What are the drink-driving sentencing guidelines?
The Drink-driving sentencing guidelines are a set of rules and principles used by the Magistrate or judge to determine a penalty for those charged. The guidelines take into account many factors, such as the severity of the offence, any harm caused, and your personal circumstances.
Within the guidelines, there are minimum and maximum penalties for different levels of alcohol in an offender's blood, urine, or breath. Repeat offenders face harsher penalties, as do those with higher alcohol readings. Aggravating factors and mitigating factors are also taken into account. Aggravating factors are factors that will likely negatively impact your case, and mitigating factors will likely help your case. We will look at both more in-depth in the following article.
Sentencing Guidelines for Drink-Driving Offences
Drink driving carries a mandatory ban of 12 months, as you may know, and the penalties for first-time and repeat drink driving offences differ greatly in how lenient the magistrate or judge will be towards your case.
Here is an overview of the drink-driving sentencing guidelines in the UK:
|Blood (ml)||Urine (ml)||Starting Point||Range||Disqualification||Disqualification (2nd offence in 10 years)|
|36 - 59|
|108 - 183||Band C Fine||Band B - Band C Fine||12 - 16 months||36 - 40 months|
|60 - 89|
|184 - 274||Band C Fine||Band C Fine - Low-level community order||17 - 22 months||36 - 46 months|
|90 - 119||207 - 275||275 - 366||Medium-level community order||Low-level community order to high-level community order||23 - 28 months||36 - 52 months|
|120 - 150 and above||276 - 345 and above||367 - 459 and above||12 weeks custody||High-level community order to 26 weeks custody||29 - 36 months||36 - 60 months|
Factors considered in sentencing Drink-driving offenders:
Aggravating and Mitigating Factors
There are two categories of factors that are taken into account within the Drink Driving Sentencing Guidelines and determine whether you receive or do not receive a drink-driving conviction and whether you get to keep your licence or not.
Aggravating factors (factors likely to be detrimental)
What factors can aggravate a drink-driving sentence?
Aggravating factors may increase the severity of the sentence. Examples include:
● previous convictions relating to the nature of the offence
● if the driver was carrying passengers
● evidence of an unacceptable standard of driving
● if the driver was involved in an accident.
What factors can mitigate a drink-driving sentence?
Mitigating factors may reduce the severity of the sentence. Examples include:
● no previous convictions or relevant or recent convictions
● if it was a genuine emergency.
● if the driver’s drinks had been spiked.
● A short length of distance driven
● if the driver showed remorse or was of good character
● if the driver has a serious medical condition, mental disorder, or learning disability.
● if the driver is the sole or primary carer for dependent relatives
Factors indicating higher culpability
- LGV, HGV, PSV, etc.
- Poor road or weather conditions
- Carrying passengers
- Driving for hire or reward
- Evidence of an unacceptable standard of driving
Factors indicating a greater degree of harm
- Involved in an accident
- Location, e.g., near school
- High level of traffic or pedestrians in the vicinity.
- A genuine emergency has been established.
- Spiked drinks
- Very short distance driven
Pleading Guilty or Not Guilty to a Drink Driving Charge
When making the decision to plead guilty or not guilty, it is essential to consider any mitigating and aggravating factors that may be present in your case. It is also essential to seek legal advice and have a specialist drink-driving solicitor such as the team here at Parnell and Peel present alongside you to maximise your chances of the best outcome available in your case.
Bear in mind that if you plead guilty, you will be subject to mandatory drink-driving disqualification, the length of which is dependent on the severity of the offence. There are multiple ways to avoid a disqualification altogether more information feel free to call us at 01484 599888 .
If you do decide to plead not guilty, you will need to provide substantial evidence that supports your case. This can be:
● Exceptional Hardship: This defence relies on the fact that the driving disqualification will cause hardship for yourself or a third party, e.g., friends or family.
● The accuracy of the breathalyser: This defence challenges the reliability of the breathalyser and the procedure.
● The correctness of the MGDDA procedure: This defence involves challenging how the police carried out the procedure and how accurately the procedure was recorded in the MGDDA form. This is one of our most successful defences, as we find the police, due to the time-sensitive nature of drink-driving, find it hard to correctly follow procedure and accurately complete the MGDDA.
● Not in Charge or Vehicle: This defence entails arguing that you were not in charge of the vehicle at the time of the offence and challenging evidence if any of you were in control of the vehicle.
Attending court for drink-driving
Whether it's your first offence or otherwise, going to court can be one of the most daunting experiences of one's life. That's why we believe it's vital to have an expert drink-driving solicitor present to help guide you through the legal perplexities and loopholes in your case, provide you with the best possible outcome, and mitigate any charges.
As you may know, legal aid is usually not provided with drink-driving offences, and you will need to hire a solicitor or otherwise may have to represent yourself, which we do not recommend. Contact Parnell and Peel today for a free consultation.
"I was charged with Drink Driving, and the case looked hopeless, Abdul reassured me, and the CPS offered no Evidence. Abdul is certainly an Expert in Drink Driving and his handling of the case was outstanding"
"I was charged with drink driving and my case looked hopeless. There was witness evidence and forensic evidence. From my first meeting with Abdul he reassured me that we could win the case. Abdul was fantastic and the end result is that I am a happy man as I have kept my driving licence and my job."
"I would like to thank Abdul for his support and professionalism through a difficult phase in our lives.The outcome was the best of what we could have hoped for and would recommend your service to others if needed."
"After an extremely stressful 4 months I am delighted with the outcome . Abdul represented me through-out and was always there to support me when the panic took over and delivered what was discussed at our very first meeting. I cannot thank Abdul enough for all his hard work and helping me keep my driving licence. , I wouldn’t hesitate recommending them to friends and family. Many Thanks."
"I am grateful to Abdul and team. I have avoided conviction for failure to provide despite what seemed to be overwhelming case against me. I am absolutely delighted as my driving licence was everything and I stood on the verge of losing everything. Keep up the good work ."
Reasons to Choose a Specialist
● Review of evidence: We can review the evidence against you, such as the breathalyser results, and identify any weaknesses in the prosecution's case.
● Advise you on pleading guilty or not guilty: We can advise you on whether you should plead guilty or not guilty on the basis of the intrinsic details of your case.
● Identifying Mitigating Factors: We can help you identify any mitigating factors that can help you avoid a disqualification or reduce the length of your ban.
● Challenging the procedure: We can help you challenge how the police conducted the procedure and how accurately the right protocols were followed.
What are the Fines and How much Will they be?
Fine B and A
50% of relevant weekly income
25 - 75% of relevant weekly income
Fine B and B
100% of relevant weekly income
75-125% of relevant weekly income
FIne B and C
150% of relevant weekly income
125-175% of relevant weekly income
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I avoid a driving ban for drink-driving by claiming exceptional hardship?
Yes, you can avoid a ban by using exceptional hardship as a mitigating factor, to persuade the court that the driving ban will cause hardship on you or others.
How many points will I get for drinking and driving?
For drink driving, if you are convicted, you will receive between 3 and 11 penalty points, depending on the severity of your offence.
How can I challenge the MGDDA procedure in a drink-driving case?
To challenge the MGDDA procedure, you would need to prove that there was a fault in how the test was carried out or that the results of the test were inaccurate due to reasons such as inaccurate calibration of the machine. As an established drink-driving firm, we have dealt with and successfully won numerous cases with this argument in court.
What is the minimum sentence for drink driving in the UK?
The minimum sentence for drunk driving is a 12-month ban, but the actual sentence is dependent on various factors such as mitigating and aggravating factors and how much alcohol was present in your bloodstream.
How long after drinking and driving do you go to court?
The police will give you a date to appear in court after a few days, and the timeframe for when you appear in court can vary depending on the availability of the court. In general, you can expect your date to be in the range of a few weeks to a few months.