What Happens if I am Caught Drink Driving?

Being pulled over by the police can be a terrifying experience. Being arrested for drink driving can be particularly stressful. But what actually happens if you are arrested for drink driving?

The Breath Test
Any driver or person in charge of a vehicle can be required by the police to provide a breath test. An Officer can request a breath test in any of the following situations:

  • They suspect that you have committed, or are currently committing, a moving traffic offence;
  • If they have reasonable cause to believe that you were the person driving/attempting to drive who was involved in an accident;
  • If having stopped you, they have reasonable cause to suspect that the person driving/in charge of the vehicle has consumed alcohol.

At the Police Station
If your breath test comes out positive or you refuse to comply, you will be immediately taken to the police station. There you will usually be asked to provide two specimens of breath for analysis. If the reading is in excess of the prescribed alcohol limit you will have committed an offence and be charged.

In Northern Ireland, England and Wales the alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath or 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine.

Being charged
The charge will be read out to you. Also a customary warning about saying things which may later be given in evidence.
You will then be asked to sign the Charge Sheet and be given a copy of it. Normally you will then be bailed to attend court on a specified date. This means that you will be free to drive until that date.

Court Penalties
Currently if you are convicted of drink driving you will lose your driving licence for a minimum of twelve months. You will also face a fine of up to £5000 and even a six-month prison sentence. If you have had a similar conviction within the last 10 years then you will lose your licence for a minimum of three years.

The total length of the ban will depend on several factors. The most important being the amount of alcohol within your system. As the minimum disqualification is mandatory any hardship such as loss of employment due the ban will not be taken into account.

If you refuse to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis having been stopped for drink driving, the penalties are exactly the same as if you’re caught driving over the limit. So that’s a ban for at least 12 months, an unlimited fine and half a year in jail.

What Happens if I am Caught Drink Driving? was last modified: June 20th, 2023 by Sinead Willox