Drink Driving is a Criminal Offence!

The criminal offence of driving with excess alcohol (usually referred to as drink driving) is an offence with significant consequences for those who are convicted of it. If you plead guilty or are found guilty of drink driving, you will usually receive a lengthy disqualification from driving. This could have a huge impact on your work and income as you can no longer drive any vehicle on a public road within the United Kingdom, but you will also receive a criminal record.

If you are here in the UK on a work or other type of Visa, then having a criminal record may affect any decisions the Home Office makes regarding your application. You may also find it really difficult to travel to other countries, like the USA, as you may have to declare if you have any criminal convictions before you travel. 

It is therefore really important you seek expert legal advice from specialist drink drive solicitors at MSR. 


There are a number of offences related to drink drive. These include (but not limited to) some of the following: – 

  • Driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol. 
  • Being in charge of a motor vehicle with excess alcohol. 
  • Failure to provide an evidential specimen for analysis (be it breath, blood or urine) 

The drink driving limit in England and Wales 

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath 
  • 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood 
  • 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine 

The police can require you to take a preliminary road side breath test if they believe you are driving, attempting to drive or are in charge of a motor vehicle on a public road and they: 

  • Reasonably suspect you to have consumed alcohol or are under the influence; or 
  • Reasonably suspect you to have committed a traffic offence whilst driving; or 
  • Reasonably believe you were involved in a road traffic accident. 

If you have a positive road side breath test, then you are likely to be arrested and taken to the police station for a further evidential breath test. If you refuse to co-operate with this road side breath test, you are then at risk of being arrested and then will be required to provide an evidential sample of breath, blood or urine at the police station. 


If you have been arrested on suspicion of a drink driving offence, and taken to the police station, you will be asked to provide an evidential sample of breath, blood or urine. You are usually asked to provide a sample of breath in the first instance, but if you are unable to provide a sample of breath, the police will then ask for a sample of blood or urine. 

If you fail to provide a sample of breath, blood or urine when requested to do so, and if you do not have a reasonable excuse, then you could be committing a criminal offence of failing to provide. 


If you plead guilty or are found guilty after trial of most drink drive offences, you are at risk of the Court imposing any of the following punishments:- 

  • A disqualification from driving for a minimum of 12 months 
  • A financial penalty plus court costs 
  • A community penalty 
  • A custodial sentence 

The sentence will depend on the facts of each individual case. 


If you plead guilty to or are found guilty of drink driving offences you will receive a disqualification from driving. However, in certain circumstances, we can argue special reasons, and if successful, your driving disqualification is significantly reduced or totally avoided. 

A number of examples of special reasons are as follows: –  

  • You drive the vehicle only a very short distance (moving a car a very short distance to safety) 
  • You drive due to an emergency (medical or otherwise) 
  • Your drink has been spiked without your knowledge. 


We have expert lawyers in this field who can assist you with all aspects of your case. If you have been charged with any drink drive offence(s) and need to appear at the Magistrates Court, we will obtain your case papers from the prosecution. You can speak to one of our expert lawyers who will advise you on the evidence and any potential defences. We will use all our experience and tactical knowledge to ensure you obtain the most favourable outcome. We aim to secure you a better outcome than you had hoped. 


We have several offices across England and our lawyers will travel to represent you in Court. We represent clients all over England and Wales and have offices in London, Manchester Luton and Leicester. 


Please contact us to discuss your case and how we can help you. We have provided a short summary of the law and procedure relating to drink driving offences. We can help you avoid getting a driving disqualification and a criminal record. For a much greater in-depth discussion call us now.

*This article is not legal advice but provides a general overview. The specific details of your case will determine the best course of action.