Criminal Law: Driving under the influence of illegal drugs in England and Wales

Plans to make it easier to prosecute people who drive under the influence of illegal drugs in England and Wales have been unveiled by the Government.

The current plans are out for consultation at this time, and it remains to be seen what will be implemented.  However, the proposals would introduce a new offence of driving with a drug in the body above a certain limit, and ministers have stated that this would remove the difficulty of proving that a driver was impaired by drugs.

It proposes including 8 drugs under a zero-tolerance approach.  These are cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine, benzoylecgonine (primary metabolite of cocaine), methamphetamine, LSD and 6-monoacetylmorphine (heroin and diamorphine) for which allowable limits would be set very low.

The proposals include higher limits for 8 other controlled drugs which have medical uses.  These are clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, methadone, morphine, oxazepam and temazepam.

Police would be able to carry out up to 3 preliminary saliva tests and, if positive, require a blood sample to be taken.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, please contact a member of our Criminal Defence team at or on 01494 450 171.