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Can you drive on tramadol?

The arrival of winter has brought with it the inevitable rise in colds and flu. However, before reaching for the painkillers, it’s important to take note of the ingredients. Many legal prescription medications, and even some widely used over-the-counter painkillers, could impair your driving.

In England, Scotland, and Wales, it’s illegal to drive if you are over the limit of certain legal medications, as well as illegal drugs. These include:

  • Tramadol
  • Amphetamines
  • Clonazepam
  • Flunitrazepam
  • Diazepam
  • Lorazepam
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxazepam
  • Temazepam

Penalties for taking tramadol and driving

If you drive with certain levels of these legal medications in your blood (including tramadol) and have not been prescribed them by a doctor, you could be prosecuted.

However, it is legal to drive after taking these drugs (even if you are over the specified limit) if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You have been prescribed the drug by a doctor.
  2. You have taken the medication in accordance with the instructions from your doctor or on the accompanying leaflet.
  3. The medication is not causing you to be unfit to drive.

In drug driving law, this is referred to as a medical defence.

What will happen if the police pull me over?

If you’re stopped by the police, they may conduct a roadside assessment of your fitness to drive. They could also use a roadside drug test kit to check for illegal drugs, as well as many of the prescription medications listed above.

If you are deemed unfit to drive, or you are found to be over the legal limit of any medication, you will be arrested and taken for blood tests at the police station.

However, if your doctor has prescribed your medication, you’ve taken it according to their instructions, and your driving isn’t impaired, you should not be charged with drug driving.

The penalties for being over the limit of drugs including tramadol and driving are:

  • Minimum 12 month driving ban
  • Up to 6 months in prison
  • Unlimited fine
  • A criminal record

It’s also important to note that your driving licence will show your drug driving conviction for 11 years. Additionally, if you cause death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drugs, prescription or otherwise, the maximum penalty in the UK is life imprisonment.

Speak to specialist drug driving solicitors

If you’ve been arrested for drug driving, whether you were under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs, it’s essential that you seek advice from expert drug driving solicitors at your earliest opportunity.

MAJ Law are a market leading defence firm in the UK, specialising in drug driving offences. Their team of solicitors have years of experience in representing drug driving clients, and can advise you on the best course of action and the likely outcome of your case.

You can give them a call on 0151 422 8020 or send them a message using the contact form on their website for a swift response.