In the United Kingdom, it is a crime to drive with any of the 17 controlled drugs above a specific level in the blood. This includes illegal and legally prescribed medications. Although there is no established limit for cannabis, there is one for THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The UK limit for THC is only 2 micrograms; it's so low that even exposure to second-hand smoke from a cannabis smoker could cause the limit to be exceeded and lead to sanctions.
The legal limit for cannabis (THC) is 2 micrograms per liter of blood (2 ug). This is the lowest legal limit for any drug under section 5A. If found guilty, you will receive a disqualification from driving for 12 months. There are no guaranteed safety periods for driving after cannabis use without direct drug control. Road saliva tests detect use for more than 24 hours, even after the effects wear off.
THC levels rise immediately after smoking and then decrease over the hours, requiring 7 to 12 hours to drop to the legal limit of 2 micrograms. However, traces can be identified for weeks or months, depending on the frequency of use. For regular smokers, don't take the risk. Wait more than 30 days to be completely free of substances and ensure that the THC completely disappears. Penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol in the UK are strict.
You will automatically be banned from driving for at least one year, or at least three years if convicted twice in 10 years. You will also have a criminal record. This page discusses some of the problems that often arise when defending a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. The police have the power to stop any vehicle even if there is no reason to suspect that the driver has committed a crime. During periods of high traffic, when the risk of violations is perceived to be greater, they tend to make more random stops and may establish checkpoints on the road for this purpose.
If the police have reasonable grounds to suspect that a driver may have a drug in their system, they are empowered to carry out a preliminary drug screening test, which is usually carried out after the initial stop. There are three preliminary drug testing devices that have the approval of the Ministry of the Interior, one of which can only be used in the police station and two that can be used anywhere. It is not always necessary to obtain a positive result on the saliva test for a legal arrest to take place for driving above the allowed limit for cannabis use. However, it is one of two ways available to legally require that a blood sample be obtained as a test.
The other is that a health professional has informed the police that the suspect may be suffering from a condition that could have been caused by a medication. Unlike alcohol, where breath, blood or urine samples can be obtained, blood is the only type of sample for which there is a limit for cannabis. Urine samples cannot be used to support legal action for exceeding the legal limit. They can be obtained, but the results of the tests can only be used as evidence in connection with an accusation of driving without being able to drive using cannabis. There are other parts of the procedure that are mandatory.
This means that if they have not been followed up, the results of the analysis cannot be relied on as evidence. The procedures are described in the MGDD (Manual Guidance Drug Driving) forms, which are intended as a simple guide to the procedures to be followed. Failure to comply with these procedures may result in acquittal. See our case studies below for examples of cases where they have been dismissed due to a lack of evidence that the correct procedures have been followed.
Consent to take blood samples If a blood sample has been required, the suspect must give consent to the collection of the sample both to the police and to the health professional taking the sample. Unless unambiguous consent is obtained, a blood sample should not be taken. Since the police know very well that blood is the only type of sample that can be obtained to support a legal action, our experience tells us that they often pressure the defendant to do so, when at first he may have expressed some reticence. If the healthcare professional has difficulty drawing enough blood from a vein, they may be breaking the law, which states that only one sample can be obtained.
The case DPP v. Dear (198) 87 Cr App R 181 states that only one specimen was taken from the subject's body that had to be divided on one occasion, the police withheld half of it and offered it to the defendant the other. If the sample consists of samples obtained on two different occasions, the analysis cannot be admitted as a test. Require the presence of the healthcare professional who challenges the analysis of the blood sample.
The tests of the analysis itself do not usually come from the analysts who carried out the work with the sample, but from the reporting officers, who provide expert reports detailing the results of the work carried out in the laboratory. Usually, there are at least six different forensic scientists who handle the sample received in the laboratory at one time or another, and most of them don't testify unless asked to do so. Experts can comment on the evidence of other witnesses. Reporting officers can comment on the results once the analyst has presented some evidence of the analysis. Having all analysts write statements for each sample would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming.
It would destroy the entire forensic market. The FER (Forensic Examination Record) normally states that witness statements can be obtained from analysts if necessary. In some cases, no person involved in the continuity of the sample may make statements or that there may be no documentation to establish proper handling and storage of the sample. In these cases, the court may be reluctant to accept the statements of a reporting officer, who never saw the sample and did not oversee any of the work done with it. Otherwise, the defense could not question the reliability of the analysis and the continuity of the blood sample.
Part 19 of the Criminal Procedure Regulations requires that, when the analytical data on which the results of the analysis of the sample are based are requested, copies or a reasonable opportunity to inspect the sample must be provided to the Defense. The difficulties that the Crown Prosecutor's Office has had in meeting its disclosure obligations are well documented. Due to time pressures and lack of resources, police and CPS do not always process disclosure requests efficiently, often creating difficulties when cases come to trial. If you plead guilty to the crime, you can expect a one-third reduction in the fine imposed.
The prosecution operates on the basis that most people plead guilty at the first hearing and prepare their cases accordingly. They usually present little evidence before the first sight. They may decide to plead guilty and, in doing so, simply accept the opinion of the police and the laboratory that all procedures for obtaining, handling and analyzing the sample have been followed correctly. You can also choose to defend the accusation.
The vast majority of our clients who have chosen to do the last thing (defend themselves) have considered it to be one of the best decisions they have ever made. This is confirmed by our excellent acquittal rates for driving under the influence of alcohol, which are 94 percent compared to customers who have pleaded not guilty until trial. We were able to successfully appeal our client's conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol. The accusation was originally based on an analysis carried out by Randox Testing Services in Northern Ireland, which has since been marred by a criminal investigation into sample contamination and the misconduct of its employees. The prosecution managed to postpone the trial on numerous occasions while trying to obtain evidence that would allow the sample of our customer.
It became known that the sample had originally been received by the Randox laboratory, where it was kept for 9 months before being sent to the second laboratory, where it was re-analyzed. There was no evidence to show which employees had handled the sample while it was in Randox's hands, or how or where it was stored before it was re-analyzed. The disparity between the results reported by the two laboratories, as well as the existence of evidence that the blank samples were somewhat contaminated, raised doubts about the integrity of the analysis. Despite this, our client was originally convicted based on the evidence of the new test.
The conviction that was successfully appealed in the Crown Court. The Crown Court judge held that he could not be sure that the sample had not been contaminated while in Randox's custody and, accordingly, upheld our client's appeal. After our client pleaded not guilty to the charge of driving under the influence of alcohol, the prosecution provided a video recording the procedure followed when a blood sample was required. The video recorded everything said by the agent who was carrying out the evidentiary procedure.
This established that our client did not receive a processing warning and, therefore, was not informed of the criminal consequences of not doing so. As this was a mandatory part of the legal proceedings, the case against him was dismissed. Our client was accused of failing to provide a blood sample. The case was defended on the basis that our client was unable to give valid consent for taking a blood sample because he lacked the necessary capacity to understand what was being requested of him and the consequences if he did not do so. The requirement was made after our client was admitted to the hospital after a head injury.
An expert report was submitted to support our client's defense based on the hospital records obtained and the evidence. The court accepted our expert's evidence and held that it could not be sure that the police had followed the correct procedure in making the requirement while our client was incapacitated due to the effects of the head injury. Therefore, the case against our client was dismissed. Our client had agreed to provide a blood sample for analysis, but when the nurse came to obtain the sample, she had difficulty drawing enough blood.
Numerous attempts were made to obtain a sufficient sample, as a result of which the tested blood was composed of several different samples taken at different times. At first, the nurse gave no statement, but she finally made a statement two weeks before the trial. The prosecution requested a delay on the day of the trial because the nurse had not been asked to appear in court. The Court rejected the request submitted by the prosecution; as a result, the prosecution presented no evidence and the case against our client was dismissed. Numerous questions were raised in relation to the procedure carried out by the police and the analysis that was carried out in connection with the taking of the blood sample.
The police had incorrectly identified the agent responsible for carrying out the procedure. When he finally delivered the relevant documentation one day before the trial, it became clear that it had been a completely different agent than the one identified above who had carried out the evidentiary procedure. As that agent did not attend the trial, the prosecution could not prove that the procedure had been carried out correctly and the case was once again dismissed. Once again, the results of the analysis of the blood sample obtained from our client were questioned.
Copies of all the analytical data on which the analysis of our client's blood sample was based were requested. The prosecution submitted a report from the reporting officer employed by the laboratory, but did not provide copies of the analytical material on which the result was based. Therefore, they violated the Court's Rules in relation to expert evidence and the Court refused to allow them to rely on their expert evidence. Without the forensic evidence, the prosecution had no other means of proving the amount of drug that was in our client's blood and the case was dismissed. Our client was accused of not providing a blood sample for analysis.
No preliminary sample was obtained from him and no drugs were found in his possession. Despite this, the police insisted on arresting him because he believed that his pupils were dilated and that he was in possession of an offensive weapon (which turned out to be his car's theft lock).). When the case went to trial, the officer responsible for the procedure did not remember that any health professional had expressed an opinion that our client was suffering from the effects of a medication. As there was no evidence of any legal requirement to obtain a blood sample, our client was found innocent of not providing a sample.
It's common for problems to arise when defending a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. If you want to talk about how I could defend the case against you, call our office free of charge now at 0800 4334678 to speak with a specialized lawyer or complete a enquiry form. The limit for driving drug addicts to cannabis is incredibly low. It is a crime to drive with more than 2 µg of cannabis per liter of blood in the body.
This limit was introduced as part of a zero-tolerance approach to driving with illegal drugs in the body. Unfortunately, unlike alcohol, there's no way to know how much cannabis will exceed the limit or how long after using cannabis a driver will fall below the legal limit. The legal limit for alcohol is significantly higher than that for cannabis and the government is currently considering it, due to the ability of cannabis to impair driving at lower levels compared to alcohol.