Every year, thousands of drivers are prosecuted for drink driving. Whilst some of them deliberately drive knowing they've had too much to drink, most are unwitting offenders. Getting quick legal advice can be mean the difference between keeping your licence, and spending months off the road. If you have a defence, we will identify it for you. If you do not have a defence, we will advise you on what options would be available for keeping any disqualification to a minimum.
Drink Driving - Key Facts
- The "drive limit" in the England and Wales is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 ml of breath, 80 milligrammes per 100 ml of blood or 107 milligrammes per 100 ml of urine.
- Although the legal limit is 35 micrograms in breath, the Police rarely prosecute if the reading is actually below 40 micrograms.
- The most common method of obtaining evidence is through a breath test frequently called the "breathalyser".
- If you have certain medical issues, you can refuse to provide samples at the police station - you should obtain legal advice from us if you think this applies to you.
- Even if you have failed the breathalyster, this does not mean you are guilty of an offence.
- If you are guilty of drink driving, the minimum disqualification is 12 months.
- The most serious examples of drink driving carry up to 6 months' custody.
- Repeat offenders can expect a 3 year minimum ban.
What Defences Are Available?
There are a few defences available to drink driving. We will work with you to identify if any of these defences apply to you. These defences can include:
- Necessity - driving as a matter of life or death, for example, rushing someone to the hospital
- Post Driving Consumption (aka "the Hip Flask" defence) - where the alcohol in your system was consumed after you had completed driving. This can be established by instructing an expert to produce a BAC (Blood Alcohol Calculation) to establish how was actually in your system at the time of driving. We are experienced enough to identify if this denfence might be available to you without instructing an expert first.
- Good old fashioned mistaken identity - sometimes the Police just get it wrong. Maybe you weren't the one behind the wheel? Maybe the witness noted the registration number down incorrectly.
What if I Don't Have a Defence?
If you are guilty of drink driving and don't have a defence, we can still help. Having an exprienced Solicitor represent you at court can make a huge difference to how you are dealt with by the Court. These are just a few of the ways we can help:
- Plea in Mitigation - speaking on your behalf and explaining your circumstances can mean that the court will know how to deal with you fairly. This could result in a smaller punishment and/or a reduced driving ban. Custodial sentences can be imposed in the most serious cases. Can you afford to run the risk?
- Special Reasons - just because you are guilty, it doesn't mean that there are special circumstances behind your case. We can argue that "Special Reasons" might apply in your case. This can mean that the Court will either not ban you at all or, reduce the length of the ban.
- Drink Drive Rehabilitation Course - we can advise you on the availablity of courses which are deisgned to reduce your driving ban by 25% - getting you back on the road with reduced insurance premiums sooner.