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Drug driving conviction codes

View profile for Paul Loughlin
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Drug driving is a serious offence and the police, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), and other organisations, use what is known as endorsement codes to classify offences. All the codes explained here on this page are related to drug driving offences.

In March and April 2015, new, tougher legislation came into force which includes legal driving limits for prescription drugs as well as illegal drugs. In this piece of legislation, eight prescription drugs and eight illicit drugs were added to the new regulations. In regard to illegal drugs, this outlined a zero-tolerance approach to 'accidental exposure' to the following:

  • Benzoylecgonine
  • Cocaine
  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (cannabis)
  • Ketamine
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide
  • Methylamphetamine
  • Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
  • 6-monoacetylmorphine (heroin)

For more information about this change in legislation and for a full list of drugs and the threshold limits, visit the UK government website.

DG10 conviction

A DG10 conviction is when a person has been driving or attempting to drive with a drug level above the specified minimum. This would cover both legal (prescription) and illegal drugs that are set out in the current legislation. If you are convicted of a DG10 offence, then it will stay on your driving record for 11 years after the conviction. You will receive a minimum of a one-year driving ban alongside either a fine, a community order or up to six months in prison.

If convicted of a DG10 offence, you will also have a criminal record, even if you are not sent to prison. In England and Wales, drug driving is an imprisonable offence; if you commit an imprisonable offence then you will have a criminal record.

DG60 conviction

DG60 is one of the most serious of the drug drive convictions. DG60 relates to causing death by dangerous driving with a drug level over the limit. It is likely that if you are found guilty of causing death due to dangerous driving while under the influence of drugs, that you will receive a prison sentence. The maximum prison sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years. You will also have your driving licence disqualified for at least one year and you may be given an unlimited fine, a community order or a prison sentence.  

If you need legal representation due to being accused of causing death by dangerous driving, then contact our expert solicitors today. For more information on defending against dangerous driving allegations, click here.

DR80 conviction

A DR80 relates to driving or attempting to drive when unfit, through drugs. This means that you have been caught driving, or attempting to drive, when under the influence of drugs but are not strictly over the legal limit. The law can still determine that you are not fit or safe to drive, due to the drugs you have taken, even if your levels are below the legal limit. If you are convicted of a DR80 then it will stay on your licence for 11. Alongside a ban the court will impose either an unlimited fine, a community order or a prison sentence that could be as long as 6 months.

DG40 conviction

A DG40 is the endorsement code used for when you are in charge of a vehicle while your drug level is above the specified limit. The difference between a DG10 and a DG40 is that a DR40 conviction means you are in charge of a vehicle, but not driving it, while a DG10 is when you are driving or attempting to drive with your drug levels higher than is legal. This means that you don't have to be driving the vehicle to be convicted of a DG40, you only have to be inside it, with your keys. This means that if you are found in your vehicle for whatever reason, for example, sleeping, and when tested by police your drug levels are higher than is legal, you can still be convicted of a drug driving offence under this code. If you are convicted of a DG40, then it will stay on your licence for four years from the date of conviction, if a disqualification is imposed, or four years from the date of the offence, if you do not receive a driving ban. If you do not receive a ban then the court will impose 10 penalty points on your licence.

DR90 conviction

A DR90 relates to the offence of being in charge of a vehicle while unfit, through drugs. This means you are in charge of a car, which is classed as being inside your car with the keys, but not driving, and have been found unfit to drive due to your drug usage; even if you are not over the legal limit, you can still face a conviction.

A DR90 conviction has the same punishments and penalties as a DG40. If convicted, you can expect to have a minimum penalty of 10 points on your licence, and they will stay for there at least four years from the date of the conviction. If the court deem the offence more serious then they will impose a driving ban instead of penalty points. You will also receive either a fine, community order or prison sentence alongside the points or ban.

Medicinal and prescription drugs

Limits on drug use and driving do not relate solely to illegal drugs, they exist for prescription medication too. If you have a blood reading above the limit you could be charged with drug driving. If convicted, the minimum disqualification period is 12 months. If you have been prescribed medication by a doctor or medical professional, it may be possible to put forward a medical defence. There may also be instances where a drug may stay longer in a person’s urine and blood than normal, for example if a person has kidney disease or an infection, as well as other factors. If you have been accused of drug driving after taking the following drugs, call us to see how we can help with your defence:

  • Medicinal drugs
  • Clonazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Lorazepam
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Oxazepam
  • Temazepam
  • Amphetamine

Drug driving limit

The threshold limits of the drugs, both illegal and legal (prescription), that have been highlighted by the government, vary for each and every substance. The government also states that they cannot provide any guidance on the dosage level that would set a person over the limit; as, in a similar way to alcohol, how each individual person reacts to a drug can vary, due to a number of factors that include height, gender, weight and other characteristics.

Drug driving solicitors

Drug driving is a serious office and you will need expert legal advice right from the start, if accused. At Stephensons, we are specialists in helping to defend drug driving cases and will always give you honest, straightforward advice for your specific situation. For advice and assistance in regard to drug driving allegations, contact us today on 0161 696 6229 alternatively, complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you directly.