Drink Driving Solicitors London
Specialists in Drink Driving Offences

Facing a Drink Driving Conviction? Our Drink Drive Lawyers are here to understand, offer expert legal advice and to help you keep your licence

Call Neil or Gillian on:

0800 433 2880

Motoring Defence Solicitors are a specialist branch focusing on drink driving alcohol offences.

If you face an allegation it is important you seek advice from specialist drug & drink driving offence solicitors in London.  We urge you to contact us as soon as possible to discuss all of your options. We would strongly recommend speaking to a drink driving lawyer as this is one of the most serious allegations a motorist can face and seeking advice early can have a significant impact upon your chances of success at trial if you decide to defend the matter.

Our track record speaks for itself…

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Overall Success Rate
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Success (Blood, Urine & Hospital Cases)

Need a specialist Motoring Defence Law Firm to help you keep your licence?

With over 10 years experience working solely within road traffic defence work, and with a proven track record of being able to defend our clients against these allegations successfully, if you need a drink or drug driving solicitor you can be sure that you will receive expert advice from Motoring Defence Solicitors.

Should you wish to plead guilty, we can help you minimise the penalty. If found guilty, or you plead guilty the starting point for sentence is a minimum 12-month disqualification plus an unlimited fine. In more serious cases, the ban can be significantly longer and you may be at risk of a prison sentence.  There are far-reaching consequences that many do not consider such as restrictions on future employment, travel to certain counties and the cost of motor insurance in the years following conviction.Motoring Defence Solicitors can provide you with free and comprehensive advice about the options available. Following our advice, you can make an informed decision about your case.

We may also be able to alleviate some of your concerns and help you feel more confident about the proceedings you now face so please feel free to contact us for an informal chat.

You may have  provided a positive breath test at the police station. This is called the “evidential breath sample” and is the evidence that will be used against you to prove you were over the prescribed limit.  Alternatively, you may have donated a sample of blood or urine or provided a sample whilst a patient in hospital.  There are often ways that we can defend your case or, at the very least, reduce the penalty you face.

Many motorists assume that they have to plead guilty but this is simply not the case. As motor defence specialists we have an outstanding success rate of securing our clients’ acquittals.  The vast majority of our clients walk away from court with their licence intact and without a criminal record.

Each case is unique and so we recommend you contact our motor law specialist, Neil Sargeant to discuss in more detail free of charge. At Motoring Defence Solicitors we want you to be confident with your representative and have included our success rates to demonstrate our expertise. In addition to free advice, there is a wealth of information available on this site which may answer your questions.

Situations where individuals have successfully defended a drink driving or drug driving charge:

There are many occasions where clients approach us after having been charged with drink or drug driving and it is clear that they, or the circumstances of the incident, fall into a category where individuals should either not receive the mandatory 12 month minimum driving disqualification, or be convicted at all.

Here are 5 such examples:

  1. Falling asleep in a parked car – This is a situation that we see often. A client is arrested and charged after a night out.  They find their way back to their vehicle after consuming too much alcohol to drive, then, deciding that they have no alternative, sleep in their car until it is safe or possible to make their way home by alternative means.  Even where the keys remain in their pocket or they sleep in the back seat of their car, people will often be charged with the offence of being drunk in charge of their vehicle.  The argument here is frequently that there was no likelihood of them driving at all.  For example, they would have been collected by a family member at a later time and driven home by that person.  In this situation it can be argued that a conviction should not follow.
  1. The legal standpoint – The proportion of alcohol in a specimen of blood or breath is evidenced by either a statement or certificate from an approved testing device or a laboratory. Either way, consent is required as is a warning that failing to provide an evidential specimen will render that individual liable to prosecution.  In practice it is absolutely necessary that all of above is adhered to and that if the specimen is one of blood, a medical practitioner must sign to say that consent was provided.  The legislation is strict in respect of how evidential samples are obtained and analysed in all cases, with good reason.  Any failures in respect of how such samples are dealt with, are open to scrutiny.
  1. Warning of prosecution is key: the majority of people taken into Police custody after being arrested for drink or drug related offences are not familiar with the processes after arrest.  Legislation and guidelines provide strict instruction to ensure that there is parity in all such cases and that best practice is applied.  A person detained in Police custody should be made aware that failure to comply with the requirement made by a constable to provide an evidential specimen will have direct consequences and lead to prosecution, unless there is a real reason for refusing.  Consequently, failure to apply the legislation or skirt the guidelines will render the procedure and ultimately, the Crown’s ability to secure a conviction,  open to argument.
  1. Emergency – If the circumstances are such that, after exploring every available alternative, driving after consuming alcohol is the only option to prevent harm, when there is a clear and compelling emergency, a person may not be disqualified from driving. It is in the absence of an alternative, where the person would not have otherwise driven, that such circumstances can constitute a special reason not to disqualify.
  1. Shortness of distance driven – Another example of where the circumstances of an incident could attract a favourable outcome from the Court, relates to the distance driven by a driver who is found to be over the prescribed limit. An individual who had drunk alcohol in excess of the drink drive limit, negotiated a tricky reversing manouvre in a car park, which their partner was reluctant to attempt and who subsequently reversed the car a few metres, avoided disqualification in view of the lack of probability of causing danger to other road users.  The shortness of distance driven is key here: had they driven much further or in the vicinity of other road users, it is highly likely that the argument would not have succeeded.

Drink Driving Offences
Frequently Asked Questions

Unfortunately the court’s hands are tied to an extent when it comes to sentencing and if you plead guilty or are found guilty then they have no discretion and must impose a disqualification of at least 12 months.  The main ways you can avoid a disqualification is via successfully defending your case (which is what we specialise in at Motoring Defence Solicitors) or if special reasons apply.

For legal purposes, the disqualification is relevant for 10 years. What we mean by this is that if you commit another offence of  a similar nature within a 10 year period it has the effect of automatically increasing the minimum term of disqualification from 12 months to 3 years.  A conviction of this nature is classed as a criminal conviction and will mean you have a criminal record. Who has access to this record depends on the level of access they have when making enquiries.

Unfortunately the short answer is no. The law in Scotland is slightly different to that in England and Wales and we would recommend speaking to a specialist based in Scotland.

The shortness of distance may sometimes fall under the special reasons umbrella

“Driving” is a key element to this offence and if you were not the driver then this may provide you with a defence to the allegation. There is also the possibility however that the charge may be amended to one of being “drunk whilst in charge” of a vehicle however this would be dependent upon the circumstances.

There are several stories of “tricks” that are able to fool the breathalyser however they are all largely urban myths and will not help you. We would recommend contacting us to discuss your case to see if there is any possible defence available to you or any mitigating circumstances that may help reduce the sentence.

What makes Motoring Defence Solicitors different from the rest?

Being charged with an offence can be a frightening experience but a lawyer can help you. Finding the right representative can be a daunting process but we believe our success rate speaks for itself.  We will prove that our success is due to our expert knowledge and through client-care. We will examine every aspect of your drink driving case and provide you with thorough and clear advice.

Even amongst other road traffic specialists these are extremely impressive statistics but when we are instructed in a case we want to ensure you receive a first class service and this is an area which we excel.

At Motoring Defence Solicitors we look at every possible aspect of your case and provide you with thorough and clear advice . We do not bombard you with legal jargon but rather give you an honest and frank opinion about the merits of your case. Our aim is to ensure that you have all the information required to make the best decision for your own case as you are the person that will live with the outcome.

As part of this process we will scrutinise the case against you and look specifically at:

     The Procedure Conducted by the Police.

The process is very strict and the police often (rather alarmingly) make mistakes.

     How the Evidence was Obtained From You.

Whether it was breathblood or urine is a hugely significant detail. Depending on the sample we will examine:

  • The breathalyser device you were tested on (which are prone to fault like every other piece of electrical equipment
  • How you provided your blood/urine sample
  • How the sample was stored/analysed
     The Strength of the Evidence Against You.

The Prosecution must convince the court that you are guilty beyond reasonable doubt. We know that defendants often plead guilty before seeking advice, possibly because of negative advice at the police station.  The evidence against you must be strong enough to prove that you are guilty.

     Prosecution Procedure

The Prosecution has obligations that they must satisfy when preparing a case and we often see instances where they fail to do this. It is one of your fundamental legal rights to a fair trial and we have successfully argued that the failings of the Prosecution prevent you from enjoying this right. This can often lead to the case being dismissed.

     Whether Special Reasons apply
Special reasons can apply to a variety of different cases and circumstances. You can read more about that by clicking here

A non-motor law specialist may advise you to plead guilty. Therefore, we would strongly recommend that you contact us to get the most accurate advice.

How Much Does a Specialist Drink Driving Solicitor Cost?

We strongly recommend that you check any insurance policies you currently hold to see if you have any legal protection.  Legal Protection (“motor legal protection” or “legal expenses insurance”) is often included in policies as a free extra and you may not be aware that you have it. If you have this level of cover then the insurance company may be able to provide funding for representation.

Please note that the insurer may claim you must use a firm of their choosing but rest assured this is simply not the case.  We are happy to liaise with your insurer on your behalf in order to secure funding if you wish to instruct us.

The costs of representation will vary depending on whether you decide to plead guilty or not guilty. We can provide you with free advice in respect of your plea, so you can make the right decision for you.

If you wish to plead guilty we would not usually expect more than one hearing to be required and we can therefore agree a fixed fee.

Should you wish to defend your case then it may be several months before your case reaches trial and the fees incurred will be influenced by:

  1. The complexity of the case is; and
  2. The number of hearings involved/duration of the proceedings

We would only advise you to defend your case if we genuinely believed you had a high chance of success.  We can also offer flexible payment plans to try and assist you in respect of funding.

For more detail about the fee structure and payment options available please visit our dedicated costs page here or contact us to discuss your case in more detail.

Drink Driving Information & Penalties 

Drink driving is one of the more common motoring offences and is also one of the more serious. 

Under section 5 of Road Traffic Act 1988 it is an offence if a person

  (a)drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, or

(b)is in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place,

after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in his breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit 

It is section 5(1)(a) that specifically makes it illegal to drink and drive and section 5(1)(b) sets out the slightly different offence of being in charge of a motor vehicle which is slightly less serious but attracts penalties that can have significant impact upon motorists.

Within UK law, section 11(2) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 stipulates the legal alcohol limits which are as follows:

  1. 35 microgrammes (µg) of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, 
  2. 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, or 
  3. 107 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine

When Suspected of Drink Driving

If you are stopped by a police officer who has reason to suspect that you are under the influence of alcohol,  section 6 of the RTA 1988 empowers the officer to require you to comply with a preliminary roadside breath test. Refusing to take the test is an offence in itself. 

It is important to note however that a roadside breath test is not essential to make an arrest as the officer can make an arrest if he has reasonable suspicion that an offence has been committed. 

If you provide a positive preliminary sample (or the officer has reasonable grounds) then you will be arrested under suspicion of drink driving and conveyed to a police station. Upon your arrival at the police station you have various legal rights/entitlements that are important when considering any alcohol related allegation. There is a very strict procedure that the police must follow in order to properly build a case against you and many would be surprised at the number of mistakes or lapses officers make during this procedure. 

The purpose of taking you into custody is for you to provide an “evidential sample” of breath, blood or urine.  The roadside test cannot be used as evidence against you so it is the evidential sample taken at the police station that the Prosecution will need to in order to prove in court that you were over the prescribed limit. 

Breath Sample

The first avenue for officers in this type of case is to require you to provide a sample of breath. This sample of breath will be taken on one of three breathalyser devices which are as follows:

  1. The Lion Intoxilyser 
  2. The EC/IR Intoximeter 
  3. The CAMIC Datamaster 

Each device has its own particular strengths and weakness but we have successfully challenged the reliability of all three devices. 

If your breath result of 40µg or above then you will be charged. Anything less than 40µg is considered to be too low to justify a charge and no further action will be taken. 

Blood & Urine Samples

If you are unable to provide a sample of breath (either due to a machine fault or a medical reason for example) the officer can require you provide a sample of blood to be taken by a healthcare professional or a sample of urine. 

In the case of blood, a healthcare professional will be called to attend the police station and run through an assessment of you before you donate your sample. Two samples are required as the law stipulates that you must be offered a sample to have analysed independently whilst the police retain a sample for their own analysis. 

If there are medical reasons as to why you cannot give a blood sample, or the officer elects to take a urine sample instead- then two samples are required. 

When a suspect provides blood or urine, the sample must be analysed before formal charges can be brought as, at this stage, it is still unclear whether the motorist was actually above the prescribed limit.  The police would usually release you on bail pending the results of the analysis during which time you can have your own sample analysed independently and likely receive your result much faster than the police receive their own. 

If the sample tests positive, you will be charged with drink driving and bailed to attend court. 

Drink Driving Penalties

Drink driving offences can attract some of the most severe penalties under road traffic law and all offences carry a minimum disqualification of 12 months and a level 5 potentially unlimited fine.  

Drink Driving Penalties

If a motorist is before the court for his second drink driving offence within a 10 year period the minimum length of disqualification is three years. This also applies to offences of failing to provide a specimen and drug driving but not offences of being “in charge” of a vehicle. 

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