McHale & Co. Solicitors Blog

Police given more powers to prosecute drink/drug drivers

The innocuously named "Deregulation Bill" has travelled the usual legislative path from the House of Commons to the House of Lords and back again. Both houses have now agreed its content and is awaiting Royal Assent by the Queen.

The Bill covers areas from company insolvency to rights of way. Lurking at Schedule 11, Part 1 of the Bill is a fundamental change to the way the police collects evidence in order to prosecute drink-drivers. We all know the first test that the police conduct is by asking the suspected driver to blow into a breathalyser twice by the roadside. If the breathalyser records 35 micrograms of alcohol or more, in 100 millilitres of breath, then the driver will be prosecuted for drink-driving and faces an automatic 12 month ban.

If the breathalyser records 50 micrograms or less then, currently, the driver has the right to request a re-test by way of a blood or urine sample which is conducted at the local police station. This, traditionally, has been perceived as an opportunity to buy the driver more time to sober up, before giving samples for the second test.

However, the Deregulation Bill will remove the right to a re-test, meaning that the police will be able to rely upon the lowest recording of the two breathalyser tests. This will remove the second opportunity for drivers to sober up.

From 2 March 2015, the law regarding drug-driving changed to set specific limits on levels of recreational and prescription drugs, much akin to the drink-driving limits. The limits are very low, which will make it easier for the police to support a conviction.

The only approved test to measure drugs in the system is a blood test. However, the government has approved a device which tests whether or not the driver has taken cocaine or cannabis. If positive, the police will proceed to the blood test. The first prosecutions are occurring, so it will be interesting to see how the testing, law, enforcement and prosecution in this area develops.

McHale & Co are specialist solicitors in all Road Traffic Offences, including speeding, driving without insurance, failure to provide information and drink/drug driving. If you have been contacted by the police about any of these, or other offences, please contact us for a free consultation on 0161 928 3848.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

(Your email will not be publicly displayed.)