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Ross Williams – Criminal Law. On Drink Driving

T’is shortly the time to eat, drink and be merry, but be careful not to mix those festive activities with driving your motor vehicle! Christmas is traditionally a time when the Police concentrate more resources on seeking to catch “Drink Drivers”, often setting up spot checks on commuter routes to check for those who are driving many hours after their last drink but who may still be over the limit.

The Law says that if you are driving your vehicle with more than 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath (or blood or urine equivalents) then you are committing the offence of driving whilst over the prescribed limit and liable to a mandatory disqualification of at least 12 months. The higher over 35 micrograms that you are the longer the disqualification will be and the harsher the financial penalty. There is no limit on the fine as Ant McPartlin (of Ant and Dec fame) discovered to his cost! (£86,000). For readings in excess of 60 micrograms you put yourself at risk of a Community Penalty such as unpaid work as well as a lengthy disqualification and for readings over 119 micrograms there is a very real risk of receiving a Custodial Sentence.

Many drivers attending a party or celebration will believe that if they only have one or two drinks they will be alright. However, there is no guarantee that that will be the case so why risk it. Alcohol affects people differently, not only in relation to their behaviour but the readings that they might provide. Equally, the length of time alcohol will remain in your system will vary for each individual. As a rule of thumb, and not to be relied on, it takes roughly an hour for a single unit of alcohol to leave your system.

Please bear in mind other potential consequences of drink driving. You risk harming yourself or others and if there is any accident you could face far more serious charges in addition to drink driving. Additionally, your insurer may void your policy and sourcing insurance post disqualification will be an expensive exercise.

So by all means enjoy the festive period with a drink or two at your office party or family celebration but if you are drinking don’t drive!

If you need legal advice regarding a motoring offence, contact Ross Williams at Rubin Lewis O’Brien on 01633 867000.

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