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JR Jones Solicitors Birmingham
solicitors Birmingham

Drink Driving

We know that your driving licence is a critical part of your day-to-day life. For many people their employment and family life can depend heavily on being able to drive.

At J R Jones we have a great deal of experience in defending contact usall types of motoring offences.

If you are charged with any drink driving related offence, we aim to achieve the most favourable outcome possible for you. In some cases this may be an acquittal of the charges, in other cases it may mean minimising the sentence imposed by the Courts.

Contact us to speak to one of our specialist motoring offences solicitors who will assess your case and advise you on a possible defence.

Drink driving in England – what is the law?

The law states that if you drive a motor vehicle on a public road or public place with excess alcohol in your breath, blood or urine above the prescribed limit, then you have committed an offence.

The legal limits for drink driving in England are:

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath
  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of blood
  • 107 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml or urine

The most common penalty for a drink driving offence is an automatic disqualification of 12 months. This may be increased up to 60 months for repeat offenders, or for first time offenders with very high alcohol readings. In extreme circumstances the Court may give a prison sentence.

Providing a sample for drink driving offences

The law requires you to provide a specimen for testing either at the roadside or at the Police station. If you fail to do this then you can be charged with Failure to provide a specimen, the penalties for which are broadly similar to the penalties for drink driving offences.

See our web page on Failure to provide a specimen for more information.

Police procedure and possible defences

In some cases it may be appropriate to enter a plea of ‘not guilty’ to a drink driving charge. Our specialist motoring offences solicitors will assess your case and tell you if this approach will be suitable for your case.

In many cases the approach may be to defend your cases on the basis of incorrect procedure being followed by the Police.

Strict procedures exist which the Police must follow in dealing with someone at the roadside who has failed a breath test. An initial roadside test offers an indication only to the Police Officer to determine if they have grounds to arrest you, it is not recognised by the Courts as giving a reading that can lead to a conviction.

This means that a roadside breathalyser test alone is not enough evidence to secure a conviction for drink driving. If a roadside test indicates that you are over the legal limit then the Police must carry out a further fixed position breathalyser test or obtain a urine or blood sample for testing at the Police station.

Strict procedures must be followed by the Police and anyone administering the tests for this evidence to be permissible by the Courts. Failure to carry out any of the procedure correctly may allow the charge to be successfully challenged.

Other possible defences for drink driving

A number of other defences for drink driving exist which may or may not be relevant to your case.

  • You had no choice but to commit the offence - for example if there was a medical emergency and other options were not available, ie, you were unable to phone for an ambulance.
  • Your drink was spiked. This relies on you being able to provide evidence that you had no knowledge of your drink being spiked and that you would otherwise have been under the legal limit.
  • The ‘hip flask’ defence. This is a defence based on thecontact us premise that you were under the legal alcohol limit at the time the offence was alleged and that you were subsequently over the limit only when the breathalyser test was carried out. You must be able to convince the Courts that the alcohol was consumed in-between these two events.
  • You had to drive to avoid physical injury, ie you were under threat.

Please see our page on Defences for motoring offences for more information.

Do I require a solicitor for a motoring offence?

Some people choose to represent themselves in Court to try and save money on legal fees. This is almost always a mistake. The Courts have heard every excuse that exists for motoring offences and will not be impressed by someone with little or no understanding of the law trying to defend themselves.

A specialist motoring offences solicitor with knowledge and experience of the law will offer you the best chance of achieving a favourable outcome in your case.

Contact us to speak to one of our solicitors who will assess your case and advise you on a possible defence.