What Happens in Court for Drink Driving

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What Happens in Court for Drink Driving

Being caught driving under the influence can be a worrying and uneasy time - if you are found guilty of drink driving, you could face a series of punishments.

At Bell Lamb & Joynson, we can explain what to expect from a court case for drink driving. Read on to find out what happens if you are charged with drink driving and what to expect in court, so you can be prepared for whatever may happen.


The Law on Drink Driving

The law in England and Wales is clear on the drink driving limits. If the police suspect you have been drinking alcohol while operating a vehicle, they can check if you are over the legal limit using a breath, urine, or blood test.

The breathalyser test is the most common way to test the amount of alcohol in your system. The police can stop you at any time and ask you to take a breath test if they believe you have:

  • Been drinking alcohol.
  • Committed a traffic offence.
  • Been involved in a road traffic accident.

If you are under the legal drink driving limit, you will be free to go. Failing the breathalyser test will result in being taken down to the police station for a final breath test. You will be charged if you fail the final test. Refusing the breath test without any special reasons or excuses can result in your arrest.


A Drink Driving Conviction

A conviction for drink driving can have serious ramifications - for example, it can impact your work if your job requires you to drive as you may you end up with a driving disqualification. You could also face a large penalty fine.


The Arrest

Drink driving offences commonly begin with an arrest, whether you have been pulled over by the police or involved in a traffic accident.


What Happens Next?

If you have been released on bail with the instruction to attend a court hearing, we recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Attending court for drink driving can be a daunting and overwhelming experience, especially if you have never been to court before.


The Penalties You Could Face

The penalties for drink driving vary depending on the severity of the offence and what you have been charged with.

The court will judge the case depending on the severity of the offence, decided by the Magistrates’ Court. The possible charges you could be facing involve:

  • a fine of up to £2,500.
  • A driving ban.
  • A prison sentence.

There are several factors that can affect how your case goes, the outcome of sentencing you will receive, and how you plead. For example, if your drinking caused dangerous driving, if you caused a motor traffic accident, if people were hurt, or if you caused death due to your driving.

A minimum 12-month driving ban will be imposed, which will increase to three years if you are convicted twice within a 10-year period. A disqualification is a mandatory sentence that will be imposed by the court unless there is an exceptional, special reason behind the commission of the offence.

An unlimited fine may be granted in the insurance of excess alcohol consumed. If you are charged with causing death by careless driving while under the influence of alcohol, the penalty can be:

  • Up to 14 years in prison
  • An unlimited fine.
  • A two-year ban.
  • An extended driving test to get your driving licence back after completing your
  • driving disqualification.


Things to Avoid

The best course of action to avoid drinking and driving is to abstain from alcohol if you plan to drive and choose alcohol-free beverages as an alternative.

Exceeding the drink-drive limit without realising it is all too easy, and units of alcohol affect everyone differently, so it is best to abstain altogether.

Your drink-driving actions could have life-changing consequences in the future. It is recommended that you avoid driving to your court hearing. This is because if you are found guilty of drinking and driving and are issued a driving ban, it will take effect immediately. Driving whilst disqualified could result in imprisonment.


Other Problems You Could Face

Other problems you may face include not automatically regaining your licence if you are a high-risk offender, significantly increased car insurance costs, and difficulty travelling to countries such as the USA. If driving is necessary for your job, your employer will see your conviction on your licence.


Bell Lamb & Joynson Can Help

Bell Lamb & Joynson can assist you with all aspects of motor and road traffic law, including drink-driving charges. Together, we can work towards the best possible outcome for your court case. You can have an idea of your sentence by utilising our drink drive calculator.

As road traffic offences are becoming increasingly complex, it is crucial to seek the right legal advice when facing a drink-driving charge. Our team can provide proper representation in court to prevent licence endorsement and driving disqualification, so contact us today.

For more information about the legal services, we offer at Bell Lamb & Joynson Solicitors, please visit our website, where you will find all of our contact details.

Mike Leeman

Mike is a specialist criminal defence solicitor with over 25 years experience in this field.  Mike attended Calday Grange Grammar school on the Wirral and then studied at Sheffield Hallam University followed by the University of Sheffield.