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UK Drink Driving Law

Drink driving laws in the UK determine the quantity of alcohol allowed in your breath, blood or urine while driving. They also set out rules regarding police testing, procedures and penalties.

If you have been charged with drink driving, contact us for advice. We can explain if your rights have been breached, and whether you can defend the charge. We are experts in this area of law, having successfully defended 87% of all drink driving cases we have dealt with.

For a free initial enquiry, please call us on 01484 599 888 or 020 8945 5212 or Make an Online Enquiry and we will contact you shortly.

Drink driving limits in the UK

In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, the drink drive limits are –

  • 35 micrograms per 100 ml of breath
  • 80 milligrammes per 100ml of blood
  • 107 milligrammes per 100ml of urine

In Scotland, the drink drive limits are lower. They are –

  • 20 micrograms per 100 ml of breath
  • 50 milligrammes per 100ml of blood
  • 67 milligrammes per 100ml of urine

When can the police test me?

The police can stop you while you are driving and ask you to perform a roadside breath test if –

  • They have reason to suspect you have been drinking
  • You have committed a road traffic offence
  • You have been involved in a road traffic accident

What happens when you are tested?

The police will ask you to blow into a breathalyser machine. You cannot refuse unless you have a reasonable excuse, such as a medical condition. If you refuse without good reason, you will be charged with failing to provide a specimen.

If the roadside breath test shows a reading of more than 35 micrograms, you will be arrested and taken to the police station. At the police station, you will be asked to provide another two specimens. Often, these will be further breath tests.

However, the police may request blood or urine samples if the breathalyser device is not available, is not reliable or is not suitable. When a blood or urine sample is taken, you usually have to return to the police station for the results.

When the results have been collected, the police must use the lowest reading. If this shows that you are under the legal limit, you will be released without charge. Sometimes, where you are only just over the limit, you will be released with a caution.

If you are over the legal drink drive limit, you will be charged with an alcohol related motoring offence. A date will be set for you to attend a Magistrate’s Court. Your case will be heard and the magistrates will decide if you are guilty, and if so, how to penalise you. You are entitled to legal representation in court.

Drink driving solicitors

If you have been charged with drink driving, or any other alcohol related driving offence, contact our specialist drink driving solicitors.

It is not compulsory to have legal representation for a drink driving charge, but it is highly recommended. This could drastically change the outcome. We can explore whether there are any legal defences that apply to your case. Even if there appears to be no hope, we can find ways to reduce your sentence, or even overturn the prosecution’s case entirely.

Make a free enquiry

To make a free enquiry, please call us on 01484 599 888 or 020 8945 5212 or Make an Online Enquiry and we will contact you shortly.

  • 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.  Scott McDonald.

  • I was initially somewhat sceptical about keeping my licence, I was stopped for Drink Driving and the costs were high, but the result was excellent, and the money was certainly well spent. I would not hesitate to use DFR again. Michael A.

  • I had never been in court previously, and the prospect was terrifying. I was stopped for Drink Driving, and was looking at a significant disqualification. The result in the circumstances was unbelievable, the solicitor was excellent in presenting my case and explaining the extenuating circumstances. I was overjoyed with the final result.

    NM
  • I had never been in court previously, and the prospect was terrifying. I was stopped for Drink Driving, and was looking at a significant disqualification. The result in the circumstances was unbelievable, the solicitor was excellent in presenting my case and explaining the extenuating circumstances. I was overjoyed with the final result.

    JL