Need assistance with an excess alcohol charge?

If you’ve been charged with an excess alcohol driving offence then please contact us today.

We can advise you on what your excess alcohol charge could mean for you and discuss what options could be available to you legally.

Those who are caught driving with excess alcohol or driving under the influence of drugs in the United Kingdom are liable to face an automatic disqualification of at least 12 months. The disqualification period may be longer for serious offences. Drivers also risk imprisonment and an unlimited fine. If a driver has been prosecuted for another alcohol related offence within the last ten years, the minimum disqualification period is raised to 3 years.

In order to prosecute a driver for this offence, the Prosecution must be able to ascertain who was driving the vehicle when the alleged offence was committed. Excess alcohol levels must also be shown in the blood, breath or urine. There are strict limits on alcohol levels in all drink driving cases in the United Kingdom:

• 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (50 micrograms in Scotland);
• 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath (22 micrograms in Scotland);
• 107 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine (67 in Scotland).

In some cases it may be possible to mount successful defences or challenges against readings which are over these limits. Our legal team will look through your case to see what we can do to help you. This will include studying all of the available evidence, including police reports about the incident. In some cases, a successful defence may involve admitting liability but avoiding a lengthy disqualification because of special circumstances.

Our team will consider every piece of evidence in your case to establish whether it is possible to mount a successful defence. You may need to consider pleading guilty if this will help us to get the best possible outcome in your case.

Excess Alcohol Offences

Prosecutions for alleged excess alcohol offences usually arise when a motorist is pulled over by a police officer. If the police office believes that the driver is under the influence of excess amounts of alcohol, they may ask the driver to agree to a roadside breath test. A driver who fails the test or fails to comply may then be taken to the police station to give further evidence.

Further evidence may be another breath test but the driver may also be required to provide a blood or urine sample. If blood samples are required, the sample must be taken by a trained healthcare professional. Blood and urine samples must be sent away to a professional testing laboratory to establish accurate alcohol levels. Failing to provide samples to the police when asked to do so may constitute an offense in itself.

Improper Procedure

Strict guidelines must be followed by the police when they are investigating excess alcohol driving offences. It is possible to mount a successful defence if these guidelines are not followed properly.

Police are obliged to:

  1. Warn the alleged offender that a failure or refusal to provide a sample will render them liable to prosecution – s.7 (7) of The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988;
  2. Give the alleged offender a reason why a blood or urine sample is being requested instead of relying solely on breath analysis – s.7 (3) (b) of The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988;

For more information on this please see here.

If a breath reading is just above the legal limit (but under 50 micrograms in England, Wales or Northern Ireland), the police officer must give the alleged offender the opportunity to submit to urine or blood testing. Before requesting a blood sample, the officer should confirm that the alleged offender does not have any medical objection to blood being taken. A doctor may be asked to confirm these medical objections.

The ‘Hipflask’ Defence

An alleged offender may be able to argue that they consumed alcohol between the time that they were driving and the time that the test was performed. This can allow the defendant to argue that they were not over the limit whilst they were driving.

Breath Test Machine Malfunction

The Prosecution must be able to prove that testing machinery was working properly at the time when the test was performed. Experts may be called in to challenge the validity of a reading if there is the possibility that the machinery produced a false recording.

If you want to discuss your case with one of our expert driving offence solicitors, you are advised to get in contact as soon as possible. We can then start looking over your case to see how we can help you.

Call us on 020 3634 9755