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Drink Driving 101

As another celebrity is charged with drink driving, the question as to whether the law is too soft arises. Should there be a zero tolerance approach or is it a Public Heath matter where more awareness and education would help.  It seems like many understand the risks involved and some of us still choose to get behind the wheel after a night out or the next day.

How do I know if I am legal?

You may feel like a spring chicken in the morning after a heavy night on the booze but on average it takes around one hour per unit of alcohol to be eliminated, but it is not uncommon that alcohol will still be detectable in your blood for up to 24 hours afterwards. Alcohol is processed by the liver and it’s a long process. Alcohol limits are different for each person as each person’s body is unique and you should be certain that you are free from your heavy night before you think of getting behind the wheel.

The way alcohol affects you depends on:

  • your weight, age, sex and metabolism (the rate your body uses energy);
  • the type and amount of alcohol you’re drinking;
  • what you’ve eaten recently;
  • your stress levels at the time.

Everyone has an individual responsibility for ensuring safe driving after alcohol consumption.

If in doubt, make alternative arrangements and take an overly cautious approach when considering if you are ok to drive. If you are stopped by the police, even for an innocent reason, it could lead to being breathalysed. If you fail a roadside breath test, you will be taken to the police station for a formal investigation and further breath test.

Representation at court: Do I need a legal representation?

If you are charged with drink driving there is no out of Court disposal. You will be prosecuted and have to attend in person at the Magistrates’ Court. You can represent yourself however there is substantial benefit of having legal representation at court even if you feel like your case is a straightforward one. Having a specialist lawyer will make sure you are getting the best possible outcome tailored to your circumstances.

You should give serious thought to getting representation if you rely on driving for work. A specialist motoring lawyer will try to keep the length of the driving disqualification down to a minimum, which will mean an earlier return to work to avoid loss of income.

Drink drive penalties

Drinking driving is a criminal offence in the UK which carries a possible sentence of imprisonment, a minimum disqualification of 12 months for a first offence and a substantial fine.

If you have a previous drink or drug driving conviction within the past 10 years the minimum disqualification is 3 years.

Drink-drive rehabilitation scheme (DDRS)

If you are banned from driving for 12 months or more the Drink Driving Rehabilitation Course might be offered. The reduction must be at least three months but cannot be more than one quarter of the total period of disqualification.

Other significant complications after a drink conviction

  • your car insurance costs will increase substantially.
  • your employer will see your conviction on your licence (if you drive for work).
  • you may have trouble travelling to countries like the USA or Australia.

SBC Motoring Lawyers have a wealth of experience in dealing with drink driving cases in the Magistrates Courts. If you have been caught for drink driving and have any questions why not contact one of our lawyers for a free consultation.

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