Driving with excess alcohol

Driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on any public road or a place to which the public has access having had too much alcohol to drink is an offence.

It is often the case that people have simply misjudged how much alcohol they have had to drink.  This is because how quickly alcohol affects a person will depend on a number of factors.  These might include your height, weight, age, sex and metabolism.

The alcohol reading will also be affected by how much and when you have eaten, the type of drinks consumed and how long after you had the alcohol you drove your vehicle.

The official drink drive limits are:

Level of Alcohol                                                         

Micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath – 35
Milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood – 80
Milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine – 107

A defence or a special reason to avoid a driving ban

Defences to charges of drink drive offences do exist.  A successful argument might show that the driving took place on private land.  A procedural error might be identified in the police handling of the arrest or the taking of samples.  A client might argue that alcohol was consumed after the driving, and but for that they would not have been over the legal drink driving limit.

Although not providing a defence, where a defendant’s drinks have been spiked without their knowledge, and the reading provided to the police is low enough, or where only a short distance was driven, a ‘special reasons’ argument might be successfully advanced to avoid a driving disqualification.

You can read more about special reasons here.

Sentencing for drink drive offences

Without a successful special reasons argument being made, there will be a minimum disqualification of 12 months for a first offence.  Both penalty and disqualification will depend upon a number of factors including:

  • How much you were over the limit
  • Any features that make the offence more or less serious
  • Anything about your personal circumstances that suggest you ought to be dealt with more leniently
  • Whether you pleaded guilty to the offence.

The sentencing guidelines for excess alcohol can be found here.

We will always investigate the circumstances of your case and see whether legal aid is available for your free representation in your motoring law case before the Magistrates’ Court.  You can read more about the legal aid scheme here.

If you are not eligible than we will provide representation in your road traffic case for a fixed fee.  This will allow you to know about and budget for the cost of your legal fees.  You can read about these fees here.

Our solicitors are experienced in both defending and mitigating in offences of excess alcohol.  If you instruct one of our expert road traffic lawyers, they will help identify whether you are able to defend the charge or alternatively how best to present mitigation to keep any penalty to the absolute minimum.

For more information regarding these issues or to arrange an appointment with one of our expert lawyers please contact your nearest office here or use the email form below.

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