Drink driving carries a minimum 12 month disqualification and a financial penalty. In more serious cases, the court can impose a community order and even a custodial sentence (prison). You may have a defence without knowing. All our initial advice is completely free of charge.
We can help you with:
- Finding fault with police procedure
- Challenging device calibration
- Identifying defences
- What to do next
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M.A.J. Law Solicitors: A Market-Leading Drink Driving Defence Practice. Ranked Number 1.
Our reputation is built on our results.
We understand the impact of a drink driving conviction and the long-term consequences that follow. If you have been suspected of drink driving, don't walk in to court alone. Our solicitors have stood beside our clients for 20 years.
Every drink driving case is different, but all cases start with a breath, blood or urine reading in excess of the prescribed limit. Our team of solicitors have years of experience in defending drink driving cases in courts across the country. Get in touch with us today and take advantage of our free consultation. You may be able to avoid a criminal conviction.
It's important to understand that you're not guilty of drink driving just because you're over the limit. We regularly win cases on technical points of law and procedure. You're not guilty of drink driving if the police can't prove every element of its case against you - and often they're not expecting to have to.
We're the UK's leading motoring defence firm. We're also a family-run practice, so we understand what's important to our clients. Our aim is simple; to do everything we can to save your licence.
Police station procedure
If you were taken to the hospital, click here.
A drink driving case is one of the few situations where you are required to self-incriminate (i.e. give evidence against yourself). This is usually in the form of a breath, blood or urine sample. Because of a fundamental right against self-incrimination, the law contains a number of 'statutory safeguards'. One of these safeguards is the requirement to complete an MGDD document with you during the testing procedure and provide you with certain options. You can read more about the drink driving procedure here.
Since the introduction of the MGDD procedure, the police have developed a number of bad habits that can help us win your case. It's no secret that front-line services are over-worked and under-funded. The police may want to process you quickly in order to get the highest alcohol reading from you. If corners are cut and mistakes are made, you should not be convicted.
Checking the evidence against you is the starting point when challenging a drink driving case. The police don't always follow the rules.
What happens next?
Our team of specialist drink driving solicitors understand the intricacies surrounding the evidential breath, blood and urine procedures. The first step is to discuss your case with us. You may not realise that you have a full defence to the allegation, even if you were over the prescribed alcohol limit. Many cases are won on complex points of law and procedure.
If you have been charged with drink driving you may have already been given a date and time to attend court. Please try not to worry about your first court hearing; if we are representing you, there is very little for you to say in court. Let us do the talking.
M.A.J Law are able to obtain the initial evidence against you before the case reaches court. This will give us a 'head start' and enable us to begin formulating defence arguments long before the court hearing. If you'd like to know more about drink driving court hearings - read our booklet.
Thinking of pleading guilty?
Our solicitors have been defending drink driving cases for 20 years. In our experience, many people charged with drink driving assume they have to plead guilty. How can you plead not guilty if you were over the limit?
It's quite simple. Every person charged with a criminal offence has the right to check the evidence against them. This is a fundamental right afforded to you. Please remember that an offence of drink driving is different to other crimes; if the police procedure was not conducted correctly you cannot, by law, be guilty of drink driving. Don't just assume the police conducted the correct procedure with you. Many police forces are known for making mistakes.
Take a look at the drink driving MGDD procedure on our dedicated breath, blood or urine pages. If you don't think this procedure was conducted correctly, please get in touch and we'll guide you through your options.
Any person who pleads not guilty to drink driving can continue to drive over the course of the case. This means that you're not banned on your first court date.
The law defines drink driving as "driving, or attempting to drive, a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, after consuming a quantity of alcohol that the proportion of it within a person’s breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit" - Road Traffic Act 1988
The legal limits for drink driving cases are;
- 35mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath
- 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood
- 107mg of alcohol in 100ml of urine
Many factors affect alcohol levels in the body. For example, your height and weight, the amount of food you've eaten that day and, of course, the alcohol content of the drink you've consumed.
All magistrates use Sentencing Guidelines when sentencing offenders in court. The penalty for a drink driving offence depends on any aggravating and mitigating factors.
You can receive:
- A fine of up to £5000
- A prison sentence of up to 6 months
- A mandatory driving disqualification
- You could also be considered a High Risk Offender
With M.A.J Law, you have access to a leading defence team with the skillset to achieve the best possible outcome. We have extensive knowledge of the motoring law and are known for outsmarting the police and CPS.
Two members of our team - Conor and Harry.
It is important to remember that by seeking legal advice from the outset, you can help to ensure that your case is managed effectively. Having access to expert advice can bring peace of mind at a time when you face uncertainty about what lies ahead.
We do acknowledge that not every case can be defended, and that in many cases the best approach is to focus on keeping any sentence to a minimum. It is crucial to get the correct advice at the right time. Contact M.A.J Law on 0151 422 8020 to discuss your options in confidence. All our initial advice is completely free of charge.
Drink Driving Frequently Asked Questions
Will I go to prison for drink driving?
Magistrates do have the power to send people to prison for drink driving. For a single drink driving offence the court can impose a sentence of up to 6 months in custody. However, not all drink driving offences result in prison. In reality, very few people go to prison for drink driving.
You are more likely to go to prison if;
- You have previous motoring convictions
- Your breath, blood or urine result was three or more times the legal limit
- You were involved in a collision
- There were passengers in your vehicle
- There is evidence of bad driving
Please note that a not-guilty plea will not increase the risk of prison. You may be able to avoid a conviction for drink driving even where the reading was high.
To learn more about the risk of prison in a case like yours, read our booklet.
How long will I be disqualified?
The minimum driving disqualification is 12 months (for offenders that provide 'borderline' results. The higher your reading the longer the driving ban). A driving ban cannot be reduced if you plead guilty and argue 'hardship'. in fact, hardship does not exist in the context of drink driving. You can, of course, try to persuade the court to lower the penalty with mitigation, but this is largely ineffective. The only way to completely avoid a disqualification following a guilty plea is to raise special reasons.
The length of disqualification depends on many factors, including;
- the alcohol level
- the manner of driving
- your previous record
Have you used our drink driving ban calculator? It's a handy tool to quickly calculate the length of your drink driving ban. Please remember that any drink driving case can be defended, even if you accept alcohol consumption.
Can I reduce the length of my disqualification?
Be careful what the police tell you.
All Magistrates' Courts in England and Wales refer to Sentencing Guidelines when sentencing offenders. In a drink driving case, the length of disqualification is based on the reading provided (the higher the reading the longer the ban). There is no easy way to reduce the length of disqualification (although we do have various methods). You may think that by pleading guilty early the court will 'go easy' on you and reduce the ban - this is not always the case. Whilst you will benefit from 'maximum credit' if you plead guilty at your first court hearing, this so-called credit will only reduce the financial penalty (i.e. the fine), it will not reduce the length of the ban. In real terms, this will save an average earner around £150 - not much benefit if you then receive a long driving ban!
Our clients prefer to check the evidence against them. If we are acting for you, we can spend as much time as you need to discuss your case, review the evidence and consider your options. You may have a full defence without realising.
If you have already been disqualified, there are three ways to reduce the length of your driving disqualification;
- Appeal against conviction
- Appeal against sentence
- Apply for the early removal of your disqualification (Section 42 RTOA 1988)
These options may not apply in all cases. We would recommend calling us first to discuss the details of your case. Our specialist solicitors will spend the time that you need to discuss your options. If we can't help you, we'll tell you. All our initial advice is free of charge.
Call Conor - 07810804464
Speak to Conor Johnstone, one of our specialist motoring defence solicitors.
How much does a drink driving solicitor cost?
Solicitors come in all shapes and sizes. Some are 'cheap and cheerful' whilst others are expensive. We're currently ranked as Number 1 in driving defence on the UK's most popular review site for solicitors. We don't claim to be the cheapest. If it's cheap advice you're looking for, we're happy to direct you elsewhere. If it's specialist advice and representation you need, please get in touch.
We represent clients on a fixed fee basis, so you don't have to worry about increasing legal costs as your case develops. We don't hide our costs and we don't use small print. Our fees are explained from the outset, before you decide to instruct us. Every case is different so fees may vary. If you'd like to discuss cost, please get in touch.
How do I defend a drink driving charge?
Because of the technicalities surrounding drink driving offences, you can still avoid a conviction even if you were over the limit. Our team of specialist solicitors have joined forces to produce a small guide on drink driving defences. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of drink driving defences. There are many other ways to avoid convictions, and we would be pleased to discuss your options in detail.
Remember that you may have a defence without knowing. We regularly win cases for clients who are two or three times the legal limit because of mistakes made by the police and prosecution service (CPS). A drink driving case is scattered with procedural legalities and technicalities (often incorrectly referred to as 'loopholes'). We use the law to protect our clients. One of the most important parts of a drink driving case is the MGDD procedure. This document sets out the 'ground rules' when taking a sample of breath, blood or urine from a suspect in police custody. It must be followed by the police officer correctly. Do you remember seeing this 25 page document during the procedure?
To find out if you have a defence, either call our team or read our booklet.
Can I avoid a disqualification for drink driving?
Our team of specialist motoring defence solicitors have developed five to ten different ways to avoid a drink driving disqualification. We offer free initial advice to discuss client's individual needs.
Have you read our case studies? You may spot a case similar to yours.
When will a drink driving conviction become spent?
Different convictions become spent a different times. Some convictions are never spent. Read our booklet about spent convictions in motoring cases. If you're still not sure, get in touch.
Drink driving mitigation
Yes. Any person convicted of a criminal offence has the right to present mitigation to the court. The purpose of mitigation is to 'reduce the damage'. There are a few 'tips & tricks' to learn before you present mitigation in court. We've outlined a few in on our specialist booklet.