Recently, we have noticed an increase in charges for “drug driving”. This offence is made out if a blood test shows the presence of a qualifying drug. Qualifying drugs are not just illegal drugs, such as cannabis, but also prescription medication such as diazepam.
Something to be aware of is that, unlike drink driving, there is no “amount” of drugs that you need to have in your system for it to amount to a criminal offence. There just needs to be evidence of use in your blood.
Before your blood can be tested, the attending Police officer needs to have good cause to suspect you have been using a drug. This could arise due to your demeanour, or surrounding circumstances (such as the smell of cannabis coming from your car).
If the Police officer does suspect use, he or she will undertake a “Compulsory Impairment Test”. This includes checking whether you can walk in a straight line, balance on one leg, and the reaction of your eyes. It is only if this test is not completed satisfactorily that a blood test can be required.
It is also an offence to refuse to undertake the test, or to provide a blood sample when required.
The bottom line is, don’t “drug” and drive, as the presence of any amount in your system is a criminal offence – not to mention the danger posed to other road users.
If you have any questions or concerns then please do not hesitate to contact our criminal defence team, they regularly deal with drug and driving related charges and are always available to assist.