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Drink Driving

If you are arrested or charged with drink driving, contact us for advice. We aim to achieve the most favourable outcome possible for clients who are charged with any drink driving offence. This may mean an acquittal, in other cases it may mean minimising the sentence imposed by the Courts.

We have a 24-hour emergency advice line so that we can respond immediately to your situation. Our 24 hour number is 07850 012 366.

What is the law on Drink Driving in England?

If you drive a motor vehicle on a public road with excess alcohol in your breath, blood or urine above the prescribed limit, then you have committed an offence.

The allowable legal limits are:

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath
  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of blood
  • 107 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml or urine

Drink driving most commonly attracts a penalty of an automatic disqualification from driving of 12 months. This may be increased up to 60 months for repeat offenders, or for first time offenders with very high alcohol readings. In extreme circumstances the Court may give a prison sentence.

The law requires you to provide a specimen for testing either at the roadside or at the Police station. If you fail to do this then you may be charged with Failure to provide a specimen, the penalties for which are broadly similar to the penalties for drink driving offences.

Defences for drink driving

Police procedure

In some cases it may be appropriate to plead ‘not guilty’. This will depend on the circumstances of your case and we will tell you if this approach will be suitable for you.

In some cases the defence will be based on incorrect procedure being followed by the Police.

Strict procedures exist which that the Police must follow in dealing with someone at the roadside who has failed a breath test. An initial roadside breath test only offers an indication to the Police to determine if they have grounds for arrest and it is not recognised by the Courts as giving a reading that can lead to a conviction.

Therefore, a breathalyser test alone is not enough evidence to secure a conviction for drink driving. If a roadside test indicates that you are over the legal limit then the Police must carry out a further ‘fixed position’ breathalyser test or obtain a urine or blood sample for testing at the Police station.

Strict procedures must be followed by the Police for this evidence to be permissible in the Courts. Failure to carry out any of the procedure correctly may allow us to successfully challenge the findings.

Other defences against drink driving

Various defences for drink driving exist which may or may not be relevant to your situation.

  • If you had to drive to avoid physical injury, ie you were under threat.
  • You had no choice but to commit the offence, for example if there was a medical emergency and other options were not available, ie, you were unable to phone for an ambulance.
  • Your drink was spiked. This defence relies on you being able to provide evidence that you had no knowledge of your drink being spiked and that you would otherwise have been under the legal limit.
  • The ‘hip flask’ defence. This defence is based on the premise that you were under the legal alcohol limit at the time the offence was alleged and that you were subsequently over the limit only when the breathalyser test was carried out. You must be able to convince the Courts that the alcohol was consumed in-between these two events.

Mounting this type of defence relies on having an experienced solicitor with the knowledge required to take your case through the Court system.

Please contact us for advice.

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