If you have been accused of drink driving, seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible. Drink driving law is complex, so the advice of an expert is essential. Consulting a specialist solicitor at Lawtons can make the difference between receiving a fine, disqualification, penalty points or a prison sentence.
A conviction for drink driving can have serious consequences which can impact many areas of your life in terms of employment and the ability to drive.
How many units of alcohol is considered over the drink driving limit?
The legal limit of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath is 35 micrograms. Specimens of blood and urine may also be tested. However, how this equates to how many units of alcohol someone can safely drink before driving is more difficult to gauge, as there are all sorts of factors that affect how quickly the alcohol is processed and metabolised by an individual.
A low reading may result in a fine, if no aggravating features are present in the offence. If the reading is above 2½ times the legal limit, community sentencing comes into effect, ranging from a probation order to community service or even a home curfew.
If the reading is above 120 in breath, the court will consider imposing a prison sentence as one of many possible sentences. In some circumstances additonal offences may be alleged if the standard of driving has become dangerous.
All drink driving convictions are recorded, resulting in a criminal record.
What are the penalties for drink driving?
The penalties for drink driving in the UK depend on the severity of the offence, but there will always be a disqualification unless there are special reasons surrounding the offence. The length of the disqualification will be affected by the level of the reading and extent of impairment. Generally speaking:
- Being in charge of a vehicle whilst over the legal alcohol limit could result in a prison sentence of up to 3 months, a fine of up to £2,500 or a driving ban
- Driving or attempting to drive whilst over the legal limit could result in 6 months in prison, an unlimited fine or a driving ban of at least 12 months, increasing to 3 years if there is an existing conviction which took place within the last 10 years
- Refusing to provide a specimen of blood, urine or breath when required to do so by the police could lead to 6 months in prison, an unlimited fine or a driving ban of a minimum of 12 months
- Causing death by dangerous driving whilst over the legal alcohol limit could result in 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, a driving ban of a minimum of 2 years and an extended driving test to regain your driving licence
What are aggravating factors in a drink driving conviction?
The evidence of aggravating factors in a drink driving offence can increase the severity of a sentence. Factors include:
- Previous drink driving offences
- Involvement in an accident
- Carrying passengers
- Poor weather conditions
What are special reasons in a drink driving conviction?
Drink driving is classified as an ‘offence carrying mandatory disqualification’. However, the court can use its discretion in sentencing, using penalty points or a term of disqualification if ‘special reasons’ are apparent.
These reasons include:
- Only driving a very short distance
- Not knowing your drink was spiked
- Some emergency situations
What to do if you are accused of drink driving
For advice and assistance, get in touch with our experienced team of expert driving offence solicitors. Call us on 0333 577 0522.
Why is drink driving so dangerous?
Safe driving requires quick reactions, the ability to make good judgements and to be able to concentrate. Drink driving is dangerous because your driving ability can be impacted by any amount of alcohol in your bloodstream.
Is it illegal for the passenger in a car to drink alcohol in the UK?
No, it’s not illegal for a passenger to be drinking alcohol while being driven, unless you are supervising a learner driver. If you are caught driving while drinking there are serious penalties.
Is it safe to drive after one beer?
Alcohol affects everyone differently. One person may be fine to drive after one or two alcoholic drinks depending on the type and size of the drink among other factors, while another is over the drink-drive limit after only one.