Second Drink Driving Offence Sentence
Caught a second time in 10 years?
If you face being convicted of a second drink driving offence, you need to act fast. M.A.J. Law can explain your options and support you through the process. The earlier we can intervene, the sooner we can make a difference. If you've been charged with drink driving you may have received a court date. The purpose of the first court hearing is to make a plea (i.e. guilty or not guilty). If you plead guilty, you will probably receive a minimum 3 year driving disqualification. If you enter a not guilty plea, you will not be banned at court. M.A.J Law have a proven track record of winning cases at first hearings. You can read more about that here.
If you would like to read about drink driving defences, take a look at our most recent info-page.
As this is your second offence, you’ll no doubt be aware of the serious consequences if convicted. Unfortunately, it gets a lot more serious the second time around. The penalties you might face include;
- A prison sentence
- A mandatory three year diving ban
- A High Risk Offender
A Prison Sentence – What are the chances?
A prison sentence is always a last resort for the magistrates. You may narrowly escape a prison sentence by receiving a community order or a suspended prison sentence. If, however, you have previously been given a suspended sentence or carried out unpaid work, it is highly likely the magistrates will send you to prison. If this is your third drink driving offence, you will almost certainly receive a custodial sentence. You can read more about drink driving prison sentences in our sentencing guidelines booklet.
Factors increasing the likelihood of a prison sentence;
- A previous drink driving, drug driving or failing to provide conviction within the last 10 years
- Any obvious aggravating feature (e.g. a collision, a very high reading, passengers etc…)
- Being charged with two or more offences at the same time
- A dangerous driving charge
A Mandatory Three Year Driving Ban – Can I avoid it?
Schedule 2 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 requires the court to impose a minimum three year driving disqualification where you have a previous drink, drug or failing to provide conviction within the last 10 years (including ‘unfit’ offences). ‘In Charge’ offences will not trigger the minimum three year driving disqualification period (as this only applies to 'drive' or 'attempt to drive' offences). The three year ban will still apply even where the court has previously found special reasons not to disqualify.
The only way you can avoid the minimum three year driving ban, is by;
- Successfully raising a special reason
- Avoiding a conviction (see drink driving defences)
- Entering a ‘basis of plea’ to an ‘in charge’ offence (read more here)
Please remember that 'mitigation' cannot help you to avoid the three year ban. This is mandatory (meaning the court has no discretion). Don't be fooled into thinking that an 'early guilty plea' will reduce the ban. The minimum is three years. If a three year ban is not an option for you, we must defend the allegation.
However, under Section 42 Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, you have a right to apply for the early removal of the disqualification.
A High Risk Offender (HRO)
No one wants to be labelled a high risk offender. However, in certain circumstances the law will recognise you as one. You are automatically rendered a HRO if either of the following apply;
- if you have a previous drink, drug or failing to provide conviction within the last ten years
- you provide a breath reading above 87.5 microgrammes (equivalent to 200mg in blood)
- you are convicted of failing to provide a specimen
You can read more about the HRO scheme at our dedicated page.
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