Q&As

In respect of an offence contrary to section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (being in charge of a vehicle while above the prescribed drug limit), is it incumbent to obtain a medical report showing when the drug might have left the defendant’s system?

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Published on LexisPSL on 14/10/2019

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  • In respect of an offence contrary to section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (being in charge of a vehicle while above the prescribed drug limit), is it incumbent to obtain a medical report showing when the drug might have left the defendant’s system?

In respect of an offence contrary to section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (being in charge of a vehicle while above the prescribed drug limit), is it incumbent to obtain a medical report showing when the drug might have left the defendant’s system?

Section 5A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988) is a summary offence that came into force in March 2015 and is a strict liability offence avoiding the need to prove impairment.

For this offence, prosecution are required only to prove that the level of drugs in the defendant’s body exceeded the specified limit.

A controlled drug is one that is listed in Part I of Schedule 2 to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (MDA 1971). There is a list of 17 controlled drugs for the purposes of RTA 1988, s 5A which are captured by this offence, nine are legal and eight associated with medical use and can be legally prescribed.

The question whether it is incumbent to obtain a medical report showing when drug might have left the defendants system is determined by reference to RTA 1988, s 5A.

RTA 1988, s 5A(1)(b) and RTA 1988, s 5A(2) do not dictate that a report showing when the drug leaves the body is required. Rather, it requires the prosecution to prove that there must be evidence that the

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