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Caught Drink Driving

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 4 Feb 2024 | comments*Discuss
Drink Driving Blood Alcohol Level Breath

The police can stop you if they suspect you are driving under the influence of alcohol. Also, if the police suspect you are about to drive a vehicle (for instance you have your keys in your hands and are just leaving a pub) you can also be stopped and asked to take a drink-driving test. You may also be asked to take a breath test if you are involved in a road traffic accident.

There are three general drink-driving offences:

  • Being in charge of a vehicle when you are over the legal alcohol limit.
  • Driving a vehicle whilst over the legal alcohol limit.
  • When stopped by the police failing to give a breath test.

At the Roadside

The first test that you will take after the police have stopped you will be a breath test. You are breaking the law if you refuse to take a breath test, but if you do refuse you will be arrested and taken to a police station where a sample of your blood or urine will be taken for testing. Note that only a doctor can take a sample of your blood, and only with your consent.

At the Police Station

When you arrive at the police station two samples will be taken. The lowest reading will be used as evidence in your case. You should be given a printout of the alcohol level that has been detected for your own records. Usually the samples are just breath samples, but the police can request that you give a blood or urine sample. This may happen if you are unable to give a breath sample, as you are too drunk. Also, the police may not have a breath device or a qualified officer to operate it available. A doctor may also have informed the police that your condition may be because of drugs and not alcohol.

What Happens if I am Charged?

If your alcohol tests are positive you will be told your rights and cautioned about anything you say can be used in evidence against you. The details of your offence will be recorded on your charge sheet that you will have to sign. You will be given a copy for your records. You will then be free to go and expected to appear at the court at the stated date and time on your charge sheet.

The Penalties

If you are found guilty of drink-driving the penalties are:
  • A ban from driving for at least 1 year.
  • A fine of up to £5,000.
  • Between 3 and 11 points to be put on your licence.
  • A prison sentence of up to 6 months.

What are the Legal Alcohol Levels?

You can be found guilty of drink driving if you have the following levels of alcohol in your blood:
  • 35 microgrammes of alcohol in a100 millilitres of your breath.
  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in a 100 millilitres of your blood.
  • 107 milligrammes of alcohol in a 100 millilitres of your urine.

Note that if one of the two breath tests you will take is below 39 microgrammes you will not be charged. If your breath test is between 40 and 50 microgrammes you must be offered the chance to give an alternative blood or urine specimen. However, if your breath test is over 51 microgrammes you will be automatically charged and face an appearance in court.

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My daughter crashed her car, no one else was involved. Passers-by helped move the car off the road and she got a lift to my other daughters house. She had a drink at her house then my daughter says she will have to go to hospital as she needed stitches. The Passers-by notified the police to say she was ok. The police went to hospital did a breathtest on her and it was 44mcg. She then had to give urine test. How can we prove she had a drink after the accident, she is a young driver and didn't know better!
Temple - 4-Feb-24 @ 1:24 PM
I was stop and fail the road side test and was taken to the police station..and I blow 96mg what will happen and will I loss my licence..as it my first time offence. And I work in a school. Please help
Terry - 18-Dec-23 @ 12:36 AM
I was arrested a few yr ago for being just over the limit at road side and charged, however I was not breathalised at the police station on the machine there!… is it lawful to be charged just off the roadside test? Thankyou
Chaddy - 23-Sep-23 @ 11:09 PM
I was stopped yesterday morning and was taken to Kevin's Street to do a breathalyser which came back at 51 micro grames on the breath test machine in the station, what's the penalty for this ,for a first time DUI
Corco - 18-Aug-23 @ 3:49 PM
My son was tested and was 48 roadside was arrested and did another test at the station and it was 44 - he was not offered a blood or urine sample to be tested -I have read that he should have been offered one - will this help him get off !
Lee - 24-Jun-23 @ 3:42 PM
To all of you that blew over 35, you get what you deserve... losing your job? Tough. Rely on your car? Soz. Noone forces you to drink and I'm reading all of these comments, knowing you are all about to be shafted and laughing wholeheartedly. It's a shame you're not banned for life, you are grown adults and the fact you can't NOT drink drive is pathetic.
Ads - 18-Jun-23 @ 6:30 PM
I had caused an accident after having a couple of drinks, on the roadside I blew 44, and the saliva test showed a very faint line after 8 minutes or something, I was taken to hospital and agreed to have blood tests.. this was Halloween last year 2022, was told 2 to 6 months waiting time, we're now in May and has exceeded the 6 months. I don't know whats happening, will they tell me I'm negative if I'm negative and was legal to drive? I need this info as insurance wouldn't touch my car or help me in any way, because I stupidly told them what happened roadside. Can anyone give me advice here? Kind regards L
L - 9-May-23 @ 4:49 PM
Is the text below still the case ? Duty solicitor is telling me no longer applies ? Thanks Leon
Leon - 31-Mar-23 @ 11:09 AM
I was reversing in a car park and backed into a walk. Passers by saw me and called the police. I did not submit a test as was very anxious about being over the limit. Now I have been charged with failing to submit a sample. I have never had any dealings with the law. Im a single mother who has really been struggling with the menopause. I do have points on my license for speeding a year back. What might my sentence be?
Zoe Nash - 18-Mar-23 @ 6:54 PM
I blew 20 at the roadside and was allowed to carry on with my journey.
Yoller - 25-Dec-22 @ 7:14 PM
My partner has blown 60 and been charged court date is in a month. What are the chances he will loose his license. He’s never done this before I think he has 3 points for parking but that’s it. He needs his car for work.
Anonymous - 5-Nov-22 @ 4:36 AM
I blew 50 at roadside. Hadn’t drank in over 12 hours due to recovering from a heavy night out drinking. Was then driving speed limit and not swerving as was pulled as a routine stop due to picking my friend up from a night out as they were stranded. I rely on my car for many many things such as travel to and from my daughters as she is 1 years old and not with ex partner and live over 20 miles from home. I also drive for a living and use my car for my mental health factors as it’s the only thing that keeps me sane. I need help to prepare for what will be the outcome from court in 3 weeks
Anonymous - 23-Oct-22 @ 11:02 PM
I blew a 50 at roadside. This was the morning after 12 hours of none driving from a night out. Hadn’t drank or eaten anything and was driving my friend back home. Was pulled over while going 30 in a 30 and not swerving. I use my car to travel to and from my daughters and I also drive for a living and am reliant on driving for many things including mental health. What are my chances of not losing my licence because of being permanently reliant for all the above? My court date is in 3 weeks but I would rather prep myself now for what will come of it
Anonymous - 23-Oct-22 @ 10:59 PM
I blow 46 at the station they didn't offer me a blood or urine sample iv been driving for 20 years clean licence im a hgv driver whats my chances please?
Tarrum - 31-Jul-22 @ 11:13 AM
Hi, I have clean licence and I have been driving for more than 8 years. I blew 49 at roadside and they take to station and after 3 hours they took my blood sample. And release me. What will happen next? I am worried about my blood test. As I am a lone driver in my family I need my license for my job too.
Kumar - 27-Apr-22 @ 12:18 AM
I blew 44 road side from my crash and my bloods came back 96mg. My court case is on Tuesday. I’ll loose my job if I loose my license. Will they take that into consideration? Had no previous conviction or anything. Will I have to do my test again? I didn’t hurt anyone a car speeded past me and made me swerve and hit a Kirb and my car flipped. I wasn’t speeding or anything. I was just going home the morning after I’d had a few drinks
Jt - 10-Apr-22 @ 11:45 PM
I blew 66 at 4.40 am then blood taken at 8 am what's chances of it going down in that time
MISS K WEBSTER - 20-Sep-21 @ 5:47 PM
Simply don't drink then drive you idiots
Baffled - 5-Sep-21 @ 6:43 AM
Blew 103 2 nights ago was taken back to the station and tested again twice, this was about an hour after the road side test. First test in station I blew 44 second was 38 so I was lucky enough to keep my license and wasn’t charged. Officer was extremely annoyed and couldn’t believe the result. Is this common or was I very lucky?
Jb - 28-Jun-21 @ 4:31 PM
Stopped in aug 20 blew 42 at roadside 44 at stationcharged with 3yrs due to second offence in 10 years. No blood or urine offered apperently that law hasn’t exisited since 2016 is this correct?
Jay - 21-Jun-21 @ 11:14 PM
I was stopped and blew 47 at the police station .lowest of 2 results .I was held for 21 hours .never offered either blood or urine test but charged and given a court date .any advice as to legality of this please Ime type 2 diabetic also .had 3 blood sugar tests in custody every 3 hours .22.5 -19-14.5 respectively.any bearing on breath test results? Thanks
Dno - 19-Jun-21 @ 5:24 PM
I have a clean license and blew 49 at the station and was not offered an alternative test. I am worried about the outcome at court as I am reliant on my car for many things. Do you know what is likely to happen?
Shaun - 14-Jun-21 @ 9:22 PM
Last night I blew 70 at the roadside at 10pm then later at 11pm the machine registered ‘alcohol in the mouth’ so I had to do a blood test then at 1;00am I blew 39. What’s the chance that my blood test was under
Beechy - 14-Jun-21 @ 9:07 AM
Last night I blew 71. And I have to attend to court next month. So what are the chances that going to happen next.
Kiran - 14-May-21 @ 2:55 PM
Hey I’m 24 years old, had no previous convictions but blew 60 on the breathalyser. I have been driving 2 years and 2 months. Do you know what conviction I will be given? Thanks
Chelsea - 9-May-21 @ 11:51 PM
I refused to take the breathalyzer at the police station..i was banned for three years..will this affect my medical will i be drug tested or just the normal blood test
Dd - 31-Mar-21 @ 9:37 PM
I blew 39.4 at station no urine sample and I have a court date is this right please ??
Bal - 12-Nov-20 @ 8:12 AM
I was breath tested at 12.30 at 71. Bloods taken at 5.30 what are the chancea it would have gone under the limit?
Jayk - 5-Nov-20 @ 2:35 PM
Hi I was suspected drink driving from a call I made at 12:30... I blew 113 around 6pm. Found no where near the vehicle, no keys on me or nothing am I likely to get charged or can they not place me in drink driving at the time.
GG - 30-Oct-20 @ 7:26 PM
I’ve been banned for 19 months but can reduce by 25%. Is my ban now 13 months?
Macco - 9-Oct-20 @ 8:10 PM
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