Drug driving blood test results – how long do you have to wait?
Drug driving is a relatively new offence in the UK, but it is a serious one. One of the keys to most cases is the blood test administered at the police station. But when it comes to drug driving blood test results, how long do you need to wait?
In short, you could be awaiting blood results for drug driving for a long time – between six and eight weeks is common. Here is everything you need to know about the process involved:
What Constitutes Drug Driving?
As of 2015, drug driving became an offence in the UK. This means it is now against the law to drive, attempt to drive, or be found in charge of a motor vehicle if you are:
- Over the limit – if you have over set limits of any of 17 specified drugs in your system.
- Operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs – even if you aren’t technically over the limit, the police may argue your ability to operate a vehicle was impaired after a roadside test.
- Taking not just illegal drugs – of the 17 prescribed substances, around half are prescription and over-the-counter medications.
What Is The Sentence For Drug Driving?
The advisory sentencing guidelines on drug driving suggest that a guilty verdict could see you:
- Banned from driving – for a period not less than 12 months.
- Fined – roughly one-and-a-half times your weekly income, practically limited to a maximum of £5000 at a Magistrates’ Court.
- Potentially imprisoned – for up to six months if you have aggravating factors affecting your case. For example, perhaps you have a history of similar offences.
A drug driving charge will also appear on your criminal record for a period of 11 years. This may make it harder to apply for jobs and much more besides.
How Do The Police Test You For Drug Driving?
The police may test you to see if you are operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs in several different ways:
- Field impairment assessment – this slightly older method of testing (walk in a straight line, touch your nose etc.) is still in use despite its many obvious drawbacks for reliability.
- Roadside drug test kit – police are equipped with a simple test kit that lets them screen your saliva for certain illicit substances such as cannabis and cocaine. It takes around 10 minutes for this test to return a result, but this is an indication not a confirmation of guilt.
- Police station tests – if you fail or test positive at either of the steps above, the police may arrest you and take you to the police station. Only then can they then demand a blood sample from you (the other alternative is if a doctor examines you while in custody).
Do be aware that refusing to provide a blood sample can count as a separate offence. Your best approach if you are arrested for drug driving is to comply with police requests but get specialist legal advice as soon as possible.
Solicitors Near Me can find you an approachable and helpful specialist drug driving lawyer for FREE and with no obligation. Simply give us a quick call on 0845 1391399 or complete a Free Online Enquiry.
When Can The Police Request A Blood Sample From Me?
The police cannot currently go around randomly requesting blood samples from people. The police can only require a blood sample from you:
- After they believe you have failed a roadside impairment test
- After a roadside test swab of your saliva produces a positive result
- After a medical professional has advised them that you may be under the influence of drugs while you are in custody
Drug Driving Test – How Long Does It Take To Get Results?
The blood taken from you at the police station will need to be sent away to a lab for analysis. This process can take anywhere between six to eight weeks, though it’s not impossible for it to be sooner – or much longer.
How Long Do The Police Have To Charge You For Drug Driving?
After the results of your drug driving blood test come back, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service have up to six months to decide whether to charge you with an offence.
This can lead to a stressful waiting period. As always, the way to make sure you get the best possible outcome from any drug driving charge is to find a lawyer who specialises in motoring offences as soon as possible.
This kind of lawyer can help you with everything from what to say at the police station to how to plead and the best way to defend yourself should the worst happen.