Drink Driving Offences Solicitors

Have you been caught Drink Driving? Free Initial Advice

If you have received a summons or postal requisition for drink driving or driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs, It is important you seek advice as soon as you can – call our drink driving solicitors, here to help – 0115 910 6239 – FREE Initial Advice

The maximum legal alcohol limits in the UK are:-

  • Breath: Maximum of 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath
  • Blood: Maximum of 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100ml of blood
  • Urine: Maximum of 107 milligrams of alcohol in 100ml of urine

It is crucial to consult a specialist solicitor as soon as possible. Our solicitors have years of experience in representing and advising for drink driving related cases.  We are experts in putting forward special reasons arguments.

Failing to Provide a Specimen

If you also fail to provide a specimen of breath at the police station, you are likely to be charged with the alternative offence of ‘failing to provide a specimen for analysis’. You may have a defence to this if you have a reasonable excuse for not doing so, e.g. a medical condition which can be backed up by documentary evidence. If convicted of this offence, a driver will usually receive a fine and disqualification for a minimum period of 12 months.

Penalties for drink driving include an unlimited fine and 6 months’ imprisonment. If you have a previous conviction for a drink driving related offence within the last 10 years then there will be a minimum of a 3-year driving ban. It may be possible to undertake a drink-driver rehabilitation course which can reduce the period of disqualification by one quarter.

Drink Driving Solicitors – Further Information

Please contact one of our specialist drink drive solicitors for advice on 0115 910 6239. We offer a nationwide service.

We offer a nationwide service.


Do I need a solicitor for a drink driving charge?

Drink driving is a criminal offence under section 5(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988. If charged, you could be looking at a driving ban, a fine and/or a prison sentence. Additionally, a drink driving offence will result in a criminal record.

If you are charged with drink driving, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. A drink driving solicitor will be able to provide you with any possible defence and make sure that the correct statutory procedure is followed by the police and courts.

Your solicitor will be able to build a case for you to be successfully defended. They know what evidence to seek and what special reason arguments could be used in your defence.

What if I want to plead guilty?

Even if you intend to plead guilty, legal representation from a trained solicitor is still important. Certain processes and sentencing guidelines need to be followed by the police and the courts when going through any trial.

It is unlikely you know what these processes are. A solicitor will be able to ensure that these are followed and you get treated fairly by the law.

How much does a drink driving solicitor cost?

The cost of your drink driving solicitor will depend on your case and whether you intend to plead guilty or not.

Before you worry about your legal costs, take advantage of our FREE consultation with no obligation to commit.

During this free legal consultation, you will be able to talk to one of our specialise drink driving solicitors and get expert advice.

FREE Initial Advice – 0115 910 6239

How can I get out of a drink driving charge UK?

Being caught drink driving doesn’t always mean you are facing a ban. While drink drinking charges do carry a mandatory driving disqualification, there are ways to avoid or limit your ban.

These are called ‘special reasons’ and is mentioned in Section 34(1) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 which states:

(1) Where a person is convicted of an offence involving obligatory disqualification, the court must order him to be disqualified for such period not less than twelve months as the court thinks fit unless the court for special reasons thinks fit to order him to be disqualified for a shorter period or not to order him to be disqualified.

The court may, because of these ‘special reasons’ and if they see fit, order a disqualification for a shorter period or decide not to disqualify at all.

Examples of special reasons include:

  • Driving due to an emergency
  • Being drunk as a result of a drink being spiked without the drivers’ knowledge
  • Moving a vehicle to prevent a hazard or accident

In these cases, the burden is on the defence to prove and evidence that special reasons exist.

Having a special reason defence alone is not a guarantee that you will not be disqualified. This is because the magistrates will take other factors into consideration such as the distance drove and potential risk to other road users. But it can help reduce any disqualification.

If you believe you may have special reasons for your drink driving case, then contact our specialist solicitors.

FREE Initial Advice From Our Drink Driving Solicitors – 0115 910 6239

I’m a carer for a family member. Is this a special reason against a drunk driving charge?

Unfortunately not. Unlike speeding offences, there are no provisions under the law that allows for extenuating circumstances for drunk driving charges. Therefore, the court cannot take this into consideration when issuing sentencing.

What is the sentence for drink driving?

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

You may get:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a driving ban for at least 1 year (3 years if convicted twice in 10 years)

The sentence you receive will depend on several different factors. First, it will be based on the lowest alcohol specimen you provided through breath blood or urine. The higher the alcohol level, the longer a disqualification and driving ban will be. If you have been convicted twice in 10 years, you will receive a minimum 3-year driving ban regardless of your alcohol level.

If the courts offer a drink-drive rehabilitation scheme (DDRS) course and you agree to attend, your ban will be reduced by 25%.

Other sentences you could be facing include:

Refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis

You may get:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least 1 year

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink

You may get:

  • 14 years’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least 2 years
  • an extended driving test before your licence is returned

What is drunk in charge of a vehicle?

Under the law, you do not necessarily have to be driving a vehicle to be charged. Drunk in charge of a vehicle can cover any activity where there is a real possibility that you will attempt to drive with excess levels of alcohol in your system.

You may be charged with this offence if the police cannot determine if you have driven a vehicle, but believe there is a possibility you have or will. In theory, an individual can be charged with this offence if they have entered a vehicle to get belongings, to sleep, or when pushing a motorbike down a road.

In court, the burden is on the defence to prove there was no intention to drive the vehicle whilst over the limit.

To successfully defend a drunk in charge case you will need to show when you were next intending to drive the vehicle. You will also need expert evidence to prove that the alcohol levels in your breath blood or urine would have been below the limit at the time that you planned on driving next.

A drunk in charge case can be difficult to defend due to the type of evidence required. Expert legal advice from a trained driving solicitor is vital.

FREE Initial Advice – 0115 910 6239

Will I need to go to court for drink driving?

Drink driving is a criminal offence which will mean you will have to attend court. For the majority of drink driving cases, you will only need to attend a magistrates court.

Here, your local magistrates (usually three or two) will hear your case and you will be offered the chance to give your plead and, if applicable, your defence or special reasons. If you wish your defence can be presented by your solicitor.

After the hearing, the magistrates will make a decision on your sentencing.

In more serious cases that face more than 6 months’ imprisonment, such as those including causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink, your sentencing may be heard at a Crown Court instead.

It is important that you attend your court date. Failure to do so will result in a warrant in your name being issued. This can see further charges brought on you.

Your solicitor will make sure you are prepared for what to expect at court, regardless of how you intend to plea.

FREE Initial Advice – 0115 910 6239

Can you drive after drink driving before court?

If you have been caught drink driving, the police will keep you in custody at the police station until you have sobered up. This is to ensure that you do not commit further offences whilst under the influence of drink.

Once you are sober you will be released on bail and receive instructions to attend court. This is usually within three to five weeks from the date of the drink driving offence taking place.

Because you have not been convicted, had sentences passed, or received your ban yet, you are still able to drive before your court date. In exceptional circumstances, the police may put a condition on your bail that prevents you from driving before your court date. If this is the case, they will inform you before they release you from the police station.

Is a driving ban definite for drink driving?

In most cases, yes. The law is very strict on drink driving cases due to the damage and injury it can cause to yourself and others. As a result, a minimum of 12 months disqualification is standard.

That said, in some drink driving cases it is possible to either reduce or prevent disqualification from driving.

For this to occur, you, or your solicitor, need to explain to the court how your drink driving actions were due to special reasons.

Examples of special reasons include:

  • Driving due to an emergency
  • Being drunk as a result of a drink being spiked without the drivers’ knowledge
  • Moving a vehicle to prevent a hazard or accident

Our drink driving solicitors have expertly and successfully defended many drink driving cases for special reasons.

FREE Initial Advice – 0115 910 6239

How many points is it for drink driving?

Between 3 to 11 points could be added to your driving license depending on the offence if you are caught drink driving or drunk in charge of a vehicle.

These points are in addition to any other sentencing you may receive. For example, if you are disqualified for driving for 12 months, you will still have points on your license for at least 11 years.

What happens after a drink driving ban?

After the court decides to give you a drink driving band, you will be required to hand over your license to the court.

When the time limit of your ban for your drink driving offence is nearly complete, the DVLA will be in touch to allow for you to reinstate your license. You will be required to pay for this.

If you are classed as a high-risk offender, you will need to show that you are fit to drive again by passing a driving test.

You are classed as a high-risk offender if you:

  • were convicted of 2 drink driving offences within 10 years
  • were driving with an alcohol reading of at least 87.5 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres (ml) of breath, 200 milligrammes (mg) of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, or 267.5 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of urine
  • refused to give the police a sample of breath, blood or urine to test for alcohol
  • refused to allow a sample of your blood to be tested for alcohol (for example if it was taken when you were unconscious)

Can a drink driving conviction affect my employment?

Possibly. If your employer requires you to drive, having a driving ban could impact if you can do your job. In which case your employer may decide to let you go or find a new role for you.

Drink driving offences may also have to be declared for any future employment applications because it is a criminal conviction. This could further impact your employment choices.

How long does a drink driving conviction stay on your criminal record?

A criminal record for a drink driving offence will not stay on your criminal record for life. After a certain number of years it will be classed as ‘spent’. For drink driving offences this is usually 5 years, however, the court may decide longer. After this time period, you will no longer have to declare it when asked.

Drink driving offence will remain on your driving license and your DVLA record for at least 11 years after the offence. This could impact your insurance rates long after your criminal record has been ‘spent’.

How long do I need to declare drink driving?

You will need to declare your drink driving offence for as long as it remains unspent on your criminal record. This is usually for 5 years. After this time you will not have to declare it any longer.

However, your drink driving offence will remain on your driving license for at least 11 years. This means that if this was your first offence, and you are caught drink driving a second time again in this time period, you will be classed as a high-risk offender.

How does drink driving affect insurance?

Motoring offences, such as drink driving, will impact your insurance for the period of time that you have an unspent criminal record. As a result, your premiums may go up.

After your conviction is spent, insurance companies cannot use this when calculating risk. In other words, you do not have to declare your conviction after 5 years to insurers.

However, insurance companies may get around this by asking if you have ever been disqualified from driving. With this, they are entitled to refuse insurance if they deem you high-risk.

I have been charged with drink driving – what should I do?

A drink driving charge is a serious criminal offence in the UK. The offence carries a sentence be being disqualified from driving for a minimum of 12 months, an unlimited fine and the potential for at least 6 months’ imprisonment.

Because drink driving charges are only brought when you have been caught driving and provided a breath, blood or urine sample which proves how much alcohol was in your system, they can be very difficult charges to successfully defend.

You should still seek legal advice from an expert drink driving solicitor if you are facing a drink driving charge. This is because a specialist solicitor will be able to identify whether you may have special reasons to avoid serious sentencing. Or, if you are guilty of the offence, they will be able to ensure that you are treated in the correct, legal manner.

FREE Initial Advice – 0115 910 6239