The consequences of a conviction for drink driving can have a huge impact on your life. Depending on the nature of the offence, those found guilty will receive points on their licence, a driving ban that can potentially last several years, and in some cases a prison sentence.
If you find yourself facing a drink driving charge you need to access legal advice at the earliest possible stage to give yourself the best chance of retaining your licence, and to avoid other serious repercussions.
Motoring offences are often complex in nature, there are strict procedural rules that the police are required to follow when charging someone with drink driving, and failure to adhere to these can see a case thrown out. The Criminal Defence Solicitors at Wilford Smith, with many years of experience of defending road traffic cases, have the skills and expertise to identify any errors or omissions in the case against you, enabling you to plan your defence in the most effective way. Our team will work ruthlessly to develop high-level strategies through our skill, hard work and determination. Accessing quality legal advice as soon as possible provides you with much-needed reassurance at a difficult time, as well as giving you the best chance of avoiding a driving ban. Contact our specialist Road Traffic Defence Team today to find out how we can help.
What are the drink driving limits in England and Wales?
The level of alcohol in your system is dependent on a range of factors, with the number of alcoholic drinks you have consumed being only one of these factors. Your size, weight, the times at which you have consumed alcohol, and whether or not you have eaten will also play a role in affecting the amount of alcohol in your system. If the police stop you while driving and they have reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of alcohol, you will usually be asked to provide a breath sample. If for any reason it is not possible for the police to take a breath sample, you may be asked to provide a sample of urine or blood. The official drink driving limits are:
- Breath alcohol maximum: 35 micrograms in 100ml
- Urine alcohol maximum: 107 milligrams in 100ml
- Blood alcohol maximum: 80 milligrams in 100ml
What does it mean to be ‘Driving with Excess Alcohol’?
It is an offence to drive any ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’ on a public road, or in a place to which members of the public have access when you are over the prescribed alcohol limit. If you are convicted of Driving with Excess Alcohol you will face a mandatory 12-month disqualification from driving.
For those who find themselves subject to this charge, our solicitors will look to ensure that the required procedures regarding the collection of breath, urine or blood samples have been complied with, and that the police have followed correct procedure regarding the making of an arrest. In many cases, errors on the part of the police at this stage can form the basis of an effective defence.
What does it mean to be ‘Drunk in Charge’?
Being Drunk in Charge differs from Driving with Excess Alcohol in that it is not clear that a person has actually been ‘driving'. This charge will often be pursued when the police have evidence that a person was in control of a vehicle, but not that they were driving it, usually because the vehicle is stopped at the time when it comes to the attention of the police.
If you are convicted of being Drunk in Charge you face a range of penalties, including ten penalty points on your licence and up to three months in prison. There is no single test for establishing that someone is in control of a vehicle. In seeking to contest this charge, our team of solicitors will look to establish that the vehicle was not driven, nor was there any intention to drive the vehicle, while excessive levels of alcohol were present, and will explore all circumstances surrounding the arrest to challenge any potential disqualification.
What is ‘failing to provide a specimen’?
You will be charged with failing to provide a specimen if you are stopped on suspicion of being over the legal alcohol limit and you refuse to provide a sample as requested by the police, or are unable to do so. Such charges can be contested if it can be demonstrated that police did not follow rules and procedures, or that the defendant had a reasonable excuse for failing to provide police with a specimen.
What are ‘special reasons’?
In some cases, there may be no defence to the charge of drink driving, but there may be ‘special reasons’ surrounding the offence which can be relied on to avoid a disqualification. Examples of special reasons include a drink being spiked, being under duress, or driving a particularly short distance. While these arguments can be difficult to raise, the Criminal Defence Team at Wilford Smith will work on your behalf to gather expert evidence and cross-examine witnesses to argue special reasons if appropriate.
Why choose Wilford Smith?
Here at Wilford Smith, our Criminal Defence Lawyers take a robust approach to defending drink driving cases in order to protect our clients’ rights and get the best possible outcome for them. We are aware that procedural errors can occur when the police stop and arrest for drink driving. That is why our team will examine the facts and evidence thoroughly and identify any areas of concern. We understand how worrying it can be to be stopped and arrested by the police. We will explain everything to you clearly and use our skills and experience to mount a forceful defence.
Contact our Drink Driving Defence Solicitors, England and Wales
If you have been charged with drink driving contact us without delay. OurCriminal Defence Lawyers are based in Sheffield and London and serve clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 01709 828 044 to find out how we can help.