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Drug Driving Procedure

If, like thousands of other road users in the UK today, you are unaware of the laws surrounding the UK’s drug driving limits, legal thresholds and the zero tolerance approach to drug driving related offences. Then take a minute to imagine being pulled over by a police officer, being asked to perform a FIT test (Field Impairment Test) or other roadside screening, resulting in your arrest due to the test returning a positive.

Would you know if the correct drug driving procedure had been followed? Or why you were over the legal threshold?

The following information is for guidance purposes only. If you have been stopped at the roadside, arrested or charged. Contact one of our Specialist Drug Driving Solicitors immediately on 0161 839 5117 (North) for our Manchester or 0207 903 5144 (South) for our London office.

Correct Police Drug Driving Procedure

If you are pulled over the officer in question cannot randomly request a preliminary test without reasonable suspicion or belief, which must be established before an initial test can be made.

Preliminary drug driving test

Once you have been stopped and reasonable suspicion has been established a preliminary test will be carried out. The test no longer relies solely on the FIT test (Fitness Impairment Test), but instead roadside screening devices that test for the presence of controlled drugs within your system.

When can an officer request a preliminary drug driving test?

If the officer in question has a reason to suspect that:

  • You are driving, attempting to drive or you are in charge of a vehicle in a public place with drugs in your system above the legal limit


If an accident occurs due to the presence of a vehicle on a road or other public place and the officer believes that you:

  • You were driving, attempting to drive or in charge of a vehicle at the time of the accident with illegal drugs in your system.

What type of preliminary test should I expect if stopped?

Currently, there are three types of preliminary test that you may be required to take:

  • breath test (alcohol)
  • drug test (drug detection)
  • impairment test (drug or alcohol detection)

What is a Preliminary Impairment Test

A test of any type designed to indicate if you are unfit to drive, if unfit, whether your impairment is the cause of either alcohol or drugs.

Can I be arrested?

Police have the power to arrest you without a warrant if they have reasonable suspicion to suspect you have committed a drug driving offence

Will I be expected to provide a specimen?

Unlike the preliminary tests which are only used as an indication of whether or not you have committed an offence, evidential specimens blood or urine will be retained and used as evidence in any court proceedings.

For information or refusing to provide a specimen or sample of breath, please follow the ‘read more’ button below.

Failure to Provide a Specimen…

To get in contact with a member of our team please give us a call.

For Manchester & The North call – 0161 839 5117

For London & The South call – 0207 903 5144