Drink Driving

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Drink driving offences are complex and because they are based on technical procedures, errors can lead to a successful defence being mounted.

Breath testing devices, which are approved by the Home Office, measure the amount of alcohol in your body.  In addition , evidence can be obtained from a blood or urine sample and the analysis is measured by using different tests.

Where the procedure for obtaining the specimens is not followed because of  the way in which the machines are used or the process for obtaining the specimens is defective, then a successful defence can be mounted.

If you have consumed alcohol after your driving has stopped you may have a defence and it is important to recall the amount and type of alcohol consumed to enable calculations to be obtained by experts.

Drink Drive Limits

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.

Drink Drive Defences

The Courts view this as a serious offence and in some cases punishment can include imprisonment.  Defences can be considered where the police have not followed the correct procedures or when you can show you were not the driver at the time.  If you have drunk alcohol since you finished driving then this can be measured and subtracted from the alcohol you had in your body at the time you were driving.This is known as  "back calculation".

Although not a full defence, it could be that your drinks had been “spiked” and you were unaware of this at the time of drinking.  It will be necessary to obtain supporting evidence and in many cases, we will require to instruct a medical or forensic expert.  This could amount to special reasons for the Magistrates Court not to disqualify you from driving.

The law only prohibits you from committing this offence if you are driving on a road or public place.  Whilst it may seem obvious, the actual legal definition of what a road or public place is can be complex and relies on the particular time the offence was committed, the location and use by others.


The Court has power to impose imprisonment of up to 6 months or a financial penalty of up to £5,000 and a minimum disqualification of 12 months. If you have been convicted of a similar matter within the preceding 10 years, then the disqualification will be increased to a minimum of 3 years and any punishment may be more severe.

Related Offences