It is an offence to use a vehicle in the United Kingdom if you are under the influence of alcohol. It is also an offence to attempt to use a vehicle if you are over the legal limit. Alcohol is known to affect human judgement and reaction times; so consuming too much alcohol means that you are unlikely to be able to function as a competent and careful driver.
There is no set limit for the number of drinks that a person can consume, but strict limits are in place to measure the amount of alcohol which is affecting the body. The drink drive limit is measured by assessing the level of alcohol in the driver’s breath, blood or urine.
Punishments for Major Drink Driving Offences
A person who is convicted of driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol may face a prison sentence of up to 6 months. There is also a maximum fine of £5000 for the offence. The Courts can give a driver an obligatory ban of up to 3 years, unless there are special reasons why a driving ban should not be served. Depending on the severity of the offence, the driver may also be given 3 – 11 points on their driving licence.
Being in charge of a vehicle, even if you are not driving it also comes with a maximum 3 month prison sentence. The fine is capped at £2500, but it is possible that the offender will receive 10 points on their licence.
The Courts may offer convicted offenders the opportunity to attend a drink drive rehabilitation course. This course is paid for by the offender and must be completed within an agreed period. It is possible that attending a rehabilitation course will result in the reduction of the disqualification period, although this is at the discretion of the judge.
Drivers may be acquitted of drink driving offences or receive a reduced penalty if they are able to show that they engaged in drink driving for special reasons. This may include driving under duress, where the driver only drove with excess alcohol because they believed that a human life was at risk.
Our legal team will look at all of the circumstances surrounding your case to see whether there are any special reasons why you had to drive whilst under the influence of alcohol. If a full acquittal is not possible, our team may be able to use special reasons to help to reduce the penalties or waive a possible driving ban.