Zara Khan

WHP - White Hat Communications
Chicago, IL

    Drink Driving Penalties

    April 1, 2017

    Drink driving penalties in the UK are severe. Not only do they have an immediate impact from the moment you are convicted, but their effects are far reaching, and will influence your day to day life long after you make the mistake. What must be understood is that some elements of the conviction are mandatory, whereas others are discretionary, and therefore it is wise to retain the services of a drink driving Solicitor at an early stage. Here we examine the UK Drink Driving Laws and what a conviction can mean.

    Know your limits

    Perhaps a little known fact is that the limit of alcohol that can lead to a conviction in Scotland is lower (by about a third) than it is in the rest of the UK. However, a conviction in any UK country will count against you across all UK countries and, for example, if you are banned from driving in Scotland, you cannot drive in England, even if that ban was based on a limit that would not have supported a conviction in England.

    The Ban

    A conviction for drink driving carries a 12 month none discretionary ban (3 years if this is a second conviction within 3 years). There is no argument of excessive hardship as there is with totting up offences such as speeding. If found guilty, you will be banned. Causing death whilst driving under the influence carries a minimum 2 year ban plus other severe penalties.

    When you are in charge of a vehicle (not driving but say with the keys in a car park), and you are convicted of being over the limit, the ban is discretionary. However you can get up to 10 points even when you keep your licence.

    It is also possible to receive a ban from driving when you fail to give a sample on request. The intricacies of the UK Drink Driving Laws on this point are probably best left in the hands of a specialised drink driving Solicitor.

    The Fine

    Fines are often based on means tested criteria applied by the judiciary. However, it should be noted that your means may well have suddenly changed with a conviction. You may no longer for example have employment.

    Fines for a drink driving conviction can be up to £5,000.00, or £3,000.00 where you are in charge of a vehicle. Unlimited fines can be applied where your actions have caused a death.

    Again fines for failing to provide a sample vary and as with all fines, they can be mitigated with evidence provided by your drink driving solicitor.


    If your actions have caused a death you could be facing up to 14 years in prison, elsewhere for drink driving, the sentence is up to 6 months, and reduced to 3 months for being in charge. Again your solicitor will be able to present evidence on your behalf to mitigate any possible custodial sentence.

    Additional Penalties

    Although not a penalty itself, it may seem like one, as your conviction will carry a criminal record which will have to be declared, and your insurance premiums, once you get your licence back will sky rocket. You may be obliged to retake your driving test and your licence will be endorsed for up to 11 years with the conviction. Such penalties may affect your ability to work, travel abroad, or seek alternative employment.

    UK Drink Driving Laws heavily penalise those that are convicted, and whilst your Solicitor may reduce a fine or keep you out of jail, you will receive a ban, a criminal record and all the negative impacts that this carries. Mistakes can easily be made, but the ramifications of such mistakes can continue to be felt far into the future.

    Read Zara's other blog entries >

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