Driving over the legal alcohol limit can be very dangerous, and the law treats this offence seriously. If you are charged with a drink driving offence you need to secure expert legal advice as soon as possible – and you may be able to keep your driving licence. The expert criminal defence team at Qamar Solicitors are highly experienced in representing clients charged with drink driving offences.
What is ‘drink driving’?
It is illegal under section 5 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to drive (or attempt to drive) a motor vehicle on a road or other public place having consumed so much alcohol that the amount of alcohol in a subsequent breath test (or urine or blood test) exceeds prescribed limits.
If you are suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, you will be asked to step out of your vehicle and provide a breath test. If you refuse to take the breath test you can be arrested (unless you have a good medical reason for refusing), so it is always best to do as you are asked.
If the results of a breath test show that you are over the legal alcohol limit (35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millimetres of breath), you will provide two further samples at the police station to make sure there has not been an error. You may also be asked to provide a blood or urine sample, which can provide more accurate information on the level of alcohol in your system.
The police must abide by strict procedural rules when taking breath, blood or urine samples. If they fail to abide by these rules, the sample may be unreliable and it may form a defence against the charge.
Failure to provide a specimen
If you fail to provide a specimen (for example, if you are simply unable to comply with instructions, or refuse) you can still be charged - and face a driving ban of up to 18 months. However, if you have a reasonable excuse for failing to provide the specimen you must inform your lawyer, as this can help with your defence.
Drunk in charge of a vehicle
The offence of being drunk in charge of a vehicle is not the same as a drink driving offence. You may be charged with being ‘drunk in charge’ if the police are unable to prove that you were actually driving a vehicle while over the legal alcohol limit. However, you will still need expert legal advice, since the penalties can still be serious.
Penalties for drink driving
Penalties for drink driving depend on several factors, for example whether or not it is a first offence. If you are found to have driven (or attempted to drive) over the legal alcohol limit you will receive a 12 month mandatory ban, and penalty points ranging from 3 to 11 points. Serious drink driving offences may attract a custodial sentence.
How can we help?
If you are facing a drink driving charge, you need to secure expert legal advice from lawyers who fully understand the complexities of the law – and can help build a successful defence. At Qamar Solicitors we will take immediate steps to ensure that all proper procedures have been followed and help ensure you are able to accurately and effectively argue your case. It is always best to act as soon as possible, so that we can begin working hard on your behalf – and help you to keep your driving licence.