News and Events

What Does A Drink Driving Conviction Actually Mean?

  • Posted

Drink driving expertise

Nobody wants to be convicted for drink driving. Even if you do not know the ins and outs of UK drink driving law, you realise that such a conviction will have a profoundly negative impact on your life. However, it is probable that most people underestimate just how profound and far reaching the actual impact is. Far too many think that they understand, but for the majority, their best guess would be wide of the mark. Here we look at exactly how severe UK Drink Driving Laws are; how impactful any drink driving charges can be; and why you should always seek guidance from a drink driving solicitor.


The Limits

The limits differ across the UK, and are about two thirds the level in Scotland compared to England. Yet, a conviction at this lower threshold in Scotland applies across the whole of the UK. The simple act of driving across the border could in practice see you suddenly be subject to drink driving charges. It is important that you know your limits.



Alcohol is measured in units, and nowadays these are usually displayed on individual drinks in pubs and bars. However, a pint of strong lager will have more alcohol than an average-strength beer. It is important therefore that you do not think of any standardised test, such as a “two pint rule”.


The Individual

We are, fortunately, all different. But this, of course, means that there is no standard way of measuring the effect alcohol has on a person. Size, weight, gender, metabolism and food intake all play a part in how we process alcohol. Alcohol roughly takes an hour to enter the bloodstream and thereafter dissipates from the body at 1 unit per hour, and there is no way of speeding this up. So if you have a few drinks late into the night, it may still be in your body the morning after. Beware therefore the late night, early start.


The Penalties

There are many possible offences under UK drink driving laws, from failing to give a sample to causing death whilst under the influence. If you are facing any of these, it is suggested that you retain the services of a drink driving solicitor. All offences carry possible fines and prison sentences and these can be mitigated by your solicitor. Some carry a discretionary driving ban, such as being in charge of a vehicle whilst under the influence, and again your drink driving solicitor can offer mitigating evidence to the Court on your behalf.

However, some offer mandatory driving bans. 12 months for driving under the influence, which is increased to 3 years if convicted twice in 10 years. Also there is a minimum two year ban if convicted of causing death whilst driving under the influence. The mandatory nature of these bans means that you will get one ban, of at least one year, sometimes at least two. So what does that mean for you and your job?


The Ban

However long your ban, during that period you cannot drive, so how will you get to work? Can you rely on the help of somebody else, or even worse, public transport? If you cannot get to work, then technically this is a breach of a fundamental term of any employment contract – that you will get there in the first place to do your job. You may therefore be disciplined and dismissed for gross misconduct. As an employer, can your business sustain the cost of keeping someone on who cannot do their job, for example a driver? Probably not. Even if you do make some changes, will it not cause disharmony amongst other members of staff who feel they are having to work harder to support that individual? At best you will cause discontent and suffer some loss of productivity. As an employee, if you have to drive for work, then you will in all likelihood lose your job. Self-employed people, especially sole traders that need transport, will undoubtedly suffer – can you afford to take on extra staff? Will your business survive?

Practically, what about your family and social life – suddenly you cannot pick the kids up from school, or attend your local fitness classes. Even when you get your licence back you are faced with premiums of at least £500 or so higher. The actual cost of a conviction, the criminal record, the insurance and the fine will run into the thousands. That is an expensive mistake.

Nonetheless, mistakes do happen. Even the most responsible among us have been caught out before. If such an incident should happen to you, it is therefore essential that you receive the support, guidance and expertise of seasoned motoring solicitors that have a 360 degree knowledge of drink driving law.

If you are concerned that you might lose your licence, contact DFR Solicitors today for a free consultation regarding your case.