The consequences of drug driving can be extremely severe and, in some cases, life changing. In this article, we’re exploring how drug driving can impact your life – and the lives of others.
If you’re a fan of the hit TV show Police Interceptors, you’ll know that all too many Brits get behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs. Drug driving solicitors see this all too often, and it can have detrimental consequences.
In this article, we’re explaining how drug driving can impact your life – and the lives of others.
What is drug driving?
This is the term used by the police when a person drives a vehicle – including cars, vans, and bikes – after taking illegal drugs. If the police suspect that a driver has taken illegal drugs, they will test for this by using a swab which is wiped over the driver’s tongue and which will indicate the presence of illegal drugs. If the result is positive, this will usually be followed up by a second test at a police station.
The term ‘illegal drugs’ can cover a wide range of substances including:
Driving under the influence of these types of drugs can severely impair your judgement on the road, as well as causing a loss of concentration. This makes you much more likely to be involved in an accident or incident.
How can drug driving impact your life?
Driving after taking any type of illegal drug can have devastating consequences and, in this section, we’ll be looking at some of these more closely:
A penalty or fine
A driver caught under the influence of illegal drugs can be subject to fines of an unlimited amount, depending on the severity of the offence. While in some cases the fine will be minimal, it can also run into hundreds of pounds.
A driving ban
A person convicted of drug driving in the UK will often find themselves banned from driving for up to 12 months. If the individual relies on their vehicle for their work – or for their transport to work – this will mean that they will also lose their job which can have far reaching financial consequences.
Even if driving is not a necessary part of your job or your journey to work, your employer may, depending on the sector you work in, make the decision to terminate your employment following your conviction. As well as potentially losing your job, a conviction for drug driving can also harm your employment prospects in the future.
Similarly, if you are a college or university student, the institution may decide to suspend or expel you if you receive a conviction for drug driving.
A British driver convicted of drug driving can, in some instances, face up to six months in prison for a relatively minor offence. If, however, the drug driving has resulted in the injury or death of another person (known as vehicular manslaughter), the driver can face a possible life sentence.
Needless to say, this can have a catastrophic effect on the person’s life, including loss of employment, relationships, freedom, and the risk of mental and physical health issues. This can be particularly distressing if you have children who may face teasing and ridicule for having a parent in prison.
Injury to self
When a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are much more likely to have a serious accident. In fact, around 90% of road fatalities in the UK involve either alcohol or illegal drugs.
These are also factors in a huge number of serious injuries on UK roads, and a drug driver may cause severe injury to themselves. This can have a knock-on effect on many other parts of your life, including employment, relationships and independence. In severe cases, this may require you to receive full time care for the rest of your life.
Mental health issues
When a drug driver causes injury or death to another person after taking illegal drugs, it can have an extremely detrimental effect on their mental health. Feelings of guilt and regret can lead to anxiety and depression – particularly if the drug driver receives a custodial sentence and is separated from their loved ones.
Driving down drugs on the road
Taking illegal drugs can destroy your health, implode your finances, and cause reputational damage, including within your employment. As we’ve shown in this article, it can become even more deadly if you choose to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after taking them.
As with alcohol, illegal drugs impair a person’s ability to focus on their driving and to make sensible and rational decisions – all of which can lead to serious and often fatal accidents. For this reason, UK police are on a mission to find and charge drug drivers wherever possible and, as the clampdown continues, the consequences are becoming more severe – including jail time, even for first time offenders.
Should you be accused of – or arrested for – drug driving, it’s important that you get in touch with a specialist drug driving solicitor as soon as possible. They will be able to advise you on your possible next steps and help to minimise the damage caused.
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