Driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in the UK is a serious criminal offence. If stopped by the police for drink driving, it is important you obtain expert legal advice from the motoring offence team at Paul Crowley & Co.

If found guilty of driving above the legal drink driving limit the penalty could have far-reaching consequences on your future lifestyle, you could face imprisonment, lose your driving license and face a heavy fine.

If you have been charged with a drink driving offence, before entering a plea speak with Lyndsay Clark from Paul Crowley & Co’s experienced motoring offence team.

Lyndsay is here to help and has provided answers to the questions regularly asked by clients when faced with a drink driving charge.

What happens in court for drink driving?

When you enter the courtroom you will be asked to stand in the dock and confirm your name, address and date of birth and the drink driving charge will be read out to you. You will be asked to confirm whether you plead not guilty or guilty.

If you plead guilty to the charge, the prosecution will give a brief statement of your case and Paul Crowley & Co’s expert will put forward mitigating circumstances on your behalf to reduce the severity of your penalty. The penalty will be decided by the Magistrate.

‘Being stopped by the Police for a drink driving offence can a be a daunting experience. If you have been charged, before entering a plea of guilty or not guilty it is important you get the correct legal advice from an experienced motoring offence solicitor. At Paul Crowley & Co, we will provide you with expert legal advice and representation in all aspects of motoring offences ensuring you receive the best possible outcome.’

Lyndsay Clark | Solicitor
Motoring Offence Expert


How to get off a drink driving charge

There are several defences to drink driving and our expert solicitors will consider all of the facts to establish whether a defence is available to you. They will also ensure that police procedures have been followed correctly and whether your specimen of breath, blood or urine has been taken correctly.

If a defence is available and you win your case after trial you will not be convicted of drink driving.

In some cases there may not be a defence to the charge, however, in certain circumstances there may be special reasons as to why the offence occurred. Whilst a special reason is not a defence it can be an argument put before the court to not impose a disqualification.

When did drink driving become illegal in the UK?

Drink driving became illegal in January 1966, when a new Road Safety Bill set a limit of 80mg of alcohol in 100cc of blood making it an offence to drive when over this limit.

Do I need a solicitor for a drink driving charge?

If you get a court summons or are charged with a drink driving related offence by the police we recommend you seek expert legal advice from Paul Crowley & Co solicitors. Even if you think you do not have a defence and intend to plead guilty, consulting with one of our experienced motoring offence experts will be beneficial to you as we can advise you on many legal aspects to help support and mitigate the severity of the charge against you.

Call Lyndsay now…

If you have been charged with a drink driving offence, it is important to seek the correct professional legal advice. To speak directly with Lyndsay our motoring offence expert call Paul Crowley & Co on 0151 264 6588

Can I get legal aid for drink driving?

All applicants for Legal Aid in the magistrate’s court are means tested. Our team of expert solicitors at Paul Crowley & Co will be able to advise if you are likely to qualify for a legal aid representation order and make an application on your behalf. If you qualify we will represent you and apply to the government for funding to cover the costs of the legal fees.

What is the limit for drink driving?

There are strict alcohol limits for drivers, it’s impossible to say exactly how many drinks you are allowed as each person different. However, the legal limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is:

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

How many points for drink driving?

The only occasion where you could possibly get points and no disqualification is when you are charged with Drunk in Charge of a Vehicle. This is different to drink driving and you only have to be in charge of a vehicle whilst over the limit to be charged with this offence.

How long is a drink driving ban?

Depending on the level of alcohol, disqualification ranges from 12 to 36 months. However, if you have previously been convicted of drink driving in the last 10 years you could be disqualified for up to 60 months depending on the level of alcohol.

When can you drive the morning after drinking?

There could still be enough alcohol in your system to put you well over the drink driving limit. There is no safe way to guarantee that all the alcohol has left your system the following morning.

What is the police procedure for drink driving?

The police can stop you at any time and ask you to take a breath test if they think you’ve been drinking, committed a traffic offence or if you have been involved in a road traffic accident.

What happens if you fail to give a breath test?

If you refuse to take a roadside breath test you can be arrested and possibly charged with Failing to Provide a Sample which carries a minimum 12 month disqualification. This is unless you have reasonable grounds such as a genuine physical or mental condition preventing you from giving a sample.

How long does it take to get the results of a roadside breath test?

The breath test gives a result straight away. If it shows you’re not over the drink drive limit you will be allowed to go.

What happens if I fail a roadside breath test but pass at the police station?

It is the reading at the Police Station that will be used in any court proceedings. If you pass that test, no further action should be taken.

What are the penalties for drink driving?

The penalty for drink driving will depend on your reading and how over the limit you are, but can range anywhere from a 12 month disqualification and a fine to 26 weeks custody.

Can I go to prison for drink driving?

Yes you can, if a case is so serious that community service is deemed an inadequate punishment, a sentence is possible. Causing death by careless driving through the influence of drink or drugs carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.

Free initial consultation

If you have been charged with a drink driving offence, it is important to seek the correct professional legal advice. For initial free confidential advice please call Lyndsay our motoring offence expert call Paul Crowley & Co on 0151 264 6588

What is the minimum ban for drink driving?

A driving disqualification imposed by the court for drink driving will be for a minimum period of 12 months.

How long do you get banned for drink driving?

For first time offenders, drink drivers will be banned for a period of at least 12 months but it can be higher depending on your alcohol reading. If you are convicted of drink driving twice in 10 years then your disqualification will be anything between 36 and 60 months, again, dependant upon your alcohol reading.

Can I reduce my drink driving ban?

If banned from driving for 12 months or more, at the discretion of the court you may be able to reduce the length of your ban by taking a drink drive rehabilitation scheme course (DDRS).

How long does a drink driving endorsement stay on my license?

An endorsement must stay on your driving licence for at least 4 years from either the date of conviction or the date of the offence. However, the offence of drink driving will stay on your licence for 11 years.

How long does drink driving stay on criminal record?

A drink driving conviction is considered spent after 5 years, however, some occupations require convictions to be declared even if they are spent.

Can I be breathalysed while sitting in a parked car?

Yes you can be breathalysed while sitting in a parked car, as a conviction for drink driving does not necessarily involve driving the vehicle.

If you are on a public road, lay-by or designated public parking area, then you are deemed to be “In charge of a motor vehicle in a public place”. If breathalysed and over the limit this is called “drunk in charge of a motor vehicle”.

Can I lose my job for drink driving?

Yes, being found guilty of drink driving can affect your employment status; it depends on your employer.

If found guilty of drink driving will my car insurance go up?

Yes, having a drink driving conviction will significantly increase the cost of your insurance. It is not uncommon for your insurance premium to at least double.


If you have been charged with drink driving or any other motoring offence contact our specialist Motor Offence solicitor Lyndsay Clark now on 0151 264 7363 or email us


We offer advice and representation at Police Stations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the event you need to contact us outside normal office opening hours please call our out of hours number on 07912 068 717.

In the unusual event that you cannot get through on this number, please leave a message or text providing your contact telephone number and your call will be returned within a few minutes.

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