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DRUG DRIVING FAQS

From 1st January 2015 until 31st December 2017

WON 93% of our Drug Driving cases!

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OUR DRUG DRIVING TESTIMONIALS

Email from a client whose case was concluded in July 2018: Hi Tara Boyle, I would like to answer the three questions posed in your email with a score of 5 to all. I have found everyone I have dealt with within your company to being very efficient, polite and... Read More

Email from a client whose case was concluded in July 2018:

Hi Tara Boyle,

I would like to answer the three questions posed in your email with a score of 5 to all. I have found everyone I have dealt with within your company to being very efficient, polite and very helpful.

With regards to dealing with Ellie Taylor I have found her to be very professional and help full what has impressed me most is her patience and ability to explain everything to me whether it be in an email or a conversation on the phone in the language I can understand as I have no idea of legal jargon. So to answer you I am very pleased I found your company via internet and very happy Ellie was dealing with my case.

Lastly I would like to thank you all for getting me the result I needed and again can you share my gratitude to the powers that be about Ellie and the great work she has done for me.

Kind regards

Vincent Waddington

Vincent Waddington
Drug Driving
Ban Avoided
Staines

At the end of December 2017, I was charged with drug driving being 3 times over the limit for cannabis. I thought that was it, there was nothing I could do to fix this. But after speaking with Geoffrey Miller solicitors I ended up deciding that I will let them... Read More

At the end of December 2017, I was charged with drug driving being 3 times over the limit for cannabis. I thought that was it, there was nothing I could do to fix this. But after speaking with Geoffrey Miller solicitors I ended up deciding that I will let them deal with my case as I strongly felt that my case handler Austin took his time to understand my case, understand my background, what consequences this would have on my future as I’m still young and need to finish university. I felt highly confident with letting Austin deal with my case, he would always keep me updated of any key dates there are, any letters or emails that have been received and just overall talking me through what options I had, whether we’re in a strong position or not, what points are being focused on my behalf and what to be expecting in court. All of this kept me even more reassured as I was confident that I had someone with an high amount of skills and knowledge in this field dealing with my case. This was my first ever time in court so I was really nervous, I didn’t know what to expect but Austin always made sure that he listened to everything I had to say, any questions I wanted to ask, that’s what kept me reassured the most.

At the day of my trial Geoffrey Miller Solicitors had sent a very professional advocate (counsel) to deal with my case. He briefed me through what procedures are going to be placed, what points his main focus is on, what to say, what not to say and what to expect from the judges. At trial, in the courtroom it only took my advocate around 20 minutes to get the judges to drop the case and get me acquitted which was literally the best outcome anyone would want if you’re ever in this position.

Overall I would like to thank Geoffrey Miller Solicitors so much for getting my life back on track and being with me through that dark stage, I always had every opportunity to ask for clarifications on anything that wasn’t understood. The whole process ran through very smoothly and just the way my case handler Austin described it would be. The team provided the best service you could get for the price you’re paying and I would HIGHLY recommend anyone in a similar situation to me to not hesitate or even think twice about having Geoffrey Miller Solicitors backing you up in court. They are the best at what they do and they produce the best expected results at the end of it all.

Mr H Singh
Drug Driving
Acquitted
London

I cannot rate the service provided by Geoffrey Miller highly enough, I was initially cautious about committing to what I considered significant costs, but in reality, I now appreciate the services purchased to be possibly the best value for money spend item I have made in many many years. My... Read More

I cannot rate the service provided by Geoffrey Miller highly enough, I was initially cautious about committing to what I considered significant costs, but in reality, I now appreciate the services purchased to be possibly the best value for money spend item I have made in many many years.

My life and career have, quite literally, been saved by this solicitors’ group. They are highly professional, extremely thorough, communicate excellently and provide great support and reassurance at court appearances. I would not hesitate to use them again in the future.
I am confident that, in their field, they are the very best in the country. If you are in need of defence for a driving related charge, you will be doing yourself a huge disservice not to ask for their advice.

Thank you once again Geoffrey Miller Solicitors. I am forever indebted to you!

Anonymous 44
Drug Driving
Case Dropped
West Midlands

All the staff at Geoffrey Miller solicitors are kind, courteous and are top of their game and are definitely worth the money for the service they give you. Although parting with so much money at the beginning was scary and I had my reservations I was soon put at ease... Read More

All the staff at Geoffrey Miller solicitors are kind, courteous and are top of their game and are definitely worth the money for the service they give you. Although parting with so much money at the beginning was scary and I had my reservations I was soon put at ease with the Geoffrey Miller team, they got the result they said they would and I would definitely use their services again if the need arises.

I cannot thank you enough for the result you got me, you gave me my life back… you’re the best!

Mr A Grindrod
Drug Driving
Acquitted
Manchester

Geoffrey Miller provided an excellent service, under what were extremely stressful circumstances. The advice and help from Tara Boyle was clear and concise with no pressure added to make a decision to appoint. She was able to provide comparisons to other cases like ours, key statistics and even offered the... Read More

Geoffrey Miller provided an excellent service, under what were extremely stressful circumstances. The advice and help from Tara Boyle was clear and concise with no pressure added to make a decision to appoint. She was able to provide comparisons to other cases like ours, key statistics and even offered the opportunity to speak with someone who had been in our situation, all which helped us decide to appoint. Tara kept us up to date with how the case was progressing and was always quick to respond to any questions we had. I can’t recommend Geoffrey Miller highly enough if you need someone to represent you, they did a fabulous job keeping us calm and achieving a positive outcome for us.

Anonymous 42
Drug Driving
Case Discontinued Before Trial
Surrey

In May 2017 I got arrested for drug driving after providing a positive drug swab at the side of the road for cannabis. I really didn’t think at the time that I would be over the limit as I really hadn’t consumed much of it . When I was arrested... Read More

In May 2017 I got arrested for drug driving after providing a positive drug swab at the side of the road for cannabis. I really didn’t think at the time that I would be over the limit as I really hadn’t consumed much of it . When I was arrested I was taken to the local police station where a blood sample was taken and then had the long wait of 4 weeks for the results to come back. This was definitely the worst time of my life, lots of things were going through my head e.g. that if i was convicted i would lose my job, that I would never be able to travel to certain countries again. I honestly thought at the age of 19 and previously never been in any sort of trouble before my life was over.

When I plucked up the courage to tell my family the next day they did a lot of research to find the best solicitors they could, the testimonials we read on Geoffrey Miller’s website along with their success rate convinced us that these were the solicitors to use. My mother phoned them to find out more info and we instructed them to represent myself. I was also appointed my own caseworker named Sarah who i was told I could contact at anytime with any query I may have.

Eventually after waiting for what seemed like forever I received the results of my blood test. I was devastated to find out that as well as being over the limit for cannabis I was also over the legal drive limit for cocaine. I was convinced at this point nobody could get me off with this.
I phoned my case worker Sarah straight away and she talked me through everything that would happen from here. She was very thorough and extremely helpful.

On the trial day we met with my barrister who works for Geoffrey Miller (when I googled him I was shocked to learn that he was one of the top barristers in the U.K.). Within 45 minutes of the case starting my barrister had the case thrown out of court. I was ecstatic, everything that Sarah told me may happen, did happen!

I can’t thank Geoffrey Miller solicitors enough. I feel like I’ve got my life back. I would 100% recommend this firm and for me it was money well spent.

Thanks again!!

Mr C
Drug Driving
Case Thrown Out
South Wales

“I was arrested for Drug Driving (Cannabis). I contacted Geoffrey Miller Solicitors and they assured me that everything was going to be ok and my case would be handled by Sharif. I have just had my case discontinued and couldn’t be happier. I would recommend Geoffrey Miller to anyone facing... Read More

“I was arrested for Drug Driving (Cannabis). I contacted Geoffrey Miller Solicitors and they assured me that everything was going to be ok and my case would be handled by Sharif. I have just had my case discontinued and couldn’t be happier. I would recommend Geoffrey Miller to anyone facing the same charge. They are an investment but value for money if you are looking at a lengthy ban.

Mr RPM
Drug Driving
Case Discontinued
Cheshire

Following my arrest for drug driving I was very shaken up to the consequences that I could possibly incur. After a lot of in depth research I contacted Geoffrey Miller. Tara Boyle dedicated various hours of her time to comfort me through the numerous options available to me. Tara Boyle... Read More

Following my arrest for drug driving I was very shaken up to the consequences that I could possibly incur. After a lot of in depth research I contacted Geoffrey Miller. Tara Boyle dedicated various hours of her time to comfort me through the numerous options available to me.

Tara Boyle then continued to handled my case, she was always easily accessible to answer any questions I had whether it be through email or phone call. After receiving notice that I had to attend court, Tara Boyle and the Geoffrey Miller team were always on hand to help me through each stage. Through great communication I was able to follow great instruction from the beginning. Following my initial court appearance I had two more court appearances, where on the third it was announced that I was acquitted of my charges and the case was dropped.

I now really feel like I have my life back, We cannot thank the team at Geoffrey Miller enough!

Anonymous 33
Drug Driving
Acquitted
London

Following our son’s arrest for drug driving we contacted Geoffrey Miller. Jeanette Miller spent over an hour on the phone with us to discuss options and the possible approaches. Tara Boyle then handled our case, she developed an excellent rapport with our son and was always on hand to answer... Read More

Following our son’s arrest for drug driving we contacted Geoffrey Miller. Jeanette Miller spent over an hour on the phone with us to discuss options and the possible approaches. Tara Boyle then handled our case, she developed an excellent rapport with our son and was always on hand to answer any questions. We had amazing representation in court and our son was acquitted. He now has his life back and the opportunity to continue his recovery. We cannot thank the team at Geoffrey Miller enough.

Mr G
Drug Driving
Acquitted
Surrey

Almost 2 years after being charged with drink/drug driving I’ve finally stood trial and have been acquitted! A driving ban would of set me back massively and I still can’t quite believe I’ve avoided it! Many thanks to my caseworker John and my barrister on the day of trial, who... Read More

Almost 2 years after being charged with drink/drug driving I’ve finally stood trial and have been acquitted! A driving ban would of set me back massively and I still can’t quite believe I’ve avoided it! Many thanks to my caseworker John and my barrister on the day of trial, who handled everything brilliantly.

Mr B
Drink Driving, Drug Driving
Not Guilty
Cheshire
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The Drug Driving Law

From 2nd March 2015 the law on drug driving changed. The old offence of driving whilst unfit through drugs remains in place but is now rarely used as the old offence requires there to be proof of driver impairment.

The new offence of drug driving means it is now illegal to drive if you have certain levels of legal or illegal drugs in your blood even if your driving is not impaired.This has seen a surge in arrests and convictions of many motorists who arguably posed no threat to others but because when arrested, their blood was over the drug drive limit.

We are regularly contacted by people who face prosecution seeking clarification of the new laws. Below we have addressed the most common questions we are asked by people facing a drug drive charge.

The Consequences:

  1. Mandatory minimum penalty of 12-month disqualification and a fine of 1.5 weeks’ net wages;
  2. For repeat offenders, a mandatory minimum penalty of 36-month disqualification along with a fine of 1.5 weeks’ net wages;
  3. Your driving licence will be endorsed for 11 years for drug driving;
  4. Possible prison sentence in high reading or repeat offender cases;
  5. Criminal record;
  6. Possible professional consequences such as loss of job/licence to practice;
  7. Significant insurance increases;
  8. Restrictions on foreign travel; and
  9. Reputational damage.

Drug Driving Limits

‘Illegal’ drugs (‘accidental exposure’ – zero tolerance approach)Threshold limit in blood
Benzoylecgonine50µg/L
Cocaine10µg/L
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (cannabis)2µg/L
Ketamine20µg/L
Lysergic acid diethylamide1µg/L
Methylamphetamine10µg/L
MDMA10µg/L
6-monoacetylmorphine (heroin)5µg/L
‘Medicinal’ drugs (risk based approach)Threshold limit in blood
Amphetamine250µg/L
Clonazepam50µg/L
Diazepam550µg/L
Flunitrazepam300µg/L
Lorazepam100µg/L
Methadone500µg/L
Morphine80µg/L
Oxazepam300µg/L
Temazepam1,000µg/L

11 Frequently Asked Questions

1. I don’t take cannabis but I have been with friends who do. Will I be over the limit through passive smoking? Is this a defence?

Technically it could amount to a ‘special reason.’

A special reason is not a defence, but if accepted by the court allows the Magistrates to exercise their discretion to impose a disqualification of a period less than the mandatory 12 months or to impose penalty points if they feel you inadvertently consumed cannabis.

The laws surrounding drug driving are rapidly developing and currently there have been no cases setting a precedent for passive smoking. Release, a company specialising in health, welfare and legal needs of drugs users, have concerns about the new law as research shows that passive inhalation of cannabis smoke has resulted in drug levels between 1-7μg/L. This, they believe, could mean that an individual who has been exposed to passive cannabis smoke, could potentially be over the legal limit of 2μg/L for Cannabis.

However, there have been conflicting reports and the Government is confident that the scientific advice provided by an expert advisory group, recommending a limit of 2μg/L is at a limit where anything above is unlikely to be through accidental exposure.

2. Could I pay a fine instead of being disqualified if I am found guilty of drug driving?

No. Nothing you say or do will avoid you being disqualified for at least 12 months if you plead guilty or are found guilty of drug driving.

You may present mitigation to the court to reduce your disqualification period down to receive the minimum disqualification, or put forward special reasons, which if accepted will give the Magistrates discretion to impose a period less than the mandatory 12 months or penalty points.

3. What level of sentence could I receive?

Unlike drink driving, there are no sentencing guidelines for drug driving setting out the penalty range for a specific drug reading.

A pattern has emerged within the courts to take the drink drive guidelines as a template of what sentence to impose in drug driving which we consider to be completely perverse and unfair. Some courts have been known to take the view that if you are twice over the drug driving limit then a sentence should be imposed as if you were twice over the drink driving limit.

This causes great concern as the legal limit for illegal drugs has been set at a zero tolerance approach unlike drink driving. If a defendant’s drug reading is double the cannabis limit their driving is still unlikely to be impaired, unlike if someone’s alcohol reading is double the drink driving limit, yet they could still be facing a disqualification period of nearly 2 years.

At Geoffrey Miller Solicitors we put great weight on this point when it comes to sentencing where we are instructed on a guilty plea case (for defended cases since the new law has been in force was have had a 100% acquittal rate!*) and we ensure that the court do not take this approach when determining a disqualification period.

4. I regularly take drugs so I have built up a high tolerance. My driving is not impaired so can I still be found guilty of drug driving?

Yes. The new drug driving law does not take into consideration your quality of driving – if you are over the prescribed limit you will be prosecuted.

5. How long should I wait after consuming drugs to safely drive within the legal limit?

There is no set answer to this as it is dependent on the drug and the person in question. A recent study has shown a cannabis concentration up to 2μg/L (the legal limit!) nine days after abstaining from cannabis use.

6. I use cannabis for medical purposes. Is this a defence?

No. A patient will be able to rely on the medical defence if each of three conditions are met:

  1. The drug had been prescribed or supplied to the driver for medical or dental purposes;
  2. The driver took the drug in accordance with the instructions given by the person who prescribed or supplied it, and in accordance with any directions in the accompanying leaflet from the drug’s manufacturer or distributor; and
  3. Possession of the drug was lawful

Cannabis is an illegal drug and only prescribed in the UK in an extremely limited number of cases in the form of a mouth spray called Sativex.

Sativex is a whole cannabis extract and can be prescribed for patients with multiple sclerosis. Currently in the United Kingdom it is also being considered as treatment for brain cancer too.

The Department of Transport has provided guidance for Sativex users confirming, if you are an MS sufferer who in the opinion of a doctor is able to drive safely you should not be deterred from either taking your medicine or from driving. In these circumstances there is a statutory medical defence that can be raised for the new drug driving offence.

7. I have been charged with drug driving for taking a drug prescribed by my doctor. Have I got a defence?

There is a potential defence as long as you can prove the following conditions:

  1. You have taken the prescribed medicine in accordance with your GP’s instructions; and
  2. You have been told you can drive under the prescribed dosage.

If your driving was found to be impaired as a result of taking prescribed drug you can still be prosecuted for driving whilst impaired through drugs which has no medical defence available.

The penalty for this offence is also a mandatory disqualification period of at least 12 months and you could potentially be at risk of a custodial sentence up to 26 weeks in extreme cases.

8. I have a previous drink drive offence within the last 10 years and have been charged with drug driving. Will I receive a mandatory repeat offender 3 year ban?

Yes.

Section 34 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act confirms that if you have been convicted for one of the following offences in the last 10 years this will trigger an automatic 3-year ban:

a) Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs;

b) Driving or attempting to drive while unfit;

c) Driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol;

d) Driving or attempting to drive with concentration of specified controlled drug above specified limit; or

e) Failing to provide a specimen (if a mandatory disqualifcation period is applied).

9. I am going to Amsterdam for the weekend and plan to visit the ‘coffee shops’ whilst I am there. Will I be ok driving home from the airport?

We have experienced a significant rise in queries relating to being stopped and tested for drugs after visiting Amsterdam due to airport staff liaising with the police to crackdown on drug driving.

There is no set answer to whether you will be under the legal limit on your return to the UK and therefore you could be at risk of being charged with drug driving if you plan on driving in the UK.

10. Will a drug driving conviction affect my insurance premium?

A conviction for drug driving will be endorsed on your licence for 11 years and can have a long term impact on you financially. In 2013 Compare.com  conducted a survey that revealed that a conviction for drink driving increases your insurance on average by 115%. This will be similar to a drug driving conviction, so even after your disqualification period is served you may find it extremely difficult and costly to obtain insurance.

11. I wasn’t smoking cannabis when I was stopped but have still been charged with drug driving. The last time I smoked was the night before and had no idea I was over the limit. I would not have driven if thought I was! How can I be found guilty if I had no intention of drug driving?

Drug driving is a strict liability offence, meaning the Prosecution don’t have to prove that you had any intention to drive with excess drugs in your system or while impaired. Nor do they need to witness you take drugs. All they need to prove is you were over the legal limit whilst driving.

This means that even if you smoked the night before and genuinely believed you were under the legal limit you will still be charged with drug driving (or driving while unfit if your driving is impaired) and face a mandatory 12-month disqualification period if you plead or are found guilty.

(*As at the date of publication. Please check our results page for any updated information regarding our acquittal rates.)

†Figures include successful appeals and exclude cases lost that are the subject of appeal as at 31 December 2017.

Not Sure What to Do About Your Drug Driving Case?

Most people who get in touch with our team of motor offence expert solicitors are uncertain of their options. They are unaware of any legal defences that may be available and find it difficult to believe that it might be possible to defend the drink driving offence charge they face by using loopholes that apply to the rich and famous! We do represent celebrities but we also represent many hardworking motorists like Brian and we want to help you make the right choice about what you do next.

We are always more than happy to chat things through with potential clients Free of Charge. Call us now on Freephone 0800 1389 123 to speak to one of our specialist motoring offence solicitors. It is only once you decide to instruct us that payment will become necessary and we can often arrange installment plans to assist you. Many satisfied clients have thanked us for offering this free consultation service as it has prevented them from following inaccurate non-expert advice which could have led to them accepting a driving ban unnecessarily.

If you would like to spend more time browsing on the site before you get in touch, make sure you have a look at our specialist motor offence guidance features such as our drink driving ban calculator which will help you to determine the penalty you may face if convicted and our money saving calculator which helps to outline some of the hidden costs of accepting a conviction.

We think we are simply the best in the business but if you are not satisfied in taking our word for it, our unique “ask our clients” testimonials scheme allows you to contact previous clients of the firm to seek a completely independent reference about us and what we might be able to do for you.

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Geoffrey Miller Solicitors are specialists defending drivers nationwide for all types of driving offences. Call our team of expert driving offence solicitors for some free initial advice.

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Geoffrey Miller Solicitors is a trading name of Jeanette Miller Law Limited, a Limited Company Registered in England and Wales. Company No: 8214795.
Registered office: Unit 3 Digital Park, 3 Pacific Way, Salford (Media City) M50 1DR. Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No: 573314 VAT No:162579563.
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