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Drink Driving & the Christmas Festivities

As the festive season approaches you may find friends or members of their family who have been caught driving with drink or some other prescribed substance in their blood over the limits set.

Until earlier this year if a driver provided a sample of breath and the alcohol content was between 35 and 50 µg/100ml of breath, the Police were bound to offer the driver the opportunity of providing an alternate sample of blood. This was to deal with perceived risks in the accuracy of testing equipment. 

It has now been abolished and there is no longer a right to provide the “Statutory option”. At the moment most forces will still only prosecute if the reading is over 40 µg but that may also change. I do not think there is any marginal allowance in Scotland where the limit is now 25µg, effectively making any drinking before driving unwise.

We now see Defendants with readings of 41 being prosecuted. The Police are now equipped with additional equipment which allows Road Side testing for cannabis and cocaine. If a driver is found with amounts in blood over the very low limits set the consequences are now the same as for drink driving, and the Police no longer need to prove impairment.

There is also power to enable the Police to use roadside equipment to take samples which would obviate the need for samples being provided on the Intoxyliser at the Police Station. This is not yet in force mainly because the Police do not yet have the testing equipment, but the thinking is clear; make it very difficult to use a motor vehicle after drinking.

There is no right to delay testing to take legal advice, but early contact with a solicitor will clarify the issues and enable an early check to confirm that procedures have been properly followed.

If someone you know is caught by the procedures a call to our motoring law line on 0800 280 0880 will clarify any issues.

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