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Don’t let a Christmas tipple push you over the limit

18.12.2010

The Christmas period is always a time when people may be tempted to take a chance on driving home after a drink or two at the office party or family get-together. The best advice is always to avoid drinking altogether if you are planning to drive. Failing this, here is some information that may be of assistance.

It is an offence not only to drive a motor vehicle, but also to be in charge of one when over the prescribed limit. Don’t be tempted, therefore, to take a nap in your car after a few drinks, even in a car park. Don’t move your vehicle, even a short distance to re-park it.

If you are stopped, and the police believe that you may have been drinking, you will usually be required to provide a sample of breath at the roadside into a screening device. Failure to do so is an offence. If your sample is over the limit, or if you fail to provide one, you will be arrested and taken to the police station to provide an evidential sample on an intoximeter. Your right to speak to a solicitor will not allow you to delay this procedure and, if you refuse to co-operate, you will be charged with an offence which, as with drink driving, carries a minimum driving disqualification of one year.

If you provide a specimen which is only a little over the prescribed limit, you will be given the option of providing an alternative sample of blood or urine. Take that option as it replaces the breath sample which would otherwise be sufficient to support a charge.

On occasion the police will want to interview you. If so, you are entitled to have a solicitor present, free of charge, and you should take up that option, refraining from answering questions or volunteering information about the incident in the meantime.

If you are charged with an offence, you will be required to attend court but will, until then, be entitled to continue to drive. Sometimes you may have a valid defence, or else it may be possible to avoid the otherwise mandatory disqualification. For more information, contact John Roberts, partner and head of our Criminal and Motoring Law department. We are on call 24 hours a day, even over Christmas!

For more information, contact John Roberts, partner and head of our Criminal and Motoring Law department. We are on call 24 hours a day, even over Christmas! Email: [email protected]. Tel: 01622 678341.

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