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Is drink driving a criminal offence?

Drink driving is classed as a criminal offence rather than just a motoring offence due to the fact it puts other motorists’, pedestrians’ and passengers’ lives at risk. Exceeding the legal alcohol limit and taking to the wheel is taken very seriously and can even involve a prison sentence. In some cases however, circumstances surrounding the offence itself or the driver can minimise the sentence or even result in acquittal.

The first example would be if you had consumed alcohol but weren’t over the legal limit. Currently the legal limits stand at:

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 ml of breath;
  • 80mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood;
  • 107mg of alcohol in 100 ml of urine.

Although having less than those legal limits in your bloodstream, urine and breath would still allow people to legally drive, it’s always advisable to completely avoid drinking if you have a good idea you’ll be taking to the wheel. It can be hard to gauge exactly how much you’ve had and even the smallest amounts of alcohol can delay reaction times.

Special Reasons can be argued in court to contest excessive punishments by the court

The Special Reasons Argument can be used if you haven’t knowingly or voluntarily drank and drove. For example, if you were over the legal alcohol limit without knowing your drink contained alcohol; the Special Reasons Argument could be used to defend you in court. Examples include:

  • Drinking a beverage without being told it contained alcohol;
  • Consuming a higher percentage alcoholic drink than you realised;
  • Having your drink spiked;
  • Consuming more alcohol after you drove but before you were breathalysed;
  • Having to take to the wheel after consuming alcohol due to an emergency which required you to drive and where no other option of transport was available.

In order for the Special Reasons argument to stand, there has to be proof behind the argument and is best presented by a lawyer with specialist knowledge of motoring offences.

Here at Just Motor Law, we have a refined series of expertise in putting the Specials Reasons argument forward in the Courts. If you’ve been accused of drink driving it’s strongly advised you contact one of our expert motoring offence lawyers who can help you develop a strong case.

 Exceptional Hardship can be argued to content a drink driving punishment

This argument is used whereby the impending conviction outweighs the severity of the offence you’ve allegedly committed. This legal argument is used as a mitigation to reduce your driving suspension or increase your chances of retaining your driving licence after totting up 12 points. Unlike the Special Reasons argument, Exceptional Hardship takes your personal situation into account rather than that of the offence. The following circumstances could be applied to an Exceptional Hardship plea:

  • If a driving ban would cause hardship to others; for example if you’re the main carer for a disabled person and are responsible for taking them to hospital appointments;
  • If a disqualification from driving would cause you to lose your business or home, which was considered to be unbalanced with the severity of the offence.

Here at Just Motor Law we have seasoned expertise in using both Exceptional Hardship and Special Reasons arguments to help get the best scenario for you. For free legal advice, give our friendly team a call on 0845 485 1231, drop us an email at or catch us on live chat.

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