The law on driving while over the alcohol limit or while under the influence of drugs is complex. Let’s look at what happens in a typical case.
If a driver is stopped by police who suspect him of being under the influence of alcohol, they will ask him to provide a ‘screening’ sample of breath. This generally won’t be used in court, but if the driver blows positive, this gives the police grounds to arrest him.
At the police station, he will be asked to give two samples of breath which can be used as evidence against him. Failure to give those samples without a good (ie medical) reason is a serious offence in itself. The breathalyser machine analyses the number of microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The limit is 35, but the police will not prosecute if the reading is under 40. If the reading is between 40 and 55 the driver has the right to request that a sample of blood or urine is taken and used instead – this option should always be exercised as it is more accurate and may show that the driver was actually below the legal limit.
If the police suspect someone has been driving while under the influence of drugs, they may request a blood or urine sample or may ask a doctor to examine the driver at the police station.
The consequences of a conviction for driving with excess alcohol or drug driving is an inevitable disqualification for at least 12 months and a fine. In a more serious case where there is a high reading or an accident, the penalty may be a community order or even custody.
What can we do about this?
Sometimes we can prevent a conviction or a disqualification. Were you actually driving the vehicle? Were you in it, but not intending to drive? Did the police carry out their procedures properly? Did you know that you had been drinking alcohol? If you didn’t blow into the breathalyser, was it because of some medical condition, like asthma, which prevented you from doing so?
We will look into all these things to make sure that you don’t plead guilty unless you actually are. What we won’t do is advise you to run a hopeless defence based on a spurious point of law, which costs you money and just makes matters worse for you in front of the court.
If you do plead guilty, we will argue for the period of disqualification and the fine to be kept to a minimum, and we’ll support you with good advice and professional representation through what may well be your first and only appearance in a court.
Our drink driving and drug driving legal specialists are part of our London based driving offence solicitors team. We have almost four decades of experience helping clients from around the UK with a wide variety of legal matters. For expert legal advice use our contact form or call us on 0808 250 6017 today.