Drink Driving Solicitors
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Common Questions

We understand you are likely to want immediate answers to your motoring law questions and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is probably why you are reading this page!

We know we can offer numerous options to resolve the problems you face and the best way for us to give specific advice to you is if you get in touch on Freephone 0800 1389 123.

However, we have also set out some common motoring law questions on this page to help you:

1. How many drinks can I have and drive?

There is no definitive answer to this question because much depends on you. Your height, weight, waist measurement, sex, what you have had to eat, the % of alcohol in the drinks you intend to have and the timings of the drinks are all highly relevant variables.

The safest way to be sure that you remain under the legal limit when you drive is to avoid alcohol altogether.

So many of our clients were arrested when they believed they were under the legal limit. It just simply is not worth having to deal with the possible drink driving consequences to “chance it” so our advice is if you plan on drinking, plan your transport too.

2. Does a drink drive charge show up on a CRB check?

Yes, a drink driving conviction is classed as a criminal offence and it will show up on a CRB check.

3. How long does a drink drive charge stay on my licence?

The DR10 (the DVLA code for drink driving) is endorsed on your licence once convicted of the drink drive offence. It remains on your licence for 11 years following conviction. It is there for so long because the law defines a repeat drink driving offence as one that occurs within 10 years of the previous offence and your penalty for a repeat drink drive offence starts at a minimum 3 year disqualification.

Your drink drive conviction no longer “counts” after 10 years but it remains on your licence for 11 years.

4. Do I have to inform my insurers about my drink drive case?

Every insurer has their own smallprint terms and conditions so we would recommend you take a look at these or make an anonymous enquiry with your insurers about this question. We are pretty certain that a drink driving conviction will have to be reported but you may not be obliged to report an arrest or a drink driving charge that you intend to defend. (Despite the attitude of some courts, you are after all, innocent unless proven guilty!)

5. What is the UK drink driving limit?

The drink driving legal limit is dependent on the type of sample you provide:

  • In breath the legal limit is 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath;
  • In blood,  the legal limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood;  and
  • In urine, the legal alchol limit is 107 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.

The police do have a discretion when it comes to the breath reading and will allow you to leave the police station without charge if you provide a reading of 36-39 microgrammes. However, the same discretion is not applied to blood or urine readings. Even if you are only 1 milligram over, you will be charged.

6. Should I have been offered a blood test when I was arrested for drink driving?

The laws relating to drink drive procedure are extremely complex as there are some things the police must do and some you may think are mandatory but they are not.

The police do not have to offer a blood test to you if you have been arrested for drink driving. However, there are a few scenarios where they do have to make a requirement of a blood or urine sample in place of a breath test:

  • a) there are medical reasons why you are unable to provide a breath sample; or;
  • b) the breath testing equipment is unavailable or not operating reliably.

There is no longer an option available to replace a borderline breath sample with a blood or urine sample. This option was abolished in April 2015.

7. What defences are available to drink driving?

How long have you got?! Over our 13 years representing motorists for drink driving cases, the Geoffrey Miller legal team have applied hundreds, if not, thousands of valid and successful defences to drink driving charges.

Some of the defences we have presented are unknown to other lawyers let alone members of the public and to some extent, they are our trade secrets and so we do not plan on publishing details on our website. However, if you want to have the most innovative and knowledgeable drink driving experts handle your defence, all you need to do is contact us for more case specific information about your possible solutions.

8. How long before drink driving becomes a spent conviction?

A conviction becomes “spent” after a set period of time depending on the penalty imposed. Once “spent” it is treated as though it is forgotten for various purposes such as visa applications, job applications, applying for insurance etc.

A drink driving conviction becomes spent 5 years from the date of conviction. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 outlines the legal position on spent convictions.

9. Can you drive after being caught drink driving?

When you leave the police station following a drink drive arrest, it is likely that you are able to legally drive as the police have no power to disqualify you. They can impose a bail condition before you attend court that you are unable to drive but we have never encountered this in any of our cases.

It is likely that you can then continue to drive until you plead guilty at court or, if you are planning on defending the charge, providing you are found NOT GUILTY at trial, your licence remains unaffected.

On rare occasions where the court has concerns over re-offending or your health (e.g. where you have had a blackout at the wheel) the court may impose an interim disqualification whilst your case is ongoing.

If found guilty of drink driving, you will face an immediate minimum driving ban so we always advise clients against driving to court for a sentencing hearing or trial as you may not be able to drive yourself home again.

10. How does drink driving affect insurance?

Many insurers will refuse to insure you following a drink driving conviction.

Of those who continue to offer insurance following a drink driving conviction, they will all take advantage of the much smaller market and charge a significantly increased premium. Most insurers will take your conviction into account for a period of 5 years.

11. Will the police tell my employer about my drink driving conviction?

This depends on what you do. There are some professions that are subject to regulation such as doctors and lawyers. The courts will notify organisations such as the General Medical Council, about your conviction. However, if you work in private industry, the court will NOT notify your employer of your conviction.

You may be contractually obliged to self-report the conviction but this will be a matter for you to consider depending on your own contract of employment or HR handbook.

12. Do I have to retake my driving test after being convicted of drink driving?

The disqualification imposed by the court for the offence of drink driving will not involve you having to take a retest after the period of disqualification ends. However, the DVLA may require you to undergo a medical if you are convicted of a repeat drink driving offence or a “high” reading drink drive offence.

13. Will my drink driving case be heard by a jury?

No. Drink driving is a summary only offence meaning it is heard in the Magistrates’ Court. Jury trials are only conducted in the Crown Court. Your case will be determined by a lay bench of Magistrates or by a single judge.

14. Which court will my drink driving case be heard in?

Your case will be dealt with at the local Magistrates’ Court closest to the police station of the arresting officer in the case.

If you are appealing a drink drive conviction, your appeal may be in the Magistrates’ Court, Crown Court or the High Court.

15. How long will my drink driving case last for?

Much depends on the nature of your plea.If pleading guilty, we would expect your hearing to last for around 30 minutes or so but if there is a lot of evidence to present, it could take longer than this.

If pleading guilty, it is fairly common for the case to be brought before the court within 1 week to 10 days of your arrest.

If you are at risk of a custodial penalty, the court will probably adjourn your case for pre-sentence reports to be compiled by a probation officer and then list the sentencing hearing for a date a week or two following the first hearing.

16. Can I get Legal Aid to defend drink driving?

It is unlikely that many motorists will qualify for legal aid to fund representation for a drink driving offence. The reasons for this are primarily down to the government seeking to reduce the public funding bill and the offence of drink driving being considered too minor to warrant a lawyer at the expense of the public purse. In any event, most motoring law specialists do not work on legal aid rates, typically £60 per hour.

Many motoring policies contain a provision for your defence costs to be paid under the terms of a legal expenses policy. If you have legal expenses cover to assist with this case, please inform us immediately so that we can make the necessary arrangements for the insurer to agree to indemnify your costs.

Please note most insurers have non-expert panel solicitors to represent policyholders under the terms of the policy. Despite what your insurers may tell you, you have freedom of choice to appoint your own solicitors and we are happy to assist in liaising with the insurers on your behalf.

Again, as insurers tend to also seek to save money where they can, they may limit the extent of your cover to legal aid rates. In this situation, we can treat the funds available pursuant to your policy as a partial subsidy with you making up the shortfall.

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Not Sure What to Do About Your Driving Offence?

Most people who get in touch with our team of motor offence expert solicitors are uncertain of their options. They are unaware of any legal defences that may be available and find it difficult to believe that it might be possible to defend the drink driving offence charge they face by using loopholes that apply to the rich and famous! We do represent celebrities but we also represent many hardworking motorists like Brian and we want to help you make the right choice about what you do next.

We are always more than happy to chat things through with potential clients Free of Charge. Call us now on Freephone 0800 1389 123 to speak to one of our specialist motoring offence solicitors. It is only once you decide to instruct us that payment will become necessary and we can often arrange installment plans to assist you. Many satisfied clients have thanked us for offering this free consultation service as it has prevented them from following inaccurate non-expert advice which could have led to them accepting a driving ban unnecessarily.

If you would like to spend more time browsing on the site before you get in touch, make sure you have a look at our specialist motor offence guidance features such as our drink driving ban calculator which will help you to determine the penalty you may face if convicted and our money saving calculator which helps to outline some of the hidden costs of accepting a conviction.

We think we are simply the best in the business but if you are not satisfied in taking our word for it, our unique “ask our clients” testimonials scheme allows you to contact previous clients of the firm to seek a completely independent reference about us and what we might be able to do for you.

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Geoffrey Miller Solicitors are specialists defending drivers nationwide for all types of driving offences. Call our team of expert driving offence solicitors for some free initial advice.


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