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Drink Driving

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 15 Dec 2018 | comments*Discuss
Drink Driving Drink Driving Breath Test

Drink driving is described as being in charge of a motor vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol. Many people annually are found to be guilty of this offence - some of them without actually knowing they are over the legal limit.

What is the Legal Limit?

Currently the legal limit for alcohol consumption is:

  • Thirty-five milligrams of alcohol per one hundred millilitres of breath or
  • Eighty milligrams of alcohol per one hundred millilitres of blood
  • One hundred and Seven microgrammes of alcohol per one hundred millilitres of urine

If tests show you are over this limit then you will be penalised. Often an individual may not be aware that he or she is over the legal limit, but ignorance is no defence in this case.

The Breath Test

Anyone can be asked by a police officer to provide a breath test if the police officer considers something in their behaviour indicates that they are driving under the influence of alcohol, for example if they are:
  • Behaving in a manner that would suggest over consumption of alcohol
  • Being unresponsive to questioning
  • The driver is in charge of a vehicle suspected of being involved in an accident

Failing to provide a breath test at this stage can result in arrest. This automatically incurs four penalty points on the driver's licence.

The roadside breath test involves a piece of equipment colloquially known as a breathalyser. The driver will be asked to blow into a bag for a sustained number of seconds so that the breathalyser can take a reading. If you fail the breath test at the roadside you will be taken to the nearest police station where two further readings will be taken.

Failing the Breath Test

If you fail the breath test you will be arrested and taken to the nearest police station where two further tests will be undertaken. If these subsequent tests provide lower readings than the initial breath test, then the lowest reading must be submitted. If this reading is still over the legal limit then you will be charged with the offence.

Often the individual will be bailed and asked to appear before a magistrate at a later date. You will be allowed to continue driving until such times as your hearing but if you are found guilty of a drink driving offence you can reasonably expect to receive (figures from Direct.Gov.uk 2011) one of the following:

  • Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit = 3 months’ imprisonment/up to £2,500 fine/a possible driving ban
  • Driving while above the legal limit (or unfit through drink) = 6 months’ imprisonment/up to £5,000 fine/ban from driving for at least one year (three years if convicted twice in ten years)
  • Refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis = 6 months’ imprisonment/up to £5,000 fine/ban from driving for at least one year

Death as a Result of Drink Driving

If you are a driver involved in an accident where someone dies and you are over the alcohol limit, the penalties are much more severe. If you're found guilty of causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink, you will be penalised by either: a ban from driving for at least two years; 14 years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine. You may also be required to take an extended driving test before your licence is returned.

Tips to Avoid Drink Driving

1. If you are going out for the evening either leave the car at home or do not drink anything at all.

2. Do not allow anyone else in your party to drive if you think they have consumed too much alcohol.

3. If you have had a significant amount to drink the previous evening - leave your car at home in the morning and use public transport or secure a lift to work.

4. When you're out with friends in the evening - to avoid being over the limit the following day, alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water or a soft drink.

5. If you drink at lunchtime, never assume that you will be safe to drive later in the evening.

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My drink driving ban ended on 22nd June 2018 it now 15th December 2018 and still I wait for my driving licence to be returned to me so I can drive again I passed the D.V.L.A. medical blood test was normal why the long wait
poppy - 15-Dec-18 @ 1:26 PM
I am currently banned in the UK but I live in Denmark.Is it possible for me to apply for a provisional licence here and get a new Danish licence to be able to drive here but not in the UK?
sebb - 1-Aug-13 @ 10:01 AM
Hi all... I was banned from driving in 2005 for drink driving and now 8 years on I was found to be over the limit again. Another ban is inevitable.. Will my first ban still come off my licence after the 10 year period
Mici - 23-Jul-13 @ 9:00 AM
what is the definition of a current clean driving licence ? i have got a DR10 on my licence and had a ban which is over now. but dont have any points would that be classed as a current clean driving licence
ag - 23-Nov-12 @ 1:32 PM
Hi, I haveDR endorsement 16/7/2002 and an SP endorsement 27/1/09, can I have them removed from my driving licence. I thought the period they could remain on my licence was 10 years for DR and 3 years for SP. THANKS
j - 29-Jun-12 @ 1:19 PM
Hi , I was convicted of drink driving, sept 2000 can I now send my licence off to be removed !
LEESY - 1-May-11 @ 11:59 AM
i was banned for drinkdriving and recieved a 15 month driving ban but im not sure if i got any points on my licence how do i find out??
burnleyfc - 22-Apr-11 @ 6:32 PM
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