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If you are found guilty of the offence, you will be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of 12 months and can receive an unlimited fine, a community order or up to 6 months imprisonment.

This offence is committed if you drive or attempt to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, or are in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, and there is a specified controlled drug in your system which exceeds the specified limit.

There are 17 specified drugs which include both illegal drugs and some prescribed drugs.


‘Illegal’ drugs (‘accidental exposure’ – zero tolerance approach) Threshold limit in microgrammes per litre of blood (µg/L)
Benzoylecgonine (Metabolised) Cocaine 50µg/L
Cocaine 10µg/L
Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Cannabis) 2µg/L
Ketamine 20µg/L
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) 1µg/L
Methylamphetamine (Crystal Meth) 10µg/L
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) 10µg/L
6-monoacetylmorphine (Heroin) 5µg/L


‘Medicinal’ drugs (risk based approach) Threshold limit in blood
Clonazepam 50µg/L
Diazepam 550µg/L
Flunitrazepam 300µg/L
Lorazepam 100µg/L
Methadone 500µg/L
Morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, for example Codeine, Tramadol or Fentanyl 80µg/L
Oxazepam 300µg/L
Temazepam 1,000µg/L


Separate approach (to balance its risk) Threshold limit in blood
Amphetamine for example Dexamphetamine or Selegiline 250µg/L


This area of law is very complicated.  There may be a defence if the medication was taken as prescribed, where your drink was laced with drugs, you consumed the drugs after driving or, in relation to an in charge offence, had no intent to drive whilst over the specified limit.

How we can help

Our criminal defence solicitors Michael Gupwell, Partner, and Maxine Twynam have specialised in criminal law for over 30 years between them and can offer a bespoke, personal and proactive service to clients.   They have extensive experience in defending clients accused of such offences at court.

There maybe a number of ways that we can assist you with this offence – call our Bristol office on 0117 929 2811.

Our Guides on Driving and Road Offences are available here.

Go back to our main Driving and Road Offences page here.

"Michael Gupwell was exceptionally knowledgeable and professional throughout the case. I can only thank you all for the effort you put into the case and undoubtedly would not hesitate to recommend Michael and your practice to others."

"I contacted Wards solicitors after I was informed I was being charged with a criminal offence that I did not commit. I was put in touch with Maxine, a Criminal Defence specialist. Maxine was professional and kind, she advised me and supported me through every step of the process from our initial meeting, to the eventual trail. Nothing was too much trouble for Maxine and the team at Wards, they were always on hand to answer questions. I will be forever grateful to everyone involved for their professional yet compassionate approach to my case and for securing the result that has given me my life back, thank you all."