A guide to the various motoring offences we come across.

Our Solicitors in Wrexham can assist you in all motoring hearings.


Excess alcohol (drink driving)

The current limit for alcohol when driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle is 36mg of alcohol in 100mg of breath and 81ml of alcohol in 100ml of blood.

Roadside breath tests usually indicate whether a person is above or under the legal limit initially. If they are found to be over the limit this can lead to arrest, detention at the Police Station and more formal testing (including blood).

If the person remains over the limit they face being charged with an offence and being placed on bail to attend the Magistrates Court.

Our solicitors in Wrexham and Mold can assist you both at the police station stage and in court.

In court we can discuss any potential defences or special mitigation you may have and put it forward on your behalf.

Sentencing for excess alcohol matters (either driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle) tend to rely upon the actual reading given at the Police Station (be it breath or blood) and our solicitors will advise you on the likely sentences which tie into your specific circumstances.

Driving with excess alcohol carries with it a Mandatory disqualification from driving, which again, is linked to the specific circumstances. The minimum disqualification is one of 12 months.

 

Unfit to drive through drugs

Like driving with excess alcohol, driving whilst unfit through drugs carries a mandatory disqualification from driving for a minimum of 12 months.

Our Solicitors in Wrexham and Mold can advise you at the police station and in court as to any potential defences which you may raise. Driving whilst unfit through drugs is usually an assessment made by the police surgeon upon examination at the police station and can be challenged by other expert analysis.

Our solicitors can also assist you in court by mitigating on your behalf to obtain the best result for you, should you admit this offence.

 

Driving with Excess Drugs

From 2nd March 2015, users of illegal drugs (and some prescription drugs) can now be prosecuted if they drive with excessive levels of a relevant substance in their system without the need for the Prosecution to prove any level of impairment to driving.

This is important as Drugs take longer to leave you system and the limits chosen by Parliament are intentionally very low. You can find yourself in the situation whereby you say, enjoy the odd cannabis experience, being stopped and testing positive and facing a 12 month disqualification from driving.

 

The Limits

Whilst the limits for prescription medication have been set relatively high, the limits for illegal substances have been set extremely low. The reason behind this is, remember these drugs are illegal anyway, so to law-maker's mind, you shouldn't be taking them at all.

The specified limits "per litre of blood" for all substances to be included in the new offence are as follows:

· Benzoylecgonine (a chemical created when your body breaks down cocaine) 50

· Clonazepam 50

· Cocaine 10

· Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis) 2

· Diazepam 550

· Flunitrazepam 300

· Ketamine 20

· Lorazepam 100

· Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) 1

· Methadone 500

· Methylamphetamine 10

· Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)10

· 6-Monoacetylmorphine (Heroin) 5

· Morphine 80

· Oxazepam 300

· Temazepam 1000

 

The amount of substance required to reach the above limits would depend on a number of external factors, including a person's height, weight, and metabolic rate. As with drink driving, one person's body may absorb a drug differently to another person's body. We are finding through experience that a few 'drags' of a Cannabis joint can take people over the prescribed limit.

It is also important to remember that drugs typically remain in a person's system much longer than alcohol. Anyone who has taken an illegal substance should really carefully consider driving, even if they feel the effects of the drug have worn off it quite often will remain in your system.

The length of time which is required for a drug to leave a person's system varies considerably in accordance with the type and amount of the drug taken, how it has been taken, the individual characteristics of the person who has taken it, and whether the drug has been mixed with any other substance, such as alcohol. Again, through experience we are finding people are still being detected over 24 hours after the ingestion of certain drugs.

The government has avoided providing guidance about the typical detection times for the drugs which are covered by the new drug driving offence. Their view, as said above, remain that these drugs are illegal so you should not be taking them at all.

Whilst bodily absorption rates differ from person to person, it is possible to suggest rough timelines for how long drugs typically remain detectable in a person's system.

Of the illegal drugs covered by the offence, the typical number of days that a drug will remain in a person's system is as follows:

· Cannabis: 2 - 3 days for one off use (potentially up to two months for chronic users)

· Cocaine : 12 hours - 3 days

· MDMA: 1 - 4 days

· Heroin: 2 - 5 days

· Ketamine: 2 - 4 days

· LSD: 1 - 3 days

· Crystal Meth: 1 - 4 days

 

The Roadside Test

Currently, the only drugs which are capable of detection at the roadside are Cocaine and Cannabis. These substances can be picked up on a mobile drugalizer device which works by analysing saliva.

The results appear within around 8 minutes.

A positive result at the roadside will lead to a person being taken to a police station and required to provide an evidential blood sample. It will be the police station blood sample which motorists will be prosecuted on the basis of rather than the initial indication provided by the roadside device.

Police still have the option of conducting a field impairment test.

Failing a field impalement test will result in a motorist being taken to the police station and asked to provide a blood sample. Whilst under these circumstances the police will probably arrest the person for the traditional offence of driving whilst unfit through drugs, the presence of a relevant drug in a person's system above the specified limit will most likely result in the motorist being charged and prosecuted for the new law of driving with a relevant drug over the specified limit in their system. This is because it is deemed easier to secure a conviction under the new offence since it is not necessary for the Prosecution to find a causal link between the presence of a substance and any impairment on driving.

 

Prescription Drugs

Those who take any of the prescription medications covered by the offence should speak to their GP or pharmacist if they are concerned about the level of drug which they have been prescribed.

The limits for legal drugs have been set within or above normal therapeutic doses; therefore most patients need not be concerned.

Those who are taking higher than usual doses would have a medical defence available to them if the medication has been personally prescribed to them, they have taken the medication in accordance with prescribing instructions, and they have adhered to any restrictions concerning the length of time that they are required to refrain from driving after taking their medication (Basically following medical advice).

We would advise those taking higher than average doses of relevant medicines carry with them evidence of the prescribing instructions given to them by their health care professional. This will speed up investigations into their medical defence.

Users of prescription medication should also consult their GP if they are considering taking over-the-counter medication to supplement their prescription to find out whether the additional medicine could put them over the limit.

 

Failing to provide a specimen of breath/blood

This offence also carries a mandatory disqualification from driving for a minimum of 12 months.

When a person is in the police station and fails to give a sample of breath or blood this can make matters more serious in terms of sentencing. Where there is deliberate refusal and obvious evidence of intoxication the driver can face a period in prison for this offence.

It is critical then, that if you are charged with this offence, you contact our Solicitors in Wrexham as soon as possible.

 

Careless driving & dangerous driving

Our solicitors can also assist you in preparing and conducting trials for careless or dangerous driving.

Whereas careless driving tends to be dealt with by way of a fine and penalty points, dangerous driving is a much more serious charge.

Careless driving is simply not driving to the standard of the reasonable and careful driver. This term 'reasonable and careful' when adapted to the circumstances often requires detailed discussion and advice as to whether the driving involved falls below this standard.

Our Solicitors in Wrexham and Mold will use their expertise and experience in dealing with these matters to advise you fully on whether to contest any charges for this offence.

Dangerous Driving, is driving which falls way below the standard of the reasonable and careful driver. This offence can be serious and there is the threat of prison if in a public area. We would advise that you contact our Solicitors in Wrexham as soon as possible if you are charged with this offence.

 

Disqualified driving

Driving whilst you are disqualified is in effect ignoring a court order and is dealt with very severely because of this. If you are charged with this offence, we would advise that you contact our solicitors in Wrexham as soon as possible.

 

Fail to stop/report an accident

If you are involved in a road traffic collision of any kind, you have a duty to stop and exchange details or report the incident to the Police. This is to ensure that people do not shy away from their responsibilities if damage is caused in these collisions.

You can actually face a fine and penalty points on your licence (usually 6pp) if you do not stop or report an accident.

If serious damage was caused or there is evidence of bad driving, this offence actually carries a threat of prison. For this reason alone we advise that people contact our Solicitors in Wrexham for all cases of failing to stop/report.

 

Driving without Insurance/Driving without a licence/Speeding

Our Solicitors in Wrexham can assist you in these matters by preparing your case for trial when we advise you have a defence to the charge, or in providing the court with detailed mitigation on your behalf to reduce the potential penalty.

 

Taxi licencing

We have an in-house expert in taxi licencing in our offices in Wrexham, who can assist in all matters ranging from Operator licence issues to driver investigations or appeals. Please contact our Solicitors in Wrexham if you have a case on this nature you wish to discuss.