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Drink Driving Offences Explained

In the drinking culture of today, it can be alarming to think that you could be charged with a drink driving offence without actually driving a vehicle. We can help you with any drink driving offence but first let us help you understand exactly what the main offences are.
Drink driving offences are split into four main sections, each of which is explained here with the drink driving ban penalties.

Driving with excess alcohol

This is when you have been driving or attempting to drive after consuming an amount of alcohol over the approved limit. In other words, you are driving whilst over the drink drive limit.

You cannot be convicted of this unless it has been proven that you are over the limit after taking a breath, urine or blood test from the police station.

The readings must be taken from a Government approved device such as a breathalyser. A roadside testing device is not an approved device.

Road testing devices are simply used to help police officers decide whether or not you are drink driving and should be taken to the police station to do an official test.

What are the punishments?

You could face a maximum six months imprisonment, community punishment, an unlimited fine and a driving ban.

Failure to provide a specimen

This is when you refuse to provide a specimen of blood, breath or urine to the police.

What are the punishments?

Refusing a test at the police station could get you 6 months imprisonment, community punishment and an unlimited fine, as well as a lengthy driving ban. Evidence of high levels of intoxication and lack of co-operation at the police station can now greatly increase drink driving penalties. Moreover, if the courts believe you failed to provide a specimen because you knew you were trying to drive with excess alcohol in your body, your drink driving penalties could be more severe. The punishment for failing to provide a specimen, as you can see, can be far worse than that for drink driving because the Courts do not know how intoxicated you are.

Drunk in charge of a vehicle

This is when you are in or around your vehicle whilst over the limit, with the intention of taking the vehicle for a drive. This may sound like an easy offence to commit but you should only be prosecuted if you were intending to drive the vehicle.

What are the punishments?

You could be facing 10 penalty points on your licence or a driving ban, three months imprisonment and a £2,500 fine. Driving while unfit through drink or drugs. This is relatively the same as being caught in charge of your car with excess alcohol in your body. The difference between the two is that, to be charged with the excess alcohol offence, a specimen declaring you over the drink drive limit is required. If they do not have a specimen, for whatever reason, they can simply charge you with driving while unfit under the influence of drink or drugs and the prosecution would centre around a doctor’s or police officer’s opinion of your suitability to drive.

Driving unfit through drink

Broadly speaking this is used when it is clear to a medical professional that you are intoxicated through alcohol, but no other test has not been carried out or can be relied upon.

What are the punishments?

You could face a maximum six months imprisonment, community punishment, an unlimited fine and a driving ban.

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