UK Drink Driving Law

Nobody is suggesting that you should know the UK Drink Driving Laws to the level of a drink driving Solicitor. It is also hoped that you will hopefully never be faced with any drink driving charges. But, like most things in life, it is probably best to have a brief understanding of the law, to ensure that you do not fall foul of it.

The penalties under UK Drink Driving Law are some of the severest in Europe, and it would be wise therefore to pay a little attention to what could happen if you make a mistake. Hopefully, this knowledge will assist you in avoiding the same.

Drink Driving

This constitutes driving a vehicle with an excess of alcohol in your body. Although UK Drink Driving Laws apply across the whole of the UK, the actual definition of excess varies. In Scotland, the drink driving limit is actually about two thirds that of England and the rest of the UK. It is theoretically possible therefore to drive from England, across the border into Scotland, be under the limit in England, but be subject to drink driving charges in Scotland. Any penalty imposed under the lower threshold of Scotland though, would apply to the whole of the UK – complicated, yes, which is why, should you find yourself in trouble, it is recommended you contract a drink driving solicitor.

The Charges

You can be in charge of a vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol. That doesn’t mean driving, that is a separate charge. It means having control of a vehicle, by, for example, having the keys, and the ability to drive it.

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If you drive or attempt to drive whilst under the influence of alcohol, you may be charged with the actual driving offence rather than the “in charge” offence.

If whilst driving, you happen to be stopped by the police and asked to produce a sample on the basis that they suspect you have been drinking, then you may end up being charged with failing to provide a specimen if you refuse to do so.

If your actions whilst driving, cause a fatality, you may be charged with causing death whilst under the influence of alcohol.

The Penalties

For failing to provide a specimen of breath, urine or blood, the penalties following a conviction include the following:-

  • 6 months imprisonment
  • An unlimited fine
  • A ban of up to 12 months

It should be noted that some penalties are discretionary and mitigation can be offered by your drink driving Solicitor.

For being in control of a vehicle whilst under the influence, if convicted, you may end up with the following penalties:-

  • A possible driving ban
  • Up to 3 months in prison
  • A fine of up to £2,500.00

Again, where discretionary, the penalties can be mitigated by the Court.

For driving whilst under the influence of alcohol you will get

  • A 12 month driving ban – 3 years if a second conviction in 10 years

You may also get:

  • An unlimited fine
  • 6 months imprisonment

Only the latter are able to be argued by your drink driving Solicitor. The ban is not discretionary, even where it may cause you undue hardship and even lead to you losing your job.

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For causing a death, you may expect:-

  • Up to 14 years in prison
  • An unlimited fine
  • A driving ban of at least 2 years with an extended test to regain your licence

You will get banned for at least two years, above that, and with the other possible penalties there is the scope to submit mitigation in support of a lesser sentence.

It should be remembered therefore that if you drink and drive, you will lose your licence, regardless of what this may mean as a result. Aside from that, the penalties are also very severe when it comes to fines and possible jail sentences. However, at least with these, your drink driving solicitor can argue your case.

Whilst the exact nuances of UK Drink Driving Law are complex, and best left to your drink driving solicitor, it is sensible that we all consider the very hard impact the penalties will have. On top of those, you will have a criminal record, struggle to get reasonably priced insurance and have an endorsed licence for 11 years. Mistakes are easy to make, but with a little knowledge, they are easy to avoid too.