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drink driving FAQ's

Many people who are convicted of driving with excess alcohol leave the Court with a clear view as to the length of their disqualification from driving, but for a significant number, there is an unexpected shock further down the line.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no ‘right’ to hold a driving licence, merely by having passed a driving test, and not otherwise being disqualified. The Secretary of State for Transport has the right, in circumstances that justify it, to withhold a  riving licence. One of those circumstances where this arises is after a relevant conviction for drink driving if the offender is deemed ‘high-risk’.

What is a high-risk offender?

The high-risk offender scheme applies to drivers convicted of the following offences:

  • one disqualification for driving or being in charge of a vehicle when the level of alcohol in the body equalled or exceeded either one of these measures:

87.5 mcg per 100 ml of breath

200.0 mg per 100 ml of blood

267.5 mg per 100 ml of urine

  • two disqualifications within the space of 10 years for drink-driving or being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol
  • one disqualification for refusing or failing to supply a specimen for alcohol analysis
  • one disqualification for refusing to give permission for a laboratory test of a specimen of blood for alcohol analysis.

What does it mean for me if I fall into one of those categories?

It means that at the end of your disqualification period, your licence will not be returned.

How do I get my licence back?

There will need to be a medical assessment of your suitability to hold a driving licence; this will consist of:

  • questionnaire
  • serum CDT assay
  • any further testing indicated

If a driving licence is awarded, the ’til 70 licence is restored for Group 1 car and motorcycle driving. Consideration may be given to a Group 2 licence.

Where a high-risk offender has a previous history of alcohol dependence or persistent misuse, but has satisfactory examination and blood tests, a short period licence is issued for ordinary and vocational entitlement, but is dependent on their ability to meet the standards as specified.

A high-risk offender found to have a current history of alcohol misuse or dependence and /or unexplained abnormal blood test results will have their application refused.

What does this mean in practice?

You will need if you are regularly consuming large quantities of alcohol (which may be much less than you believe it to be), to reduce your intake significantly, otherwise, this pattern of alcohol abuse will reveal itself when the blood sample is analysed (for liver function markers).

I wish I had been told this at the time?

Unfortunately, our experience shows that clients are not advised of this hidden consequence of drink driving.

Is there any appeal mechanism?

Fortunately, yes there is. We have a dedicated team of drink driving specialist solicitors ready and able to assist you.

If you would like further advice about this topic, then please contact Simon Morton on 0161 477 1121.  Legal aid funding isn’t available, but we offer private client services at affordable rates.

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