Drug Driving Solicitors - Defending Allegations of Drug Driving Offences

If you or someone you know has been accused of drug driving, our specialist Drug Driving Solicitors are here to provide expert legal support and advice throughout proceedings.

Facing charges for alleged drug driving offences is extremely stressful, with the consequences potentially far-reaching. Our drug driving solicitors understand this, working with you closely throughout proceedings to ensure you’re always kept in the loop and giving you complete support.

At Draycott Browne, our team of legal experts has successfully defended drug driving cases since 1998. Our extensive knowledge in this area will provide you with peace of mind that you have the best possible legal help on your side. Get in touch with our team of motoring law solicitors today on +44 (0)161 228 2244, or complete our online contact form.


At Draycott Browne, we understand how stressful it can be to face drug driving charges, especially if losing your licence will mean a loss of livelihood and independence. We are here to fight your corner and have a proven track record of successfully defending a variety of motoring offences.

We can provide you with all the necessary guidance and advice and have the expertise to represent you in court. We have helped hundreds of clients avoid disqualification and many of our cases have been dropped by the prosecution without coming to trial.

By instructing Draycott Browne, you can be assured that you have a team of highly skilled legal professionals, who will provide you with the exceptional representation that you deserve.

what is drug driving?

At the most basic level, drug driving is simply operating a motor vehicle whilst under the influence of drugs which may impair your ability to drive.

Since 2015, there have been two ways you can be prosecuted for drug driving offences, with the method of prosecution depending on the drugs involved. They are:

  • Driving whilst unfit through drugs
  • Driving with excess drugs

Driving whilst unfit through drugs

If you are to be convicted of driving whilst unfit through drugs, the prosecution must demonstrate that your driving ability was impaired as a result of you taking drugs before choosing to drive.

Naturally, this is difficult to prove, with the police typically using a roadside test to judge your level of impairment. The test will include:

  • Checking your pupil size
  • Modified Romberg balance test
  • The walk and turn test
  • The one-leg stand
  • Putting your finger to your nose

Should the police decide you have failed this test, you will be taken to the police station to get a blood sample to define the precise amount of drugs in your system at the time.

Although the blood test is used, there is no defined limit in these cases, meaning it will merely form part of the prosecution’s case against you and having a high level does not necessarily prove guilt.


Driving with excess drugs

Introduced in 2015, this offence was introduced due to the uncertainty surrounding a driving whilst unfit through drugs charge. Featuring specific legal limits for a range of drugs, this is similar to drink driving prosecutions and is the most common prosecution method for drug driving offences.

Prosecuting under driving with excess drugs law is, therefore, a more straightforward process for the police, who simply need to establish two things to satisfy charging criteria:

  • A specified person was driving
  • The specified person had a level of drug within their system over the set legal limit

The legal limits for drug driving are:

Illegal Drugs Limit in blood
benzoylecgonine 50µg/L
cocaine 10µg/L
cannabis 2µg/L
ketamine 20µg/L
lysergic acid diethylamide 1µg/L
methylamphetamine 10µg/L
MDMA 10µg/L
heroin 5µg/L
Legal/Prescription Drugs Limit in blood
clonazepam 50µg/L
diazepam 550µg/L
flunitrazepam 300µg/L
lorazepam 100µg/L
methadone 500µg/L
morphine 80µg/L
oxazepam 300µg/L
temazepam 1,000µg/L


If you are found driving whilst over the legal limits outlined above, you will be taken into custody.

The specified limits are strict by design meaning that, in cases where drugs take several days to go through your system, you could be found to be over the limit despite not taking drugs for a number of days. This is particularly common in cases involving cannabis.



If you’ve been arrested for drug driving, you’ll be asked to consent to provide a biological sample to provide further evidence that you are under the influence of legal or illegal drugs.  In drug driving cases this is usually a blood test, but you may also be asked to provide a urine sample.

If you refuse to do so, you may be charged again with the offence of ‘failing to provide a specimen’ (DR60 Offence).  There are a number of ways to defend allegations of failure to provide, particularly where the police claim you did so without a ‘reasonable excuse’.  Police procedure can also be a key element of the defence in both drug driving and failure to provide cases, and the Crown Prosecution Service must prove that the officers adhered to the rules while you were in police custody.

The experienced drug driving defence lawyers at Draycott Browne will examine every aspect of the case against you to mount the strongest possible defence for the circumstances.

drug driving punishments

Punishments for drug driving offences differ depending on the specific offence you are charged with and the severity of your offence.

The sentencing guidelines for being found guilty of driving whilst unfit through drugs are:

Nature of activity

Starting point

Punishment range

Driving disqualification

Moderate impairment and no aggravating factors

Band C fine

Band C fine

12-16 months

Moderate impairment and one or more aggravating factors

Band C fine

Band C fine

17-22 months

High impairment and no aggravating factors

Medium level community order

Low level to high-level community order

23-28 months

High impairment and one or more aggravating factors

12 weeks imprisonment

High-level community order to 26 weeks imprisonment

29-36 months


Driving with excess drugs, however, does not have definitive sentencing guidelines, leaving your punishment open to the court’s decisions. Basic guidance has been issued, however, which states anyone found guilty should expect to receive:

  • An unlimited fine, community order or sentence of up to six months
  • A mandatory driving ban of 12 months

As you can see, even the lowest level punishment can have a significant impact on your life, making instructing a specialist drug driving solicitor as early as possible in the process vital.

The additional consequences of drug driving

In addition to the punishments laid out above, being found guilty of drug driving will leave you with a drugs conviction on your criminal record, making travelling to other countries a much more difficult (and in some cases impossible) process.

You can also expect your car insurance to dramatically increase following your conviction and remain higher than average for the eleven years the conviction remains on your driving license.

Should the police officers stopping you have reason to believe you have illegal drugs on your person they may also subject you and your car to a search. If any are discovered, they will be kept as evidence to be used against you and could be used to bring additional charges.

drug driving on Prescription medicines

Driving requires you to be alert and sharp as you constantly react to changing situations around you. As with drink driving, this reaction speed and accuracy is impaired by the side effects of taking drugs.

There are some legal prescription drugs for which you can receive a drug driving charge if you are above the prescribed limit, or even if the legal dose you have taken is impairing your driving ability. Therefore, it is strongly advised that you consult your doctor about whether or not it is a risk to operate a vehicle whilst taking a medicine they have prescribed you. It is also important to make sure you administer the correct dose if you are driving.

An overdose of a prescription drug can produce dangerous side effects and symptoms which impair your driving ability:

  • Delayed reactions
  • Blurred vision or hallucinations
  • Low attention span
  • Short temper
  • Tremors or shakiness


If you or a loved one has been arrested on motoring law charges, you should not hesitate to call us at the earliest possible opportunity. Our solicitors are on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ready to assist you at the police station after your arrest. We will advise you on what to say, liaise with the police on your behalf, ensure that you are treated fairly and that your rights are respected throughout your time in custody.


Arrests can be unexpected, and therefore you may not have the funds to pay for legal help. However, our service, at the police station, is free at the point of delivery, meaning we will provide our services to anyone in need of our help.

You may also be eligible to receive legal aid, helping you to pay any legal fees incurred. Our solicitors will guide you through the legal aid application process, ensuring you have the best possible chance of receiving the funds you need to get the highest level of legal representation.


When faced with prosecution over a drug driving offence, it is crucial that you seek the best criminal defence representation available to you. Even a minor driving offence could result in disqualification under the totting up procedure. We can help.

Our drug driving offence specialists are part of our wider, and nationally recognised team of expert criminal solicitors in Manchester. We are highly regarded across the legal profession and noted for consistently excellent results. Our Motoring Offence Solicitors possess a high degree of technical knowledge that will provide you with the quality you deserve in your legal representation. We take great pride in our dedication and professionalism and are committed to achieving the best result possible for all of our clients. As one of the principal criminal defence law firms in the country, we will work tirelessly on your behalf, with an attention to detail and tenacity that is second to none, to ensure you have a strong and effective defence.

With your licence or liberty at stake, you cannot afford to settle for anything less than Draycott Browne and the quality legal representation our team provides.

If you or a loved one are seeking first-class legal advice and representation from experienced Motoring Solicitors, call Draycott Browne today on +44 (0)161 266 7080.

Contact Us