Drink Driving (driving a motor vehicle / being in charge )

Charge: ‘Driving (or attempting to drive) a motor vehicle on a road (or public place) with alcohol above the prescribed limit’.

This is a serious offence and the penalties imposed on conviction reflect the seriousness of this offence.  
•    6 months’ imprisonment
•    up to £5,000 fine
•    a driving ban for at least 1 year (3 years if convicted twice in 10 years)

Whilst you can be banned for a  minimum period of 12 months,   if  your reading was very high, or your driving caused a serious accident, you may run the risk of a custodial sentence.  The other penalties include a community order, a heavy fine or both.  You will also pay the court costs.  The fine you will have to pay will depend on your means and the severity of the offence although the ceiling limit is £5,000.00.   

Charge: ‘Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit through drink’.

You may get:
•    3 months’ imprisonment
•    up to £2,500 fine
•    a possible driving ban

On occasions it may not be possible to disprove the allegation of drink drive, but  it may be possible to persuade the Magistrate that there are ‘special reasons’ why you should not  be disqualified or to minimise the period of disqualification.

Whilst not being exhaustive, you may argue that the ‘special reasons’ exist for one of the following reasons:

*    spiked drinks– in this case,  you will need to show that your drink had been spiked by  another person, you were not aware of it and you did not suspect your drink was spiked and,  if your drink had not been spiked, the level of alcohol in your blood would not have exceeded the prescribed limit. 

*    extremely short distance driven - this may be taken as a special reason if you can show that as the distance was so short that you were unlikely to come into contact with other road users and there would have been no danger  

*    genuine emergency – eg; medical emergency, it would be necessary to show that you had looked at any alternatives to driving and there was  none available making it necessary for you to drive

*    medication- the medication that you take may have had the effect of  increasing your blood alcohol  readings

Please note that if you argue ‘special reasons’ you must prove on the balance of probabilities that they do exist. You or your solicitor cannot simply assert them and you are required to provide evidence.

If you can be banned for driving for 12 months It may be possible to request an  opportunity to attend a ‘Drink Drive Rehabilitation Course’ as it may reduce your disqualification period by a quarter. eg: one year ban reduced to nine months.

If you wish to discuss your defences or any special reasons please contact our motoring offences solicitors at 0208 577 5491 when we can guide you on the evidence that you will be required to put forward.