Despite television campaigns and the stigma of conviction, drink driving is still prevalent in society. Some argue it to be a victimless crime, “I only had 2 pints”, but nothing could be further from the truth. The focus should not look at the cases where drivers are stopped on the way home, driving erratically. Instead it should be on the increase in accidents and reaction times and the victims of these. Vehicles are deadly weapons, needing full attention and care, not simply a means of avoiding a walk home.
If the true cost of the penalties that accompany a drink drive conviction were known, it is likely that the occurrences would decrease.
Drink driving is a criminal offence, and therefore if convicted, you will have a criminal record – something which will affect not only your future employability, but also your current employment status. Criminal records must be declared, and it is true that you employer can label the conviction as evidence of gross misconduct and terminate your contract immediately.
Being in charge of a vehicle whilst under the influence, carries stern punishments, and remember that this isn’t driving, this is just being in charge, i.e. having the keys, being in the car even if stationary. You can be imprisoned for 3 months, fined £2,500.00 and get a potential driving ban, and if not banned, you will get 10 points – remember you aren’t driving at this point!
Driving/attempting to drive – whilst over the limit carries up to 6 months in prison, an unlimited fine and an automatic 12 month driving ban, 3 years if convicted for a second time in 10 years.
This will without question alter your lifestyle dramatically. Can you work without a car, or even get to work? Will your employer have any sympathy, it’s unlikely. Add to that increased insurance, an endorsed licence for up to 11 years and the criminal record – all that before you could be hit further in the pocket and indeed sent to prison. It is vital that if you are stopped, tested and charged, that you have the representation of a drink driving Solicitor. They will not be able to reduce the ban (it’s none discretionary), but they could reduce the fine and keep you out of prison. Again though, their cost will be to your pocket, making that drink all the more expensive still.
What is exceptional hardship?
You can argue that a ban will cost you your job, and that this is therefore exceptional hardship – but loss of job is not automatically exceptional hardship, and furthermore exceptional hardship is not in itself available where the ban is none discretionary. Exceptional hardship is mostly used in points totting up bans, where the last speeding ticket may take you to 12 points.
Elsewhere refusing to give a sample, can get you a 6 month prison sentence, unlimited fine and 1 year ban, and causing death whilst over the limit carries a sentence of up to 14 years in prison, a 2 year plus driving ban and an extended retest, plus limitless remorse.
The risks are great, and if you are uncertain, play safe and don’t drive. This is also true the morning after as alcohol can remain in the system for a lot longer than you think.
If you do make a mistake, make sure it is the only one, get representation from a drink driving Solicitor and ensure that the penalties are mitigated.