Suspension of driving license due to drugs: what are the penalties for drugged driving??

Anyone who gets behind the wheel should be sober. In the interest of his own safety and that of others. So he should not be under the influence of drugs. But even if everything goes just fine in traffic: Drinking or intoxicated drivers face serious consequences for their driver's license and driving privileges.


1. Difference between suspension of driving license and driving ban

It does not matter whether a driver is "only" banned from driving or whether his driver's license is revoked altogether: From now on, he must leave his vehicle at home. However, the withdrawal of the driver's license has much more serious consequences.

A driving ban is only ever imposed for a precisely defined period of time. This is between one and three months. During this period, the driver's license is also confiscated It must be handed over to the competent authority. However, it does not become invalid thereby. Rather, the driver gets it back as soon as the driving ban ends. He is allowed to drive again from then on.

Different when driver's license and driving license are revoked. To the understanding: The driving license is the official document, which proves the issued driving license. If both are revoked, the driver's license is henceforth no longer valid. The invalidity may be noted on the document or it may be permanently withdrawn. At the same time, a ban period of at least six months is imposed. No new driver's license may be issued during these. After expiry of the time limit, the driver's license must then be applied for and issued again. As a rule, a new driving test does not have to be taken. However, proof may be required that the reasons for the original driving license revocation no longer exist. The driving license authority can impose conditions in this regard. It may, for example, require a medical psychological examination (MPU) or medical proof of abstinence.

2. Not all drugs are the same

But what kind of drug use entails what consequences for the driver's license? In the case of alcohol, clear limits have been set by the legislator for this purpose. There are no such rights for other intoxicating substances. A distinction must be made between them according to the type of drug and the habits of use. In addition, the extent to which the driving ability is impaired by drugs must be assessed in each individual case. Therefore, not only the consumption must be proven. In most cases, it must also be checked whether driving errors or impaired driving occurred as a result of taking drugs.

3. Drinking and driving

So-called per mille limits have been set by law for drinking and driving. These arise from the Road Traffic Act (StVG) and the catalogue of fines. Read more about this in this article.

Under criminal law, a distinction is made between relative (0.3 to 1.1 per mille of alcohol in the blood) and absolute driving incapacity (from 1.1 per mille): Anyone who is absolutely unfit to drive must expect a conviction for drunk driving. If people or things of significant value are endangered also because of endangering the criminal traffic (§ 315c StGB). Drivers who have between 0.3 and 1.1 per mille of alcohol in their blood must be added to their driving record. This can z.B. driving "serpentine lines. In the event of a conviction for one of these offences, the driver's license is usually also revoked. Irrespective of the question of driving ability, the following applies: Anyone caught with at least 0.5 per mille of blood alcohol (BAC) commits an administrative offense under the German Road Traffic Act (StVG). In addition to a fine and points in Flensburg, there is also the threat of a driving ban. This can be one to three months. That depends on whether he's been caught driving under the influence once or several times before.

4. Soft drugs: Example cannabis

Next to alcohol, cannabis is one of the most commonly consumed drugs. This involves the active substance THC. Anyone who is no longer able to drive their motor vehicle safely as a result of consuming cannabis may be liable to prosecution. Either because of drunkenness in traffic or endangering the criminal traffic (§ 315c StGB). The term "drunkenness" is mostly associated with alcohol, to be sure. However, the StGB expressly speaks of the "consumption of alcoholic beverages or other intoxicating substances". For a conviction, in the case of cannabis, the offender must be proven to have not merely consumed the drug. As a result of this consumption, you must also be unfit to drive. If none of the above-mentioned criminal offenses were committed, but only cannabis at the wheel was proven, the consumption and subsequent participation in road traffic is prosecuted as an administrative offense. Similar to alcohol in traffic, there is the threat of a fine, driving ban and points in Flensburg. Details of the penalties can be read here.

Tiered blood limits for cannabis – unlike alcohol – don't exist. However, the concentration can allow conclusions to be drawn about consumption habits: For the question of whether the driver's license and driving license are completely revoked after drug driving, the driving license ordinance differentiates: what is important is whether there is one-time, occasional or regular use of cannabis.

According to this, anyone who regularly consumes cannabis is considered to be unfit to drive a motor vehicle. In this case, the driver's license is immediately revoked. If a driver is found to have a THC-COOH level (breakdown product of THC in the blood) of at least 150 ng/ml, it is usually assumed that he or she is a regular cannabis user.

In the case of "only" occasional use of cannabis, a distinction is made, among other things, according to whether a separation of use and driving has taken place. These cases are difficult to assess. Anyone who occasionally uses cannabis and who is threatened with a revocation of their driving license because of this should therefore always consult a lawyer. Ideally a specialist lawyer for traffic law.

Even a driver who has only been proven to have consumed cannabis once can have his or her driving license revoked. The prerequisite is that his inability to drive was particularly proven by other factors when driving with drugs. For example, due to driving errors.

Proof of consumption can be provided by blood or urine tests. In this case, the THC value is checked. Regular or long-term consumption can be detected by means of a hair sample.

5. Mixed consumption of various drugs

A separate consideration is required for mixed use of cannabis and alcohol. It plays an important role, especially in the case of occasional cannabis use: Anyone who can be shown to have "only" occasionally used cannabis is considered unsuitable to drive a motor vehicle according to the FeV in any case if the simultaneous use of alcohol or other drugs can also be established in their case. The consequence is the loss of the driving license. The reason for this assessment is the dangers that can arise from the combined intoxicating effect of cannabis and other drugs.

6. Consumption of hard drugs

While cannabis is considered a "soft drug," the courts are much stricter in their assessment of other substances. Cocaine and heroin, for example, and sometimes also the so-called amphetamines, are classified as "hard drugs". The reason is their particularly high addictive potential and dangerousness. Whoever is dependent on hard drugs always loses his driving license according to the FeV. However, even those who are not addicted, but have "only" consumed it and get into a traffic control, must expect the revocation of the driver's license. This applies even if only a low level of the substance is detected in the blood.

An important decision has been made in this regard by the VG Neustadt (Az.: 1 L 269/16.NW). It ruled that the revocation of a driver's license was clearly lawful even if only a low level of amphetamine was detected in the blood during a traffic check. In the specific case, low residual levels (0.018 mg/L) of an amphetamine had been found in the blood of a motorist. They were caused by consumption several days in the past. The authorities then revoked the man's driving license. Reason: he is unfit to drive a motor vehicle because of the consumption of the dangerous amphetamine. The court upheld this decision.

Even the single use of a hard drug, according to the VG, justifies the unsuitability to drive a motor vehicle. Due to the particularly dangerous nature of amphetamine, this applies even if the person concerned was no longer driving under the influence of the drug at the time of the check. So even if the drug has largely worn off by then.

7. Procedure for the withdrawal of a driver's license

A person who is convicted of a criminal offense after driving under the influence of drugs is, as shown, usually also to have his driving license revoked at the same time. In fact, however, the person concerned often loses his "rag" even earlier: In many cases, it is temporarily revoked by a court order even before a conviction is handed down. Sometimes the police confiscate the driver's license in the event of an accident or an on-the-spot check. For example, if officers are allowed to assume not just a misdemeanor, but a felony.

But even if there are no criminal proceedings after a drug drive, but only a fine, the driver's license can be revoked. In this case it is done by the driver's license office. It runs independently from the fine procedure.

As a rule, the person concerned is first written to. He is told that his driver's license is to be revoked and that he is to be heard on the matter. Often a medical report, a drug screening or an MPU is also ordered. As long as a driver's license has not been revoked, he or she may continue to drive his or her vehicle.

8. New issuance of the driving license

Once it has happened and the driver's license has been revoked because of drugs or alcohol, a new driver's license can be issued. If necessary, a period of ineligibility of between six months and five years set by the court must be waited for beforehand. In certain cases, the ban period can be shortened upon request. However, a prerequisite for a new license is that the reasons for the revocation of the driver's license no longer exist.

If drugs were involved, a medical report or an MPU is often made a prerequisite for the issuance of a new driver's license. In connection with this, for example, a drug screening can be carried out. Alcohol abstinence can be verified through a so-called. ETG program (examination for the metabolic product ethyl glucuronide) must be reviewed.

Anyone who is asked to provide such evidence should seek advice from a lawyer specializing in traffic law. Tests are not always rightly ordered. Sometimes the demands of the authorities go too far. In the case of alcohol, there are also significant differences from one federal state to the next as to the level at which an MPU is required.

9. What applies during the probationary period?

Incidentally, the accusation of drugged driving can be particularly critical for novice drivers. After all, you only have a probationary driver's license.

Under the StVG, it is a misdemeanor to drive while on probation or before reaching the age of 21. If the driver of a motor vehicle consumes alcoholic beverages in traffic before the age of 18. Likewise who starts the journey although he is under the effect of such a drink.

In addition, during the probationary period, a follow-up training (seminar) is already ordered for many administrative offenses and the probationary period is extended. Repeat offenses will result in a written warning and a recommendation to participate in traffic psychology counseling. If the person concerned commits a serious violation again despite attending the seminar and receiving a written warning, his or her driving license can be quickly revoked.

Therefore, drivers with probationary licenses in particular should contact an attorney in a timely manner.

10. Conclusion

Drugs behind the wheel can result in a driving ban for one to three months or a suspended driver's license.

Unlike alcohol, there are no general limits for other drugs. But if you drive a car with cannabis in your blood, you can expect a fine and a driving ban. Frequent (occasional) or regular use of cannabis may result in the revocation of your driver's license. Anyone found to have hard drugs in their blood during a stop will also lose their driver's license.

Anyone who can no longer drive their motor vehicle safely as a result of drugs and is convicted of a criminal offense loses i.d.R. the driver's license.

The driver's license can be revoked by the court or the driver's license office. The police may also confiscate him already on the spot.

Later a new driving license can be issued. If necessary. A period of ineligibility must be waited for. In connection with drugs, a medical report or an MPU is often required beforehand.

11. Practical tip: How to behave correctly

If you are stopped by the police, you should not give any information about your consumption. You are also not required to consent to tests for failure to drive. Make use of your right to remain silent. Seek the advice of an attorney.

If you are accused of drug driving, you should immediately stop all consumption. You may need to. face being ordered to submit to a blood or urine test to determine their consumption habits. Unlike a quick test for drugs, you are not allowed to refuse a blood test. It is usually ordered by a judge.

If your driver's license is temporarily impounded, you can file an appeal. A lawyer can also help you with this.

If you keep your driver's license for now, but a fine notice flutters across your door, you should appeal it. The outcome of the fine process can have consequences for whether you lose or keep your driver's license. The reason: although the driver's license authority makes its decision independently It often does so during or after the fine proceedings. If she learns of drug driving in the process, she must check your fitness to drive a motor vehicle. In this context, it can also order measures such as a medical report or an MPU.

If your driver's license is revoked, you can file an appeal. You have the right to appeal against the provisional revocation. The final revocation of the driver's license can be challenged with an appeal. If this remains unsuccessful, even with a complaint. Keep in mind that deadlines apply to legal remedies. That is why it is important to seek the advice of a lawyer in good time.

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