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Caught Drunk in Charge of a Vehicle

Have you been arrested and given a court date or bailed to return to the police station, or received a summons for an allegation of being in charge of a motor vehicle whilst over the legal alcohol limit or in charge whilst unfit through drink or drugs?

Contact Just Motor Law today and we will apply our expertise with the aim of winning your case.

So what does the law actually say?
  • It is a criminal offence to be in charge of a motor vehicle while over the prescribed alcohol limit or whilst unfit through alcohol or drugs
  • The current legal limits for alcohol are 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 ml of breath, 80mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood and 107mg of alcohol in 100 ml of urine
  • You are unfit through alcohol or drugs if your ability to drive for the time being is impaired by drugs or alcohol. This can be shown by observations of your condition, impairment tests and analysis of your blood and urine
What are the penalties for being in charge?
  • If you are convicted of being in charge in either of these circumstances, the consequences can be very serious. Being in charge is an offence that carries either discretionary disqualification or 10 penalty points (unless Special Reasons apply). The sentence can range from a fine of up to £5000, through to a community sentence such as unpaid work in the community, an electronically monitored curfew, or can carry up to 3 months imprisonment for the most serious offenders
  • You could be disqualified for a minimum of 6 months
  • Your job may be at risk if you are banned from driving
  • Undoubtedly, your insurance premiums would rocket following a period of disqualification
  • If you are a new driver and are sentenced to 10 penalty points, then your licence would be revoked and you would have to retake your test. Retaking your test is a costly exercise. You may also need extra lessons before you felt comfortable putting in for it again
  • You will have a criminal record that will only become spent after the time scales set out in the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.  Consequently, if required you will have to inform your employers or future employers of this conviction during those time scales
What does being “in charge” mean?

Often this allegation arises where you have returned to your vehicle for some reason, been found in its’ vicinity or you have been found asleep in the vehicle. In assessing the issue of whether you are in charge, the Court will consider the following:
  • Whether and where you were in the vehicle or how far away you were from it;
  • What you were doing at the relevant time;
  • Whether you were in possession of a key that fitted the ignition;
  • Whether there was evidence of an intention to take or assert control of the vehicle by driving or otherwise;
  • Whether any person was in, at or near the vehicle and, if so, the like particulars in respect of that person.

Is there a defence to being in charge?

It is a defence for you to prove that on the balance of probabilities, there was no likelihood of you driving whilst you remained unfit or over the prescribed alcohol limit. If you had no intention of driving then contact us so that we can advise you in detail on presenting your defence with the aim of winning your case and being found not guilty!

If you need your driving licence then everything is at stake if you are convicted of this offence. You need the experts to help you fight the case at every stage! At Just Motor Law we pride ourselves on contesting each case with the greatest tenacity, with the aim of you being found not guilty.

What can be done to protect your licence if you are found guilty or plead guilty to being in charge?

Our team are experts at preparing your mitigation so that you are in the best position to receive the lightest possible sentence in all of the circumstances. The main aim will be to avoid a driving ban! We understand the guidelines that the Courts will apply when sentencing you and will help you in presenting any evidence that will allow the Magistrates to deal with you with more leniency.  Don’t just accept it – defend it! 

Remember, there is always something that we can do to help and with Just Motor Law you will not face this stressful and complex situation alone.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch with the team now for FREE initial advice on your case and how we can help you.