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A Quick Guide to Drink Driving

A Quick Guide to Drink Driving

Drink Driving


We all know that ‘drink driving’ is illegal. But do you know the amount of alcohol in your system that is sufficient for the court to find you guilty of an offence and do you know the consequences? Being found guilty of drink driving can carry serious, life-changing consequences for you and your family. The minimum penalty, which the court must award, is a driving disqualification for at least 12 months (even if it’s your first ever criminal offence) and a fine or community order. In the most serious cases, a prison sentence of up to 26 weeks could be on the cards.

If you’ve been pulled over on suspicion of drink driving, most of the time the police will breathalyse you at the roadside and if that comes back positive then you will be taken to the police station to provide two further samples. These samples are usually of breath, but can be blood or urine samples. If you refuse to provide a sample without a reasonable excuse, this in itself is a serious offence carrying a driving disqualification even if you weren’t over the limit. The lowest sample taken at the police station will be the one which the police will use to charge you.

If you’re convicted, the court will take into account the following factors to determine what sentence to give:

Aggravating factors (increasing seriousness of the offence):

  • Previous convictions. If you have a previous conviction of drink driving (or similar offence) within the last 10 years, the driving disqualification will be a minimum of 3 years;
  • Offence whilst committed on police bail;
  • Carrying passengers;
  • Poor road or weather conditions;
  • Involved in an accident;
  • High level of traffic.

Mitigating factors (reducing seriousness of the offence):

  • No previous convictions;
  • Genuine emergency;
  • Spiked drinks;
  • Very short distance driven;
  • Remorse;
  • Good character;
  • Serious medical condition requiring urgent or long term treatment;
  • Mental disorder.


Get in touch

If you’ve been charged with a drink driving offence, get in touch with our specialist criminal defence team who will guide you through the process, discuss your options and deliver the best result for you at [email protected] or ring us on 01484 519 999. This article is for general informative purposes only, we recommend that you obtain specific advice on your circumstances.