Driving a Vehicle with Excess Alcohol 

It is an offence to drive a vehicle when you have more than the prescribed limit of alcohol in your system.

The police can request 3 types of sample from you to test how much alcohol you have in your system, these are:

  • A sample of breath – The maximum amount of alcohol allowed in your breath is 35mg.  If you have more than 35mg of alcohol in your breath specimen you may be prosecuted for an offence
  • A sample of blood – the maximum amount of alcohol allowed in your blood specimen is 80ml.  If you have more than this you may be prosecuted
  • A sample of urine – The maximum amount of alcohol allowed in your specimen is 107ml.  If you have more than this you may be prosecuted.

Sentencing for driving with excess alcohol

The sentencing powers for this type of offence are:

  • Maximum 6 months custody, Community penalty or a maximum fine of £5,000
  • Mandatory disqualification from driving for a minimum of 12 months
  • If you are sentenced to a 2nd drink driving offence in a 10 year period then the minimum disqualification is 3 years.

General Information

Potential defence to driving with excess alcohol could be:

  • Procedural irregularities meaning prosecution evidence is inadmissible
  • Was not driving the vehicle
  • Post incident drinking or hip flask defence.  This is when you have only drunk alcohol after you have driven the vehicle

When stopped for driving with excess alcohols there are a number of procedures that the police must undertake.  If these are not carried out then the evidence the police obtain i.e. your sample could be inadmissible.  This could result in the CPS discontinuing the case.

If you wish to rely on the post-incident drinking or hip flask defence then it is important that you obtain an expert medical report.  This will show how much alcohol if any was in your system at the time of driving the vehicle.

This is a very specialised area of law and we, therefore, recommend if you face this allegation to contact a specialist as soon as possible.

We will review your case and advise you pragmatically on the prospects of success.  We may advise that the evidence is so strong that you should plead guilty. If this is the case we will help to minimise the offence and for you to receive the most lenient sentence possible.

If you are sentenced we will also ask that you are given the opportunity to complete the Drink drivers rehabilitation course.  This is a 1 to 2 day course.  When completed it will reduce your disqualification by  ¼.