The law is clear on driving once you have consumed alcohol. The limit is strict. If you drive a motor vehicle once you have consumed alcohol, you are at risk of committing an offence.
In England and Wales the legal alcohol limits are:
- 35 microgramms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath
- 80 milligramms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
- 107 milligramms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.
It is not possible to say how much alcohol you can drink and remain below the legal limit. Alcohol affects people in different ways. Your height, weight, age, sex and your metabolic rate can affect how you dissipate the alcohol your body has consumed.
Alcohol and personal issues are no excuse!
We will all be familiar with the recent case involving Ant McPartlin. He was involved in a collision with two cars, and breathalysed providing a reading of 75 microgrammes in 100 millilitres of breath. The collision was an aggravating feature of the case.
The fine of £86,000 is based on a Band C Fine of the Sentencing Guidelines, a starting point based on 150% of your relevant weekly income. The disqualification bracket for this reading is between 17 months and 22 months. The outcome for Ant was then clearly in accordance with the Sentencing Guidelines, and the Judge commented on his high culpability in this case and provided credit for his guilty plea. Although she took into account his recent relapse and his commitment to addressing the problems that he has.
Ant was also given the opportunity of the Drink Drive Rehabilitation Course and, if he completes the course, his ban could be reduced to 15 months, as long as he completes the course by the date provided to him in Court. This is at a further cost but the reduction in the ban certainly makes this attractive to those convicted of drink driving.
Ant has gone on to say how ashamed and mortified he was.
“But I can handle it!”
In January 2018, TV presenter Chris Tarrant was fined £6,000 and banned from driving for a year after he admitted drink driving after a lunchtime visit to a local pub.
He had drunk in the pub, bar staff became concerned and called the police and he was breathalysed at his home address before providing an evidential reading of 50 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath in the police station.
It was reported in The Guardian at the time of the sentence that Mr Tarrant had offered his apologies for taking the decision to drive that day. It was said to the Court that he did not think he was over the limit; he was over the limit, he had made a mistake and Mr Tarrant accepted through his Counsel that he should not have driven.
There were some interesting aspects to this case as, initially, post-driving consumption was raised by Mr Tarrant. This can be a defence in certain cases and legal advice at the police station/ prior to plea would be recommended.
Previous drink driving
Sunderland AFC player Darron Gibson appeared in Court in South Tyneside when he was involved in a collision in March, whilst on his way to the training ground. The former Manchester United and Everton player pleaded guilty and he was warned that he could be sentenced to a custodial penalty because of his past drink driving convictions and aggravating features in the case.
Mr Gibson was nearly three times over the legal limit.
The Magistrates Court Sentencing Guidelines provide guidance for Magistrates on the level of sentence to impose. Given the nature of the case, a custodial sentence can be expected together with a disqualification of between 36 and 52 months. It was his second offence for drink driving within ten years years and, in these circumstances, the minimum mandatory ban increases from twelve months to three years as a result.
Beware the morning after…
Milne Moser Solicitors have represented numerous clients in drink driving matters in circumstances where they believe they have been fine to drive the next morning. You could still be over the legal limit many hours after your last drink and even if you have slept, eaten and drank coffee – it takes time for the alcohol to leave from your system and, naturally, the more you drink the longer it takes.
If you plan to drive the morning after, you need to consider the implications. Not drinking at all would be the best option.
Help is at hand!
Every case will be unique; it is therefore important if you are arrested or charged for drink driving that you contact a solicitor and obtain expert legal advice on your individual circumstances.
Milne Moser can help, so if you end up in the unfortunate situation of needing advice on this subject, give us a call on 01539 729 786 in the first instance and we shall advise accordingly.