Drink driving

Drink driving

Driving, attempting to drive, or being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offence. In addition to criminal liability, if you injure someone or damage their property you may be sued and forced to pay compensation. It may also affect your career and future job prospects. If you've been charged with a drink driving offence, you need to consider your position very carefully as the penalties can be severe. In every case, you are strongly advised to seek legal advice.

Drink Driving Statistics
Drink Driving Statistics
Source:justice.gov.uk, 2006

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ico4Frequently asked questions

  • What is the drink driving limit?

    It illegal to drive or be in charge of a vehicle after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in the blood, breath, or urine exceeds the ‘prescribed limit’. Currently, the prescribed limits are as follows: (1) for breath, 35 milligrammes (mg) of alcohol in 100 millilitres (ml) of breath; (2) for blood, 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood; and (3) for urine, 107 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of urine.

  • Will I be disqualified for driving under the influence?

    Yes, if you are convicted for driving under the influence of drink or drugs -- even if you’re a first time offender -- you will receive a mandatory minimum ban of one year.

  • What is the maximum fine for drink driving?

    It depends on the offence. For causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs, the court has discretion to impose an unlimited fine; while some other drink driving offences carry a maximum fine of £1,000.

  • What is the maximum custodial sentence for drink driving?

    Again, it depends. Causing death by careless driving when under the influence carries a maximum custodial penalty of 14 years. In contrast, most other drink driving offences carry penalties of 3-6 months maximum imprisonment, and one (failure to co-operate with a preliminary/roadside breathalyser test) does not provide for the imposition of a custodial sentence.

  • What is the High Risk Offender Scheme?

    The High Risk Offender Scheme covers drivers: (1) convicted of having a proportion of alcohol in the body two and half times or more over the legal limit; (2) convicted twice, within a 10 year period, for any drink driving offences; and (3) disqualified for failing without cause to provide a specimen for analysis. Under the Scheme, offenders must satisfy the Medical Advisor at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency that they no longer have a drink problem and are otherwise fit to drive before their licence is returned.

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