Driving Whilst Unfit / Drug Driving

“Driving Whilst Unfit” or drug driving is an offence that results in similar penalties to the drink driving offence. However, whilst a Garda must obtain a specimen (breathalyser test) as proof that a driver is over the legal limit for driving, to charge of “Driving Whilst Unfit” is based on the Garda’s opinion on whether the person was capable of safe driving.

This allows for charges involving driving whilst under the influence of drugs, which includes both legal drugs that could impair driving and illegal drugs, to be brought. It also allows the arresting officer to charge a person they believe has been drink driving even if a specimen cannot be obtained for any reason.

A successful prosecution for the charge of driving whilst unfit requires the Garda can prove:

  • That the driver was unfit to drive
  • The reason for this was that the person was under the influence of drugs
  • They showed signs of impaired driving

The Garda may arrest you and will demand a urine sample or a blood or saliva sample.

A Successful Conviction could result in:

  • A large fine of up to €5,000
  • At least one year driving ban, even for 1st offence, and a 3-5 year ban, or more, if you’ve had previous drink driving convictions with the last 10 years, depending on how far over the limit you were
  • A prison sentence of up to six months
  • Community service, i.e. unpaid work
  • Community orders including curfew, supervision and rehabilitation

Contact us
If you get a summons or are charged with driving whilst unfit/ drug driving, our Criminal Law Specialist can provide legal representation for the legal charges that may be imposed upon you. For further information please call us in Cork on 021-4272882 or in Dublin on 01- 6401849 or email us at info@hoc.ie


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