Drink Driving Law in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom drunk driving law imposes the following penalties for alcohol related driving offenses:Being in charge of a vehicle while intoxicated and over the legal blood/alcohol limit, without actually driving, can result in a license disqualification, up to 3 months in prison and a maximum fine of £2,500.
Driving or attempting to drive whilst over the legal blood/alcohol limit almost always results in a minimum 12-month driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000 and up to 6 months in prison for serious or aggravated offences. In almost all cases, there is rarely anything a lawyer can do to prevent a disqualification from driving. There are very few opportunities for a drink driving solicitor to mount a successful “technical defence”.
Refusing to supply police with a breath, urine or blood specimen when properly requested can result in a similar penalty.
Under current drunk driving law the police have the legal right to request a breath sample for analysis from anyone who is driving under any circumstances. They also have the power to require a breath test if you are attempting to drive or driving in privately owned land which is accessible by the public. Currently, 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath is the prescribed alcohol limit which is equivalent to 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The request for a breath specimen must come from a uniformed officer with one of the following three conditions being satisfied:-
1. there must be good reason to suspect a person has consumed alcohol
2. the officer has reasonable cause to suspect a moving traffic violation
3. it must be believed that the driver stopped was involved in an accident
If a roadside breath test is positive or if the person refuses to provide a breath sample then the driver will be arrested. At the police station, the driver will again be requested to provide a breath test sample for analysis. The driver will be charged with an offence if the second test results show positive for over the limit alcohol consumption. It is not necessary to have a drink driving solicitor present at the time of the test and the driver does NOT have the right to insist on a blood or urine sample.
If a person fails to provide a breath sample at the police station for any reason without a valid excuse, criminal charges will be pursued and will result in the same penalties as if the person had tested positive. Under current drunk driving law it is rare that a successful technical defence can be made by a drink driving solicitor. A person who is unable to provide a breath test for health reasons should inform the police officer immediately.
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