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Driving while unfit through drugs, Glasgow, 12 January 2018, Not Guilty

Driving while unfit through drugs is an offence under section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The Crown must prove (a) that the accused drove on a road or other public place; (b) was unfit to drive and (c) that unfitness was due to drugs. There is no requirement that the drugs be controlled (i.e. illegal drugs). So, for example, someone who takes perfectly legal sleeping tablets and then drives while falling asleep would be as guilty of the offence as someone high on heroin.

In this case, it was alleged that our client was under the influence of cocaine. The Crown had strong evidence of cocaine use. They had the opinion of a doctor that our client was unfit to drive and they were able to link this unfitness to the drug in his system. The police also saw our client driving his car.

So, how was the Not Guilty verdict achieved?

Quite simply the police only saw our client drive on private land. They claimed otherwise but in light of all the evidence this could not be established beyond reasonable doubt. Driving alone is not enough for an offence of driving while unfit through drugs  – that driving must be on a road or other public place. The onus for proving this lies with the Crown.

This case was defended by Graham Walker on 12 January 2018 at Glasgow Sheriff Court.