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DRUG DRIVING SENTENCING GUIDELINES

Drug driving sentencing guidelines and the drug driving law which came into force in March 2015. Call our team of expert drug driving solicitors for some free initial advice.

From 1st January 2015 until 31st December 2017

We 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
Load More Testimonials
drug driving sentencing guidlines

Since the new offence came into force in March 2015 the Sentencing Council has received a large number of requests for a sentencing guideline. Therefore, it has been brought to our attention that there are concerns with sentencing in this area and a risk of inconsistent practices developing.

The new offence is a strict liability offence, which is committed once the specified limit for any of 17 specified controlled drugs is exceeded. The 17 drugs include both illegal drugs and drugs that may be medically prescribed. Most importantly, the limits for illegal drugs are set in line with a zero tolerance approach but ruling out accidental exposure.

The limits for drugs that may be medically prescribed are set in line with a road safety risk-based approach, at levels above the normal concentrations found with therapeutic use. This is different from the approach taken when setting the limit for alcohol, where the limit was set at a level where the effect of the alcohol expected may have impaired a person’s driving ability. Therefore, for these reasons it would be wrong to rely on the Driving with Excess Alcohol guideline when sentencing an offence under this legislation.

Guidance Only

At present there is insufficient reliable data available from the Department for Transport upon which the Sentencing Council can devise a full guideline. For that reason, and given the number of requests for guidance received, the Sentencing Council has devised some guidance to assist sentencers.

It is important to note that this guidance does not carry the same authority as a sentencing guideline, and sentencers do not have to follow it. However, the majority of sentencers will find it useful in assisting them to deal with these cases.

The Sentencing Council will, in due course produce a guideline with the assistance of evidence and data gathered by the Department for Transport. Any new guideline will be made subject to public consultation before it is finalised.

Drug Driving Guidance

The Crime and Courts Act 2013 inserted a new section 5A into the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA), which makes it an offence to drive, attempt to drive, or be in charge of a motor vehicle with a concentration of a specified controlled drug in the body above the specified limit. The offence came into force on 2 March 2015.

Driving or Attempting to Drive

Triable only summarily:
Maximum: Unlimited fine and/or 6 months

  • Must endorse and disqualify for at least 12 months
  • Must disqualify for at least 2 years if offender has had two or more disqualifications for periods of 56 days or more in preceding 3 years – refer to disqualification guidance and consult your legal adviser for further guidance
  • Must disqualify for at least 3 years if offender has been convicted of a relevant offence in preceding 10 years – consult your legal adviser for further guidance

If there is a delay in sentencing after conviction, consider interim disqualification

  • As a guide, where an offence of driving or attempting to drive has been committed and there are no factors that increase seriousness the Court should consider a starting point of a Band C fine, and a disqualification in the region of 12 – 22 months. The list of factors that increase seriousness appears at page 3. Please note this is an exhaustive list and only factors that appear in the list should be considered.
  • Where there are factors that increase seriousness the Court should consider increasing the sentence on the basis of the level of seriousness.
  • The community order threshold is likely to be crossed where there is evidence of one or more factors that increase seriousness. The Court should also consider imposing a disqualification in the region of 23 – 28 months.
  • The custody threshold is likely to be crossed where there is evidence of one or more factors that increase seriousness and one or more aggravating factors (see below). The Court should also consider imposing a disqualification in the region of 29 – 36 months.
  • Having determined a starting point, the Court should consider additional factors that may make the offence more or less serious. A non-exhaustive list of aggravating and mitigating factors is set out below.

Factors that increase seriousness (this is an exhaustive list)

  • Evidence of another specified drug1 or of alcohol in the body
  • Evidence of an unacceptable standard of driving
  • Driving (or in charge of) an LGV, HGV or PSV
  • Driving (or in charge of ) a vehicle driven for hire or reward

Aggravating and mitigating factors (these are non-exhaustive lists)

Aggravating Factors

  • Previous convictions having regard to a) the nature of the offence to which the conviction relates and its relevance to the current offence; and b) the time that has elapsed since the conviction’
  • Location e.g. near school
  • Carrying passengers
  • High level of traffic or pedestrians in the vicinity
  • Poor road or weather conditions

Mitigating Factors

  • No previous convictions or no relevant/recent convictions
  • Remorse
  • Good character and/or exemplary conduct
  • Age and/or lack of maturity where it affects the responsibility of the offender
  • Mental disorder or learning disability
  • Sole or primary carer for dependent relatives
  • Very short distance driven
  • Genuine emergency established

1For these purposes, cocaine and benzoylecgonine (BZE) shall be treated as one drug as they both occur in the body as a result of cocaine use rather than poly-drug use. Similarly 6-Monoacteylmorphine and Morphine shall be treated as one drug as they both occur in the body as a result of heroin use. Finally, Diazepam and Temazepam shall be treated as one drug as they also both occur in the body as a result of Temazepam use.

In Charge

Triable only summarily:

Maximum: Level 4 fine and/or 3 months

Must endorse and may disqualify. If no disqualification, impose 10 points

  • As a guide, where an offence of being in charge has been committed but there are no factors that increase seriousness the Court should consider a starting point of a Band B fine, and endorsing the licence with 10 penalty points. The list of factors that increase seriousness appears below. Please note this is an exhaustive list and only factors that appear in the list should be considered.
  • Where there are factors that increase seriousness the Court should consider increasing the sentence on the basis of the level of seriousness.
  • The community order threshold is likely to be crossed where there is evidence of one or more factors that increase seriousness and one or more aggravating factors (see below). The Court should also consider imposing a disqualification.
  • Where there is evidence of one or more factors that increase seriousness and a greater number of aggravating factors (see below) the Court may consider it appropriate to impose a short custodial sentence of up to 12 weeks. The Court should also consider imposing a disqualification.
  • Having determined a starting point, the Court should consider additional factors that may make the offence more or less serious. A non-exhaustive list of aggravating and mitigating factors is set out below.

Factors that increase seriousness – (this is an exhaustive list)

  • Evidence of another specified drug2 or of alcohol in the body
  • Evidence of an unacceptable standard of driving
  • Driving (or in charge of) an LGV, HGV or PSV
  • Driving (or in charge of ) a vehicle driven for hire or reward

Aggravating and mitigating factors (these are non-exhaustive lists)

Aggravating Factors

  • Previous convictions having regard to a) the nature of the offence to which the conviction relates and its relevance to the current offence; and b) the time that has elapsed since the conviction’
  • Location e.g. near school
  • Carrying passengers
  • High level of traffic or pedestrians in the vicinity
  • Poor road or weather conditions

Mitigating Factors

  • No previous convictions or no relevant/recent convictions
  • Remorse
  • Good character and/or exemplary conduct
  • Age and/or lack of maturity where it affects the responsibility of the offender
  • Mental disorder or learning disability
  • Sole or primary carer for dependent relatives
  • Very short distance driven
  • Genuine emergency established

2For these purposes, cocaine and benzoylecgonine (BZE) shall be treated as one drug as they both occur in the body as a result of cocaine use rather than poly-drug use. Similarly 6-Monoacteylmorphine and Morphine shall be treated as one drug as they both occur in the body as a result of heroin use. Finally, Diazepam and Temazepam shall be treated as one drug as they also both occur in the body as a result of Temazepam use.

†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 Offence?

Most people who get in touch with our team of motor offence expert solicitors are uncertain of their options. However, 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 instalment plans to assist you. Most importantly, 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.

Browse our website and get in touch

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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DRINK DRIVING BAN CALCULATOR

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