Drink Driving Solicitors
Call Freephone 0800 1389 123 Driving Offence Solicitors
request a call back from our driving offence solicitors

Limits, Units and Drink driving defences

April 7, 2020 by in category Drink Driving, News with 0 and 0
Home > News > Drink Driving > Limits, Units and Drink driving defences
drink drive limits units defence

In England and Wales, it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle when the proportion of alcohol in your system is above the legal limit – s.5 Road Traffic Act 1988.

The drink-driving limit in England and Wales is 35 micrograms per 100 Millilitres of breath, 80 Milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood or 107 Milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine.

There are various reasons why this law is in place, the most obvious reason being to protect the safety of pedestrians and other road users.

When a person consumes alcohol it can affect their ability to drive safely. This is because the processing of information becomes more difficult which can lead to delayed reaction times and your ability to judge certain situations are impeded. This could ultimately lead to a road traffic accident.

Why is it unsafe to use units of alcohol as a driving measure

Units of alcohol were first introduced in the UK in 1987 to help people gauge how much they were drinking from a health perspective.

One unit of alcohol is 10 ml or 8 grams of alcohol. This measurement helps to quantify the amount of alcohol contained in any alcoholic drink and provides the drinker with an indication as to the strength of their drink.

On average, it takes a person approximately one hour to process one unit of alcohol, but this will vary from person to person and will depend on the following:

height and weight drink driving
gender drink driving
health drink driving
medication drink driving
eating drink driving
metabolism drink driving

It is therefore extremely difficult to specify exactly how much one person should be allowed to drink and how safe under the limit they would be after consuming even one drink. We frequently help people faced with a drink driving prosecution who consumed very low levels of alcohol yet still tested over the limit.

Although we would never recommend that you go by units alone, a rough guide:

A glass of wine contains approximately 2.3 units of alcohol
A pint of beer contains approximately 2.3 units of alcohol
A single shot of spirit contains approximately 1 unit of alcohol

Common misconceptions about drink driving defences

The following issues are commonly raised by people when enquiring with us but sadly, these arguments will not be accepted as a valid defence:

Commonly raised arguments that will not be accepted as a valid defence
I only drank 1 unit of alcohol before driving
I had nothing to eat
I was drinking doubles and thought I was drinking single shots (this one is not a defence but could be a special reason)
I was on anti-depressants or other medication (although we will always check whether the medication could have had some impact)
My name is spelled incorrectly on the charge sheet
The time of the breath test is wrong
I was only moving my car to avoid getting a ticket (again, this could be a special reason)
The police did not breathalyse me before giving me my keys back to ensure I was back under the limit
The police put me in handcuffs when they arrested me
I was not allowed to speak to a solicitor when I asked (although see below)
I was not allowed to give a blood or urine test instead of a breath test (this is only allowed/required in a handful of scenarios and is not an absolute right)

Although it is no defence to a drink driving charge to say you had XX number of units but because you had a slow metabolism or had not eaten that day, there are many defences to a drink drive charge often capable of securing a NOT GUILTY verdict.

The team at Geoffrey Miller Solicitors are experts at analysing cases to identify multiple defences in most cases. We work at the leading edge of this niche area of law and are often responsible for devising new defence strategies in this ever evolving area.

The most common factual defences are
I drank alcohol after driving (hip-flask defence)
I drove as I was in fear of my life or the life of another (duress)
I drove on private land only (for this defence to be accepted, the court must be convinced that the land was restricted by way of access to members of the public either by signage in place, a barrier or membership)
I was not driving/had no intention to drive
I was denied access to a solicitor – this is a defence in certain circumstances. The police do not have to ensure you have the opportunity to speak with a solicitor if it will delay the drink drive procedure. If no delay is likely, then you should still be afforded this right and denial of it can amount to a defence. The full circumstances of the case will be relevant for this defence to succeed
The breath, blood or urine test was wrong
My blood or urine has been tested under the limit but the police sample is over the limit
I was not offered the breath printout/blood/urine
Police Procedure – this is a minefield! Where there is a delay between arrest and charge or appearing in court, taking your full recollection of the arrest process is essential as your memory is likely to fade over time

In the unfortunate event that you are charged with drink driving or another related matter or waiting to be charged with an offence of this nature, please contact us where we will be able to provide you with full professional advice and assistance.

Call Us Now Free on 0800 1389 123

Call Geoffrey Miller Solicitors 24 hours 7 days a week

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.

Add comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Geoffrey Miller Solicitors is a trading name of Jeanette Miller Law Limited, a Limited Company Registered in England and Wales. Company No: 8214795.
Registered Office: Riverside House Kings Reach Business Park, Yew Street, Stockport, United Kingdom, SK4 2HD.
Authorised and Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority No: 573314 VAT No:162576593.
Managing Director: Jeanette S. Miller Director: Tara Boyle. View our Website Terms of Use, Privacy and Cookies policy, Accessibility Policy, Personal Indemnity Insurance Policy, Sitemap.
Please note that our calls may be recorded for training and/or contractual purposes.

Geoffrey Miller Solicitors
geoffrey miller solicitors motoring law experts
CALL NOW 7 DAYS A WEEK 9AM to 10PM FREEPHONE 0800 1389 123