There are, in fact, a number of different drink driving offences which drivers may be prosecuted for. They all carry hefty sentences as these offences are considered extremely serious by the courts. You could face a large fine, an unavoidable disqualification and in the most serious cases a prison sentence. With qualified and experienced solicitors on your side, it is possible to enjoy a greater chance of having a sentence reduced and avoiding the worst sentences.
What Is The Drink Driving Limit?
In England and Wales, the current drink driving limit is 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath.
Although intoxication when driving is normally given as an alcohol in breath reading, it can also be provided by a test of blood and urine.
Again, in England and Wales the legal limit for blood is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The legal limit in urine is 107 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of urine.
In Scotland, the drink driving limit was reduced in 2014 to 22 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath, 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of blood or 57 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of urine.
The Law And Drink Driving
The road traffic law associated with drink driving cases is very complex. A simple misunderstanding of the rules or the evidence can have disastrous consequences and end up with driving ban, or worse. It is vitally important that anyone facing a drink driving charge should get immediate, specialist legal advice.
Drink Driving Offences
Driving with excess alcohol is the offence that most people are referring to when they say drink driving. This means that you have been arrested for driving while over the legal alcohol limit. This must be proved by an approved device used at the police station, and not a roadside breathalyser, which is used only to give the police an indication of whether you should be arrested and taken back to the station.
Failing to provide a specimen to the policy can carry the same, or worse penalties, than driving with excess alcohol. This is because the police and the courts are uncertain of how much alcohol you have consumed and will take a dim view if you refuse to provide a sample in a bid to try and avoid prosecution.
Being drunk in charge of a vehicle means that you have been proven to be drunk while being in or near your car and with the intention of driving it. It is necessary for the prosecution to prove that you intended to drive the vehicle in order for a prosecution to be successful.
Driving while unfit is a similar offence except that it may not be necessary for you to have provided a specimen. A prosecution may still be sought and this offence may also be used if the police believe you have been taking drugs and are unfit to drive as a result of this.
There are certain mitigating circumstances and other occasions when a specialist drink driving solicitor will be able to help reduce your sentence or completely eliminate it saving your licence and potentially your livelihood. Having a professionally prepared driving defence should be considered essential if you are facing any of these drink driving charges.
Drink Driving Defences
If you have been charged with a drink driving offence, all is not lost. There are defences available.
A factual defence is simply where the facts of the case are disputed. It may be that the identity of the driver is in dispute or that the person charged gave false details when they were breathalysed and arrested.
The hip flask defence is where there is a delay between the charged person driving and then being breathalysed. This is a very technical area and an expert medical witness would need to be instructed to provide a back calculation report for the court.
Procedural errors are where the police have not followed the correct protocol for producing evidence in the case. The rules governing the police in drink driving cases are very strict and material errors may form a defence when challenged. Such errors can include a failure to give statutory warnings, taking a urine sample, failing to offer a blood or urine sample and continuity of blood or urine samples.
Reliability of equipment is an important part of the prosecution’s case. The evidence provided to the court has to be accurate. The equipment used by the police to gather that evidence has to be well maintained and calibrated properly. If the reading given by the equipment is higher than expected in the circumstances, there is a right to have that equipment investigated and tested. This defence was borne out in the case of Cracknell v. Willis (1988).
Defending a drink driving case is not a straightforward matter. There are strict rules regarding procedure and evidence as well as recognised case law for their use.
If you think that you have a defence to your drink driving case then please contact us immediately so we can discuss the issues.
What To Do Now?
We have helped many people who faced drink driving offences in the courts. With our experience, we have helped save driving licences for people who rely on their cars for work and family.
We are experts in our field. We are not judgemental and only want to offer you the best advice and representation when you are facing the courts and a possible disqualification from driving.
SEND US A MESSAGE