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Motor Accident?

Penalties for drink driving. 28/06/13


Drink driving is serious offence.

Anyone who chooses to drink and drive risks not only their own life, but also the lives of their passengers and other road users.

In 2011 the number of people estimated to have been killed or seriously injured as a result of drink driving was 1,570, which is a 5% increase on the previous year.


Being in charge of a vehicle while above
the legal limit or unfit through drink


May result in:

  • 3 months’ imprisonment
  • up to £2,500 fine
  • a possible driving ban


Driving or attempting to drive while above
the legal limit or unfit through drink


May result in:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • up to £5,000 fine
  • a driving ban for at least 1 year (3 years if convicted twice in 10 years)


Refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis


May result in:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • up to £5,000 fine
  • a ban from driving for at least 1 year


Causing death by careless driving when under
the influence of drink


May result in:

  • 14 years’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least 2 years
  • an extended driving test before your licence is returned


The High Risk Offenders Scheme


If you are a ‘high risk offender’, your driving licence won’t be returned automatically at the end of a driving ban. You’ll only get your licence back if you pass a medical examination.

You are considered a high risk offender if you:

  • were convicted of 2 drink driving offences within 10 years
  • were driving when you were at 2.5 times or more the legal alcohol limit
  • refused to give the police a sample of breath, blood or urine to test for alcohol
  • refused to allow a sample of your blood to be tested for alcohol (eg if it was taken when you were unconscious)


Other consequences you could face


If you are for drink driving you could also find that:

  • your car insurance costs will increase significantly
  • if you drive for work, your employer will see your conviction on your licence
  • you may have trouble travelling to countries like the USA


How to avoid a drink drive conviction


The best way to avoid a drink drive conviction is to not drink at all. Even small amounts of alcohol can affect your ability to drive safely.

If you want to drink on a night out, arrange for one person to stay sober and do all the driving. Alternatively hire a minibus, a taxi or use public transport instead.

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