Drug Driving

Drug driving
Legally reviewed by: Kevin Waddingham

Cartwright King’s dedicated Drug Driving Solicitors team up with scientific specialists to give you the best possible chance of being acquitted of drug driving charges. The laws on drug driving are still in their infancy, but our specialist Motoring Law Team offers you an unrivalled understanding of the law to help defend you.

For committed legal representation and specialist advice, get in touch with our leading Drug Driving Solicitors today.

How Cartwright King Can Defend You Against Drug Driving Charges

Our Motoring Law Team is meticulous, meaning that we don’t miss a thing in identifying factors that can help your case – including consultation with scientific specialists. You benefit from a solidly formed case that is professionally presented in Court to help clear you of drug driving charges or secure a reduced sentence.

We can help:

  • Advise on and collate evidence to support your case
  • Represent you in Court
  • Secure a reduced sentence

Unique Advocacy Services

We can represent you at every stage of your case. If your case ends up in Court, our unique advocacy services give you legal representation from the police station through to the Higher Courts. When you need us most, we will be there with the legal know-how and calm head to guide you through your case.

If you’re arrested on suspicion of drug driving, Cartwright King’s professional solicitors are available day and night to offer free legal advice at the police station. Our priority is to ensure that your position is protected and your defence is properly presented.

Benefit From a Free, Initial Telephone Conversation

Your defence against drug driving charges requires a lawyer you can trust, so it’s worth taking advantage of a free, initial discussion with our Motoring Law Team. You can use this time to explain your situation, get to know us and how we can help you with an efficient and effective plan of action.

For immediate assistance, contact us today for your free* initial discussion.

The discussion is completely informal and confidential, and is an opportunity for us to:

  • Get to know you 
  • Understand your situation
  • Agree how you want to proceed

*Please be aware that this is a ‘get to know you’ call and no advice will be given.

Why Choose Cartwright King for Drug Driving Defence?

Challenging a drug driving charge requires more than just a lawyer, you need a dedicated Motoring Offence Lawyer. Cartwright King’s Motoring Law Team focuses on nothing but driving offences, meaning that you benefit from specialist legal advice and representation that is specific to your case. 

We listen, we understand and we genuinely care about keeping you out of prison and retaining your driving licence. That’s why we’re committed to standing up for your rights, ensuring that you get the best defence possible and that your side of the story is heard and taken seriously.

Cartwright King can establish the best strategy for your defence, giving you peace of mind that your case is in good hands and that you’re well supported.

Working with a specialist Cartwright King solicitor gives you the assurance of having access to legal counsel who will advise you at every stage of your case

Our Drug Driving Solicitors are dedicated to defending your legal rights and ensuring that you’re treated fairly throughout your case. When you need us most, our Motoring Law Team rises to the challenge.

We’re a trusted, resourceful Legal 500 top tier law firm with specialist solicitors that are calm under pressure, giving you defence counsel that you can count on.

We're here for you.

Frequently asked questions.

What is drug driving?

Drug driving is broken down into two categories:

  1. Driving whilst unfit through drugs.
  2. Driving with excess drugs.

If you face conviction for driving whilst unfit through drugs, the onus is on the prosecution to prove that your driving ability was affected because drugs were in your system.
The prosecution will use police reports to build a case against you, including blood tests conducted at a police station. However, having drugs in your system does not prove your guilt.

If you face conviction for excessive drug levels, under laws introduced in 2015, the prosecution simply has to prove that you were the person driving and that you recorded a drug level in your system that was higher than the legal limit set by the government.

What drugs are prohibited and what are the legal limits?

Many motorists are caught out by drug driving laws because even some drugs prescribed by a doctor are prohibited while driving. 

These include:

‘Illegal’ drugs (‘accidental exposure’ – zero tolerance approach)    Threshold limit in blood
Benzoylecgonine 50µg/L
Cocaine  10µg/L
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) 2µg/L
Ketamine 20µg/L
Lysergic acid diethylamide   1µg/L
Methylamphetamine 10µg/L
MDMA   10µg/L
6-monoacetylmorphine (heroin) 5µg/L


‘Illegal’ drugs (‘accidental exposure’ – zero tolerance approach)    Threshold limit in blood
Clonazepam 50µg/L
Diazepam 550µg/L
Flunitrazepam 300µg/L
Lorazepam 100µg/L
Methadone 500µg/
Morphine 80µg/L
Oxazepam 300µg/L
Temazepam 1,000µg/L

What punishment could I face for drug driving ?

Punishment for a drug driving offence is determined by the category you fall into. If you are convicted of driving whilst unfit through drugs, the following sentences could be handed down:

Nature of offence Starting point Punishment range Driving disqualification
Moderate impairment and no aggravating factors B and C fine B and C fine 12-16 months
Moderate impairment and one or more aggravating factors B and C fine B and 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


If you are convicted of driving with excess drugs, there is no set sentencing system, which means that your punishment is solely at the discretion of the Court. If you are found guilty, the minimum sentence you can expect to receive includes:

  • An unlimited fine
  • A community order
  • A six-month prison

An automatic 12-month ban from driving will also be applied.

Can I appeal a drug driving conviction/sentence?

Yes. You can appeal either a conviction or sentence in the Crown Court and you can request that the Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court suspend your disqualification from driving pending the outcome of your appeal.

What are the risks of appealing?

You have the right to lodge an appeal; however we would always advise reviewing your case before doing so. While the Court has the authority to reduce your sentence, they can also increase your original sentence and make you pay the prosecution costs if they feel that the appeal should not have been brought. 

We would analyse your case and advise on the best course of action.

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