Drink Driving Offences


Navigating the Law of Drink Driving: Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities.

Being accused of drink driving can be a daunting and stressful experience. The laws surrounding drink driving are strict, reflecting the serious consequences of operating or being in charge of a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. As an accused individual, it's essential to understand your rights, the legal process, the elements of the offence and any defences as well as the potential implications for you.

The UK legal limit for alcohol consumption while driving is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, or 107 milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine. Exceeding these limits constitutes an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988. Penalties for drink driving can include fines, license suspension, community service, and even imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offence.

If you are suspected of drink driving, the police have the authority to stop you and request a preliminary breath test at the roadside. Refusing to take this test can result in immediate arrest. If the preliminary test indicates alcohol consumption, you will be taken to a police station for further testing, usually via a breathalyzer or blood test. It's important to note that you have the right to legal representation at this stage and you should exercise that right. Refusal to provide a sample is a separate offence and one which you should be advised on.

You can be charged straight away at the police station and given a court date or you can be requestioned to appear in court if you have been released under investigation (usually awaiting outcome of forensic results). It's crucial to seek legal advice from a solicitor who can advise you on your defence options, which may include challenging the reliability of the testing equipment, questioning the legality of the police stop, or presenting mitigating circumstances that could influence sentencing.

The consequences of a drink driving conviction extend beyond legal penalties. A conviction can have a significant impact on your personal and professional life, affecting your employment prospects, insurance premiums, and reputation within your community. Additionally, if your occupation involves driving then a drink driving conviction could jeopardise your livelihood.

If you are convicted of drink driving, there may be opportunities for mitigation and rehabilitation. Completing a drink driving rehabilitation course, for example, can reduce the length of your disqualification period. Additionally, demonstrating genuine remorse and taking steps to address any underlying issues with alcohol consumption may be viewed favourably by the court.

Facing accusations of drink driving is a serious matter that requires careful navigation of the legal system. By understanding your rights, seeking appropriate legal representation, and exploring defence options, you can mitigate the potential consequences of the charges you face.