As of 21st October 2019, drivers that are high could face kissing their licence goodbye with the introduction of new drug driving laws!
Although the current drug driving offence of driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs shall remain, the new drug driving charge and its implementation will be similar to how drink driving is tackled with roadside testing and specified limits for controlled drugs being introduced. The robust powers mean drug driving becoming far more technical and complex, whether you are guilty or not, it is imperative that you get specialist legal representation.
The new drug driving charge is detailed under Section 5A(1) & (2) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and is to be introduced in Scotland after being successfully introduced in England and Wales in the past few years.
Like most aspects of life, advancements in technology have brought about change as that the police are now able to detect the presence of controlled drugs using Drugwipes AKA Drugalysers rather than having to carry out impairment tests.
Therefore, as of Monday, if police suspect a driver of drug driving they will have the power to require a driver suspected of drug driving to a provide a sample of saliva or sweat for analysis at the roadside using the Drugalyser. If the Drugalyser indicates the presence of a controlled drug, the driver will then be arrested on suspicion of drug driving and taken to the police station where the driver will be required to provide a specimen of blood or urine for scientific testing.
After analysis, if the level of the controlled blood or urine is in excess of the specified limit for that drug, a report would be sent to the Procurator Fiscal for drug driving and a driver would expect to receive a date for court shortly thereafter.
How do the Drugwipes or Drugalysers work?
The Drugwipe is inserted into the mouth or wiped across the forehead taking a swab of saliva or sweat. This is a simple procedure and shouldn’t cause any pain or discomfort.
How many specimens of saliva or sweat do I have to give?
The police can require you to give up to three specimens of saliva or sweat.
What if I refuse to provide a specimen of saliva or sweat?
It is an offence under sections 6 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to refuse to provide a preliminary specimen without a reasonable excuse. A disqualification can be imposed for this offence. See the relevant page on our website for more info.
What drugs are controlled under the new drug driving law?
The new drug driving law applies to both illegal and medicinal or prescribed drugs. Please visit our drug driving section of our website to view the list of the controlled drugs.
What are the specified limits for the drugs controlled by the new drug driving law?
There has been little information on what specified limits will apply and our efforts to confirm this with the Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf MSP, and the Procurator Fiscal have been unsuccessful. However, we fully expect that the same specified limits used in England and Wales will apply which are detailed in the drug driving section of our website.
What if I refuse to provide a specimen of blood or urine at the police station?
It is an offence under section 7 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to refuse to provide a specimen for analysis without a reasonable excuse. A mandatory disqualification of at least 12 months is the penalty or this offence. See the relevant page on our website for more.
What if I’m charged with drug driving after having taken drugs supplied by a doctor or pharmacist?
Under section 5A (3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 it is a defence if the drug was supplied for medical or dental purposes and it was taken in accordance with instruction.
What are the penalties for drug driving?
A minimum 12 month disqualification is mandatory. Other penalties include a fine or a prison sentence of up to six months.
If you are charged with drug driving, ensuring you have expert legal representation is essential. Whether you are guilty or not we understand the consequences that drug driving can have for you and we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible outcome!
We will fully investigate your case, ensuring that the proper procedures were followed and that the testing of any samples have been done properly as well as giving you access to the best toxicologists in the country. If you’re guilty then we will work with you to limit the damage sustained to your driving licence, prepare a bespoke and comprehensive plea in mitigation and provide first class legal representation to ensure you are back driving as soon as possible.
Our Mr Sheridan’s expertise and reputation in relation to drug driving offences is such that in the summer of 2014 he was invited by the University of Indiana and the University of Glasgow to be a guest speaker at the Robert F. Borenstein course on drink and drug driving.
So don’t waste any more time, get the expert road traffic lawyer who gets results, contact us now on 0141 465 3333.