Drunk in Charge of a motor vehicle

You may not be aware that it is an offence to be in control of a motor vehicle whilst over the prescribed alcohol limit. M.A.J Law regularly defend allegations of this nature. There are a series of defences that we would be pleased to discuss with you. You may be surprised to find that you are not, in fact, guilty of the allegation.


We can help you with:

  • What do the police mean by 'in charge'
  • Identifying defences
  • Next steps

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Drunk in Charge of a motor vehicle

The law is clear – it is an offence to be in control of a motor vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit.

The penalty for a Drunk in Charge offence can range from 10 points to 6 weeks in prison, depending upon the breath reading provided and the circumstances of the offence.

M.A.J. Law are a team of specialist motoring defence solicitors. We have years of experience challenging motoring offences and exceeding client’s expectations. We believe that every person has the right to quality legal representation.

Despite the potential penalty for a Drunk in Charge offence, there is no single test to determine whether a person is in control of a vehicle. This often leads to confusion amongst the police and can result in the police incorrectly charging people without all the necessary evidence.

Simply being sat in the vehicle does not mean that you are in control of it. The court will consider the following circumstances;

  • How far you were from the vehicle;
  • What you were doing at the relevant time;
  • Whether you had the ignition key;
  • Whether there is evidence that you were about to drive the vehicle

Many people believe that this offence was created to prevent people ‘sleeping it off’ in their vehicles. Whilst this is one reason, there is perhaps a more important reason as to why this offence was created. Consider the following.

In many cases, the police cannot prove that you were driving the vehicle (because you had stopped by the time they arrived), but may be able to prove that you were in control of it. If only one offence of drink driving existed, a huge number of people would avoid convictions due to insufficient evidence. It’s a lot easier to prove that someone was in control of a vehicle, than to prove that someone was driving it.

You may have a full defence to the allegation

To discuss this, please call our team of expert on:

0151 422 8020