There are a number of offences which relate to driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Failing to provide a Roadside Breath Test
- Failing to provide a specimen at the police station/hospital
- Driving/Attempting to drive with Excess Alcohol/Drugs
- Being in charge of a vehicle with Excess Alcohol/Drugs
- Failure to provide a roadside breath test
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The police are entitled to stop any vehicle randomly but can only request specimen of breath if they suspect that you have been drinking. They do not have to be right in their suspicion but should demonstrate reasonable grounds for holding the suspicion.
The police can also request a specimen if they believe that you are in charge of a vehicle, so even if you were not driving you should comply with the police requests.
If you are suspected of having consumed alcohol you will be asked to provide a roadside sample, which will indicate if you are exceeding the limit. If the reading is positive you will be arrested and taken to the police station for further tests. However, since the 10th April 2015 the police do not have to request a preliminary test and can if they have the correct devices move onto an evidential test, the results of which will be relied on in court.
The penalty for failing to provide a roadside breath test is a £1,000 fine, 4 penalty points and a discretionary disqualification.
The advice for dealing with the police if stopped is to co-operate fully and comply with any requests they make even if you think the request is unjustified.
FAILURE TO PROVIDE A SPECIMAN
If an evidential test is requested and is positive or you have failed to supply one at the roadside you will be arrested and taken to the police station but will not be required to take a further test it is likely that you may or may not be interview, but will be charged with the offence of driving with excess alcohol or failing to provide an evidential test which, although taken at the roadside will be treated in the same was as a failure to provide at the police station and therefore carry the heavier penalties of
- Failure after driving/attempt drive – Level 5 fine/6 months and a mandatory disqualification of a minimum of 12 months
- Failure after being in charge – Level 4 fine/3 months and 10 points/discretionary disqualification.
IF you have not provided an evidential test at the roadside ,once arrested you will be taken to the police station to provide a specimen of breath. You will be required to breath into an approved device until two readings are taken. You will be offered a copy of those readings, which you should accept. If you are over the prescribed limit of 35 mgs in 100ml of breath you will be charged with an offence of Driving with excess alcohol.
If you are unable to supply a specimen of breath for medical reasons, or due to a fault in the equipment or provide a sample lower than 50mg then you may be asked to provide a sample of blood or urine. The decision as to whether the sample is blood or urine is down to the police officer and most will tend to choose blood. A doctor will take the sample and you should allow him to do so, failing to provide a blood sample will result in prosecution. You should be given a sample for your own analysis which you should accept.
If you fail to provide a urine test the same principles apply.
This area of law is fraught with pitfalls and options as you will be entitled to the advise of a solicitor you should contact one at the earliest opportunity. The police will usually accommodate this but do not have to delay the procedure to enable you to do so.
FOR YOUR FREE CONSULTATION
DRIVING WITH EXCESS ALCOHOL OR DRUGS
This is a very serious offence ,which carries up to 6 months imprisonment and/or a level 5 fine which is unlimited for offences committed on or after the 12th March 2015 otherwise a fine of £5,000 as well as an obligatory disqualification of 12 months. 3 years if you have been convicted of a previous drink driving offence within the last 10 years.
You will be charged if your readings are above:-
- Breath 35mg in 100ml
- Blood 80mg in 100ml
- Urine 107mg in 100ml
It is possible to defend the charge if for example you can establish that you were not driving, or it was not a public place/road. Some people may have drank after driving prior to giving the specimen and we can establish from expert evidence whether you would have exceeded the limit at the point of driving. It may also be possible to show that the reading/analysis is unreliable as often procedures are not followed or equipment is fault
If you accept that you are guilty of driving with excess alcohol you may be able to avoid a disqualification by arguing that special reasons apply in your case.
Examples of special reasons are :-
- Laced drinks
- Short distance driven
This is an area of law riddled with case law on what amounts to a special reason and it is always preferable to seek the advice of a road traffic specialist.
IN CHARGE WITH EXCESS ALCOHOL
You can be prosecuted for an excess alcohol offence even though you were not driving at the time the police stopped you ie if you were just sat in your vehicle or even close by with the keys to the vehicle. You should co-operate with the police in these situations although you may feel that they have no right as you were not driving that is not the case and failure to comply could result in further charges as well as the in charge offence.
You should provide a specimen(s) when requested to do so and the issue as to whether you were in charge or not can be dealt with at a later date. You should always seek specialist legal advice to establish whether you were in charge within the accepted definitions.
The sentence if convicted of being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol is up to 3 mths imprisonment, £2,500 fine , a discretionary disqualification and if not imposed 10 penalty points.
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