01 Jun 2009
The government is about to launch a campaign to persuade people of the consequences of drink driving, not only on the number of fatalities and serious injuries, but also the personal consequences on the defendant, which includes arrest, the taking of a DNA swab, a criminal conviction and often loss of employment.
Drivers caught driving over the prescribed limit are automatically disqualified for a minimum of 12 months or for 3 years, if it is the driver's second drink drive offence within 10 years. The period of disqualification will depend upon the amount by which the driver was over the prescribed limit. It is important to seek legal advice, as there may be circumstances which can be put to the court to persuade them to exercise their discretion not to disqualify. Even if disqualification is inevitable, it is important that the defendant puts forward any extenuating circumstances, in order to keep the disqualification period as short as possible.
The best course of action may not necessarily be to sleep off the effects in the car, as one could still commit the offence of being in charge of a vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit. The burden is on the defendant to prove that there was no likelihood of him driving the vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit, which is particularly difficult if the keys are still in the ignition! The best course of action is to give the keys to someone else or find somewhere else to sleep off the effects of the alcohol.