at a six month ban and fine on a totting up basis. Ashworth’s argued successfully for a discretionary ban of 28 days and persuaded the Magistrates accordingly. Massive respect!

When asked what he liked most about our business, he said:

“The quality of advice, excellent communication, efficient admin. The advice about referees was brilliant and influenced the Magistrates considerably. “

A.J. Chester from South West London.

If, like Mr Chester you’re facing the potential loss of your driving licence after committing a motoring offence such as speeding, all is not lost. Our expert motoring lawyers could be influential in saving your driving licence. Contact us today on 0330 33 22 770 to find out if your licence is one of the many that can be saved.

How we could have saved Nick Knowles and David Beckham’s driving licence:

Today 12 June 2019, Nick Knowles appeared at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court to answer charges of Speeding and using a Mobile Phone whilst driving. After entering a guilty plea he was sentenced to a six months disqualification from driving.

Likewise, back in May 2019, David Beckham received a six months disqualification from driving after totting up twelve points following a Mobile Phone offence and two earlier Speeding offences.

Both celebs fell fowl of the totting up provisions which state that a person should be disqualified from driving for six months if they incur twelve penalty points on their driving licence within a three-year period.

Is a Driving Ban Inevitable Once Twelve Points Are Reached?

The short answer is NO”. We have represented countless motorists who have driven away from Court despite having twelve or more points endorsed onto their driving licence.

The law allows a discretion for cases where the usual six months totting up ban would cause difficulties for the motorist and those around them (exceptional hardship). Circumstances which have amounted to exceptional hardship for our clients in the past include driving “thousands of miles a year up and down the Country for work” as highlighted by Nick Knowles in relation to his case today, and those who drive their children to and from school as  was the case for David Beckham earlier this year.

The circumstances which could amount to exceptional hardship are countless and are as unique as the particular details of any given case.

At Ashworth Motoring Law, we’ve successfully saved the driving licences of many who have thought that all was lost, especially after being told by other law firms that there was nothing that could be done.

If you’re at risk of losing your licence as a result of totting up, feel free to browse the relevant sections of our website for legal advice on how to avoid a driving ban or call one of our specialist motoring law solicitors today on 0330 33 22 770.

Not Guilty – another drug driving acquittal

Being accused of drug driving is one of the most frightening and stressful things that can happen to any motorist. A conviction could mean a driving ban, criminal conviction, loss of a career, loss of independence, the list goes on. Thankfully, with our expert motoring law solicitors on hand, the nightmare of false charges being brought can be overcome by dedicated and focused legal work to secure the rightful result – a not guilty verdict.

Our recent client from Northamptonshire talks about his recent experience:


After facing the worst few months of my life the potential risk of losing my license was the last thing I needed on top of everything else. Ashworth’s took the worry of my case away and did not lead me on into thinking I would win when I wouldn’t they clearly stated all of the issues with the evidence the police required before my trial. It would have been easy to admit guilt to the allegations even though they wasn’t true, but with Ashworth’s they gave me the confidence to fight my case.

Colette and I communicated on a daily basis and she was always there to answer any questions I had. Alison was great too and went above and beyond the night before my trial, and Stuart the barrister was great too. Couldn’t recommend these guys enough.

Anonymous motorist who was found not guilty of drug driving from Northamptonshire

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

More Drivers Test Positive for Drugs than Alcohol over Christmas Period

The Christmas drink and drug drive campaign in North Wales heralds a 50% increase in drug drivers compared to 2017.

The campaign, which ran from December 1st 2018 until January 1st 2019, saw 368 drink drive and 179 drug drive arrests being made across the four police forces in Wales.

In North Wales more people tested positive for drugs than alcohol. Officers made 84 drug drive arrests, a 50% increase on the same period in 2017, and 83 drink drive arrests during the same period.

Graph_Drink_Drug_Drive Christmas 2018

Superintendent Jane Banham of the North Wales Police Roads Policing Unit said: “More than 500 drivers had a Christmas and New Year to remember for all the wrong reasons – after being arrested by police across Wales for drink and drug driving. 

If you are found guilty of drink or drug driving you face a minimum 12-month ban, a criminal record, a fine or up to 6 months in prison.

Drug Drive Limits_Gov.UK

If you have been charged with a motoring offence, we can save your driving licence and keep you on the road. Call our 24/7 motoring law helpline on 0330 33 22 770 for free initial legal advice, or visit our website at

Article written by Stuart Taylor – Director at Ashworth Motoring Law, specialist motoring lawyers.

Not Guilty! Another driver acquitted of drug driving!

We are thrilled to release our latest client testimonial from a driver who was acquitted of drug driving earlier this month.

Drug Driving – Not Guilty/Acquitted


“Back in May I was arrested for supposedly drug driving. I knew straight away that this needed defending and a search for solicitors began. I came across Alison and her success rate was second to none, it would have been stupid not to instruct her as my solicitor. That first phone call was so daunting but straight away she put me at ease and when I told her the circumstances around my arrest, she was 100% in my corner and suggested that a number of errors and mistakes would have been made to do with my arrest alone. Moving on a few months and a couple of court dates (unfortunately the incompetence of the CPS meant that the courts honoured a couple of adjournments) we finally got the result that we were waiting for. The representation that Alison provides in court is only the best. From the barrister to the support from AML employees, you really do feel looked after. It’s that personable touch that got me through this ordeal, knowing that you were believed in right the way through when at times it felt like it would be easier throwing the towel in. Alison and her team were always confident that the case was a strong one, even when I began doubting it myself. They really do lift you up and take you through the process side by side. I was acquitted of all charges and found not guilty and it’s all because Alison is such a great solicitor. Her knowledge in this field really is second to none, I would have no issues in recommending Alison to anyone who may need her help. Straight away you will feel like a weight has been lifted. That’s what she did for me, took that burden off me and told me it’ll be alright. And it is… I will forever be thankful to Alison and her team, they have no idea”

When asked what they liked most about our services, our client wrote:

“Both Alison & Colette are so personable, friendly and approachable it’s hard not to completely trust them. They work so hard and are so knowledgeable in their field, you really do get the great result that you hope for. No question is a silly one and no panicked email or phone call is an inconvenience. There is no judgement and you instantly feel reassured.”

Anonymous motorist who was acquitted of drug driving from Chester


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

Ashworth Motoring Lawyers are Tough Mudders!

Earlier this month, some of our brave lawyers took on the mammoth task of running the North West Tough Mudder course; a 10 mile army assault course filled with lots of mud!

From being dunked in ice cube filled muddy water at “arctic enema” to being electrocuted with 10,000 volts in “electric shock therapy”, our lawyers proved that with determination and grit, no obstacle is too tough to overcome.

We tackled the course to raise vital funds for Alder Hey Children’s Charity, of which our Managing Director, Alison Ashworth and her daughter, Lexie are ambassadors.

Alder Hey Children’s Charity works tirelessly to develop better, safer medicines and treatments for young patients and uses cutting edge technology to improve the experience of children in hospital.  Alder Hey also plays a key role in training the next generation of children’s healthcare professionals, with 500 student doctors and 400 student nurses trained each year.

To sponsor our lawyers and donate to Alder Hey Children’s Charity, please visit

Another client found NOT GUILTY of Drug Driving

We are delighted to share this latest testimonial of a client who was recently acquitted of drug driving:

thumbs up ashworth motoring law

Drug Driving; Not Guilty!

“Before I called Ashworth Motoring Law, I was going to plead guilty as I believed I was bang to rights, but after my first call to AML I believed I had a good chance of getting off, or maybe a 50/50 chance.  As time went on, and on hearing the lady who tested my blood was not a pro, the more it was delayed, the more faith I had. My friends did not believe and were very surprised with the outcome.”

Mr Aston Johnson

Aston Johnson

Mr Johnson was found not guilty of drug driving after his case was heard at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court.

If you’ve been accused of drug driving, or indeed any motoring offence and would like Ashworth Motoring Law to represent your case, please call 0330 33 22 770 or email to speak directly to one of our expert motoring law solicitors today.


Another glowing review of our services!

Here’s what another satisfied client had to say about our services:

Alison took the time to listen to our concerns and dealt with third parties on our behalf to ensure our case was fairly dealt with. She was considerate, efficient and a lady who gets the job done and gets the results. I cannot speak highly enough of Alison and her colleagues – there is nothing she or her team could have done better.


Alison dealt with our case with understanding and professionalism. She fought on our behalf to ensure third parties provided testimonials to ensure our son’s case was dealt with fairly. We had gone to another solicitor before hearing about Alison’s firm and I am confident that had we stayed with that firm our son would now be serving a prison sentence. Alison ensured the barrister we got on the day was excellent, both she and one of her colleagues took the time out of their busy schedule to ensure that we were represented in the manner she requested.  From the first conversation with Alison I felt a great sense of relief that she listened to my concerns and suggested a strategy that the previous solicitors didn’t. She was not happy to accept that there was nothing that could be done and she put herself out considerably to ensure our son was represented fairly.


If you ever find yourself at the wrong side of the law with a motoring offence you could not do better than Ashworth Motoring Law.

Thank you so much Alison.

Angela – Cheshire

thumbs up ashworth motoring law

If you’ve been accused of a driving offence and would like Ashworth Motoring Law to represent your case, please call 0330 33 22 770 or email to speak directly to one of our expert motoring law solicitors today.

We look forward to hearing from you.