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Legal Matters

Should you face any legal difficulties while in London, visit a branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau (www.citizensadvice.org.uk), or contact your embassy.

Driving Offences

The laws against drink-driving are very strict in the UK and treated seriously. Currently the limit is 80mg of alcohol in 100mL of blood. The safest approach is not to drink anything at all if you’re planning to drive.

It is illegal to use a hand-held phone (or similar devices) while driving.

Drugs

Illegal drugs of every type are widely available in London, especially in clubs. Nonetheless, all the usual drug warnings apply. Cannabis was downgraded to a Class C drug in 2004 but reclassified as a Class B drug in 2009 following a government rethink. If you’re caught with pot today, you’re likely to be arrested. Possession of harder drugs, including heroin and cocaine, is always treated seriously. Searches on entering clubs are common.

Fines

In general you rarely have to pay on the spot for an offence. The exceptions are trains, the tube and buses, where people who can’t produce a valid ticket for the journey when asked to by an inspector can be fined there and then. No excuses are accepted, though if you can’t pay, you’ll be able to register your details (if you have some sort of ID with you) and be sent a fine in the post.