Drink Driving

drink driving
Legally reviewed by: Kevin Waddingham

At Cartwright King we have a national team of Drink Driving Solicitors who are on hand to defend your licence. We understand how important your licence is which is why we provide free initial telephone advice on our dedicated motoring line. We have a vast amount of experience in successfully defending people accused of drink driving related offences. We have Legal 500 solicitors across the country which means we can assist wherever you are and we also offer fixed fees.

Your Drink Driving defence

Motoring matters are by their nature complex, this often results in procedural errors being made by the police.  In such cases we may advise you to plead not guilty and seek to get the case dropped at Court.

Our drink driving solicitors are well versed in the procedural rules that the police need to adhere to and are experts in looking for errors or omissions.

Each case is different and considered on its own facts which is why it is important to speak to us early on. We can obtain all the facts and where necessary instruct an expert to provide evidence.

Being charged with a drink driving offence is a serious matter. Our team regularly defends individuals in the whole range of drink driving related offences such as:

Excess Alcohol

Driving a ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’ on any public road or a place to which the public have access, whilst you are over the prescribed alcohol limit is an offence.

There may be procedural errors in the police’s handling of the arrest or taking of evidence. This can lead to a successful defence or the case being dropped by the court. Call us today to discuss your circumstances.

If you are convicted, the Court must impose a minimum penalty is a 12 month driving ban, which is why it’s important to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

Drunk in charge

This charge is brought where there is no evidence of “driving”. You may be not guilty if we can show that the vehicle would not have been driven while levels of alcohol were over the limit. In these cases the Court has a minimum sentence of 10 penalty points, but in serious cases immediate bans can follow. Speaking to our solicitors will ensure you have the best chance of avoiding that.

Failing to provide a specimen

If you were unable to provide a specimen and the police charged you, the Court’s starting point is an 18 month ban. However by contacting our motoring team this may be avoided.

The offences usually happen when someone is suspected of drink driving and, arrested but refuses or fails to allow a specimen to be taken. There can be valid defences if certain procedures are not followed or if you have a reasonable excuse. Contact us today for further advice.

What are Special Reasons for Driving Offences

In some cases, there may be no defence to run, however there may be special reasons for the offence. If established these reasons can give the Court a discretion not to impose the otherwise inevitable ban from driving. An argument for special reasons, will be something which does not amount to a defence and relates directly to the reason the offence was committed. Some examples include:

  • Being under duress
  • Drinks were spiked
  • Driving only a short distance
  • And many more.

These are difficult arguments to raise and often involve evidence from experts and cross examination of various witnesses. We have a vast amount of experience in arguing special reasons.

Why choose Cartwright King to defend against your Drink Driving charge?

Our drink driving solicitors are on hand to look through all the elements of your charge. We can advise you if a defence is available and fully prepare it and provide legal representation. We always fight to ensure the best outcome for our clients.

We will explain the process to you and the likely outcomes, advising every step of the way.

We understand that these matters may affect your career, business and family life which are why we’re here to take the worry off your hands.

If you are thinking of pleading guilty you should contact us for a free initial telephone discussion as this may not be your only option.

We can also help if you are pleading guilty, by arguing for leniency in the penalties that the court may impose.

Please remember that drink driving offences can lead to:

  • The loss of your job
  • Medical examinations before driving again
  • Rehabilitation courses
  • Potential imprisonment (in more serious cases or repeat offenders)
  • Visa restriction in Australia and USA
  • Heavy fines
  • Criminal Record

We're here for you.

Frequently asked questions.

What are the drink driving limits?

Alcohol levels depend on many factors. The alcohol content of your drink is only one factor. Your weight and size also come into play, along with the timings of your drinks and how much you’ve eaten.

If equipment is not available or there is some reason preventing a breath sample, the Police may take a sample of urine or blood and send it for analysis.

If you are currently waiting for your results, please call or email us for advice.

Below are the official drink driving limits:

  • Breath Alcohol Maximum – 35 micrograms in 100ml
  • Urine Alcohol Maximum – 107 milligrams in 100ml
  • Blood Alcohol Maximum – 80 milligrams in 100ml

What are the penalties for drink driving?

The penalties for drink driving vary depending upon the circumstances.

The maximum is: an unlimited fine, up to 6 months imprisonment and a minimum period of a 12 month disqualification.

The penalty depends on the level of alcohol in your blood at the time of the offence and whether there were any other features to your case like an accident. Fines are based on the level of your weekly income. You will also have to pay prosecution costs and a victim surcharge. In more serious cases the court will consider extending the minimum ban, adding a community order and in some cases imposing a prison sentence.

For second offences within 10 years there is a strict minimum 3 year ban, in addition to possible community orders or a prison sentence.

For repeat offences the court will consider more severe penalties or prison.

Can I do a rehabilitation course?

The Court will usually offer a rehabilitation course, which has the effect of reducing the driving disqualification by 25%. However, this is usually only offered on the first offence. The Court has a discretion and does not have to offer the course. This usually happens if there are previous convictions. We can argue on your behalf to persuade the court to offer the course if necessary.

Will I get a criminal record for a drink driving offence?

Yes, even motoring offences are criminal offence and will go on your record. They must be disclosed in most situations and many employers make strict enquiry about motoring offences and points. If you are in any doubt, check with one of our solicitors.

How long will drink driving stay on my licence?

The conviction will remain on your driving record for life, but will only directly affect sentence if another offence is committed within 10 years. The paper licence has been abolished, and you can now check your licence by using the DVLA website.

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