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Comparative Analysis of Offences

Introduction

The Road Traffic Act 1998 has introduced a broader level of offence to cover offences of driving or attempting to drive a vehicle on the road when a person is not fit to do so or when that person has excess alcohol or specified controlled drug in his body. This essay will, thus, compare the offence of driving while unfit through and that of driving with excess alcohol or drugs under Section 4(1)(a) and under Sections 5(1)(a) and 5A(1)(a) respectively.

While unfit and with excess

Section 4(1)(a) provides the offence of driving when under the influence of drink or drugs. It provides that if a person is driving or attempting to a vehicle on a road or a public place, but is unfit to do so through drink or drugs, they are guilty of an offence. While this section focuses on whether or not the person is unfit to drive under the influence of drink or drugs, Section 5(1)(a) and 5A(1)(a) driving with excess alcohol or controlled drug in the body. Whatsapp

5(1)(a) provides that a person is guilty of an offence when drives or attempts to drive a vehicle on a road or other public place after they consume alcohol and the proportion of the alcohol in their breath, blood or urine has exceeded the prescribed limit. It is also an offence under Section 5A(1)(a) if they drive or attempt to drive with a specified controlled drug in their blood or urine in proportion exceeding specified limit for that drug. Regulation 2 of the Drug Driving (Specified Limits)(England and Wales) Regulations 2014 defines the specified limits for 17 drugs groups.

The basic difference between the offence under Section 4 and Section 5 including Section 5A is that Section 4 offence applies when the level of the or alcohol drug is within the specified, but there is sufficient evidence of impairment and Section 5 offence applies when the level of alcohol or drug is beyond the specified limit (The Crown Prosecution Service, 2019

In regard to Section 4 offence, the police is responsible to gather evidence of impairment in order to support investigation of the offence. The reason is that majority of specified drugs and other drugs and intoxicants, apart from cannabis and cocaine, may not be tested for at the roadside (The Crown Prosecution Service, 2019). In regard to Section 5A, it imposes a strict liability offence where there would be no necessity to prove impairment (The Crown Prosecution Service, 2019).

Section 4 offence does not involve the breathalyser and the prosecutor relies on other evidence to show that a person in under the influence of a drink or drugs (Gordon, et al., 1998, p. 40). Section 5 offence of excess limit must be evidenced by a certificate of analysis or a printout from an approved breath testing device (Gordon, et al., 1998, p. 40).

The police may take a preliminary test in case the defendant has committed the offence or they are under the influence of drinks and drugs. Breathalyser test, under Section 6A, is required in case the defendant is drunk. In case they are under the influence of drugs, they will be required to take a preliminary impairment test, under Section 6B. Section 6C may require administering the defendant a preliminary drug test by using their sample of sweat or saliva (Cunningham, 2017).

A field impairment testing may be required to determine whether or not a person has drink or drugs in their system which renders them unfit to drive. This is relevant to Section 4 offence. Thus, a person not guilty under Section 5A may be guilty under Section 4 if any medication has rendered them unfit to drive (Suffolk Constabulary , 2019).

For Section 5 offence, the prosecution must specify whether or not excess alcohol was in breath, blood or urine when the defendant was driving or attempting to drive (Cunningham, 2017). In case of Section 4 offence, it is used when the defendant is suspected of being over the stipulated limit, but they have failed to submit to be tested (Cunningham, 2017). Thus, the insufficient evidence to prosecute the defendant under Section 5 gives rise to the prosecution under Section 4. Where the defendant has not been drinking, but is impaired through consumption of some drug, Section 4 prosecution will take place. The offence must be evidenced to demonstrate the impairment of ability to drive and impairment arising from drinks or drugs (Cunningham, 2017).

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Conclusion

The Road Traffic Act 1998 has categorised two types of offences by person under the influence of drinks or drugs. The first category falling under Section 4 comprises those drivers who are impaired due to the use of alcohol or drugs. The second category, under Section 5 and Section 5A, comprises those who have alcohol or drugs in excess of the prescribed limits.

Works Cited

The Crown Prosecution Service, 2019. Road Traffic - Drink and Drug Driving. [Online] Available at: https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/road-traffic-drink-and-drug-driving [Accessed 15 03 2021].

Gordon, W., Cuddy, P. & Wesson, A., 1998. Introduction to Road Traffic Offences. s.l.:Waterside Press.

Cunningham, S., 2017. Driving Offences Law, Policy and Practice. s.l.:Taylor & Francis. Suffolk Constabulary , 2019. DRINK AND DRUG DRIVING. [Online] Available at: https://www.suffolk.police.uk/sites/suffolk/files/drinkdrugsdriving_0.pdf [Accessed 15 03 2021].

Bibliography

Choo, A., 2012. Evidence. s.l.: OUP Oxford.

Cunningham, S., 2017. Driving Offences Law, Policy and Practice. s.l.:Taylor & Francis.

Suffolk Constabulary , 2019. DRINK AND DRUG DRIVING. [Online]

Available at: https://www.suffolk.police.uk/sites/suffolk/files/drinkdrugsdriving_0.pdf [Accessed 15 03 2021].

Gordon, W., Cuddy, P. & Wesson, A., 1998. Introduction to Road Traffic Offences. s.l.:Waterside Press.

Johnston, A., David Holt, Susannah Davies, 2019. Forensic Toxicology: Drug Use and Misuse. s.l.: Royal Society of Chemistry

Michael Lyon Solicitors Ltd. Drink / Drug Driving. Online] Available at: https://www.theroadtrafficlawyer.com/offences/drink-drug-driving [Accessed 15 03 2021]. Motor Lawyers. Driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol or while unfit through drink or drugs. [Online] Available at:

https://www.ias.org.uk/uploads/pdf/Drink%20driving%20docs/drug_drink_driving.pdf [Accessed 15 03 2021].

The Crown Prosecution Service, 2019. Road Traffic - Drink and Drug Driving. [Online] Available at: https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/road-traffic-drink-and-drug-driving [Accessed 15 03 2021].

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