Drink driving is a very serious offence and convictions can have life-changing consequences. Getting specialist advice and taking the right actions can mean the difference between a fine, points on your licence or even a prison sentence.

Drink driving and the law

If you are stopped by the police under suspicion that you are over the drinking driving limit you will be asked to carry out a breathalyser test by the side of the road. In England and Wales the alcohol limit is 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath. If taken to the police station you will be asked to provide a further sample with a complex breathalyser. Further tests may also be carried out on blood and urine samples.

It is impossible to say exactly how many units you can drink in order to remain under the legal drink drive limit. The level of alcohol in your blood will depend upon a range of different things including your age, weight, sex metabolism and what you’ve eaten.

What are the penalties for drink driving?

Driving ban

If you are caught drink driving, you will almost certainly face a driving ban. Driving bans start at 12 months in length if it is a first time offence. If it is a second offence within 10 years of the first offence disqualification starts at a minimum of three years.

Further penalties can vary depending upon your alcohol level reading and other circumstances.

Lower readings (less than 2.5 times the limit)

A lower reading will often result in a fine of up to £2500, in the absence of what are known as ‘aggravating features’. Aggravating features that increase the risk of a significant sentence include:

  • Previous drink drive offences
  • Involvement in an accident
  • Carrying passengers
  • Poor weather conditions

Higher readings

Once the reading goes beyond two and half times the limit, Community Sentencing comes into play. This may mean a Probation Order, Community Punishment or even a curfew at your home.

Beyond a reading of 120 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, the Court will always consider a prison sentence. Drink driving convictions are recorded, giving you a criminal record. Expert legal advice using specialist criminal defence solicitors is critical.

Special Circumstances

Misleadingly, although drink driving is termed as an ‘Offence Carrying Mandatory Disqualification’ this is not strictly true. As with all motoring offences that may be punished by penalty points or disqualification, if certain factors have prevailed, the Court may use its discretion to avoid imposing the mandatory drink driving disqualification or points.

Special reasons may include:

  • Not knowing your drink was spiked
  • Driving only a very short distance
  • Certain emergency situations

What should you do next?

Drink driving laws and procedures are complicated. The good news is that there are a number of potential lines of defence. The best course of action is to seek urgent assistance from a specialist motoring offence solicitor.

Lawtons solicitors have the knowledge and expertise to represent you in any motoring and drink driving case. They will work with you to get the fairest possible outcome for you.

Call us today to discuss your case on 0333 2020972 or email web@lawtonslaw.co.uk