Drink Driving Offences

Drink driving is a broad term, covering everything from being in control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (even if stationary), to causing death by careless driving while under the influence.

If you’ve been arrested for or charged with a drink driving offence, whatever it may be, it is essential to have a skilled motoring law solicitor in your corner to help you navigate the complicated criminal justice system, defend your position, and preserve your legal rights.

At Gepp Solicitors, we provide a comprehensive criminal defence service and if you need us, we will be by your side from the moment you’re arrested, to the conclusion of your case. We attend police stations to assist clients who have been arrested, and several of our team are Higher Courts Advocates, meaning they can represent clients even in the most serious of cases in all courts.

For further advice and information relating to our motoring law services, get in touch with our motoring law solicitors in Chelmsford and Colchester by calling 01206 369889, or filling in our enquiry form.

We also have an out-of-hours emergency line, so if you need instant legal representation (for example, you’ve been arrested) call 01245 358894 as soon as you can.

Our motoring law solicitors’ expertise

Our motoring law solicitors can advise and represent you in relation to all drink driving offences, including:

  • Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit through drink
  • Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink
  • Refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis
  • Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink

As well as being at risk of losing your liberty, your driving licence, and gaining a criminal record, if you are convicted of a drink driving offence, you could also encounter the following problems:

  • If you drive for work, your employer can see your conviction
  • Car insurance will significantly increase
  • You may be unable to travel to countries such as the USA

Our highly experienced motoring law lawyers understand you are probably feeling very distressed and concerned about the impact on your career and personal life. We aim to help you resolve your matter as efficiently as possible, minimising damage to your reputation and personal life wherever possible.

Drink driving FAQs

Will I go to prison for drink driving?

If you are convicted of drink driving, you could face a jail sentence varying between 3 months and 14 years depending on the type of offence committed.

Depending on the circumstances you may receive another penalty, including a fine, a suspended sentence, or unpaid work.

Does drink driving mean an automatic ban?

In most situations, you will be banned from driving if convicted of a drink driving offence and you will need to reapply for your licence after your disqualification ends.

If you are convicted of driving or attempting to drive while under the influence, the minimum disqualification period is 1 year.

If you are convicted of refusing to provide a specimen or breath, blood or urine, the minimum disqualification period is 1 year.

If you are convicted of causing death by careless driving while under the influence, the minimum disqualification period is 2 years and you must take an extended driving test before you can get your licence back.

You may not necessarily be banned from driving if you are convicted of being in control of a vehicle while under the influence of drink.

There is a very discrete area of law relating to what is called 'special reasons' which must relate to how the offence is committed which can sometimes avoid a disqualification.

What are the penalties for drink driving?

As well as the above driving bans, you could receive the following penalties for drink driving offences:

  • Being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence – up to £2,500 fine and 3 months’ imprisonment
  • Driving or attempting to drive while under the influence – an unlimited fine and up to 6 months’ imprisonment
  • Refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood, or urine – an unlimited fine and up to 6 months’ imprisonment
  • Causing death by careless driving while under the influence – an unlimited fine and up to 14 years’ imprisonment

What is a ‘high risk offender’?

A high risk offender cannot get their driving licence back after a conviction until they pass a DVLA appointed medical examination and their driving bans will be longer than other offenders’. You will be a high risk offender if you:

  • Have been convicted of 2 drink driving offences within 2 years
  • Have an alcohol reading of at least:
    • 87.5mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
    • 265.7mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
    • 200mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
  • Refuse to provide the police with a sample of breath, blood, or urine for analysis
  • Refuse to consent to blood being tested for alcohol

Should I get a solicitor for drink driving?

You should always seek the advice of a motoring offences solicitor with expertise in drink driving offences when under investigation or charged with a drink driving offence, even if you plan to plead guilty in court.

A skilled solicitor will:

  • Provide you with advice on your options
  • Represent you at the police station if you are arrested, including accompanying you to interviews and requesting bail from the police
  • Representing you at bail hearings
  • Representing you at court hearings, including helping you enter your plea, putting forward your defence case (if necessary), ensuring your case is conducted fairly, arguing any ‘special reasons’ not to disqualify you from driving (such as your drink was spiked), and arguing mitigating factors to try and get your sentence reduced if possible

Does a drink driving conviction show on a CRB/DBS?

A DBS check (formally known as a CRB check) flags to potential employers whether you have any past criminal convictions, cautions, or warnings on your record.

However, many convictions will become ‘spent’ after a certain period of time (called a Rehabilitation Period) and will no longer show up on DBS checks. For adults over age 18, the rehabilitation periods for drink driving offences are as follows:

  • Custodial sentence over 48 months – never spent. This conviction will always show up on a DBS check
  • Custodial sentence of 30-48 months – 7 years from end of sentence
  • Custodial sentence of 6-30 months – 4 years from end of sentence
  • Custodial sentence up to 6 months – 2 years from end of sentence
  • Probation Order – 12 months from end of order
  • Community Order – 12 months from end of order
  • Fine – 1 year from the date of conviction
  • Conditional Discharge Order – from the last day of the order

Is legal aid available for drink driving?

You may be able to claim legal aid to help you pay the costs of hiring a motoring offences solicitor if you pass two tests:

  • Financial means test – you may qualify for legal aid if you are on a low income or state benefits
  • Interests of justice test – you will only qualify if your personal circumstances meet certain criteria, including:
    • You’re likely to lose your liberty
    • You’re likely to lose your livelihood
    • You’ll suffer serious damage to your reputation
    • You cannot understand the court proceedings
    • You’re unable to present your own case in court
    • You need to trace and interview witnesses

We can provide you with tailored advice on your potential eligibility for legal aid as well as helping you fill out the relevant application forms.

Where legal aid is unavailable or you wish to pay privately enabling choice of advocate, we will be happy to discuss pricing with you to ensure you are able to access professional legal advice without breaking the bank. Wherever possible, we can also agree fixed fees calculated according to the individual circumstances of your case.

Why choose us?

At Gepp Solicitors, we pride ourselves on being skilled, having expertise and knowing the courts with our solicitors having decades of experience.

We are accredited by the Law Society in Criminal Litigation for our expertise in advising and representing clients through criminal proceedings.

We are also accredited in Lexcel for our devotion towards exceptional client care and legal practice management. When you instruct our expert motoring offences lawyers in Essex, you can trust that we will resolve your case as efficiently, practically, and cost-effectively as possible.

Gepp Solicitors is independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Get in touch with our motoring law solicitors in Essex

For further advice and information relating to our motoring law services, get in touch with our motoring law solicitors in Chelmsford and Colchester by calling 01206 369889, or filling in our enquiry form.

We also have an out-of-hours emergency line, so if you need instant legal representation (for example, you’ve been arrested) call 01245 358894 as soon as you can.