DRINKING & DRIVING – FACT OR FICTION

drink-driving

On the approach to Christmas and the New Year we presume most of you would have either heard or read a news article about drink driving. Should it be a news article regarding the PSNI crackdown on drink driving or a picture of a mangled car in a newspaper, this is a common theme that isn’t going away. Worryingly, this offence continues to make headlines but do you know all the facts? There are numerous misconceptions surrounding the issue so we have listed some facts and fictions below to help you test your knowledge:

FACT

  • If convicted for drink driving you WILL lose your licence. You don’t get a second chance
  • The minimum period of disqualification from driving will be 12 months. However in certain instances the period of disqualification can be reduced by 25% upon the successful completion of the “drink driving” course
  • If convicted for drink driving a Judge can send you to prison
  • Permitted levels of alcohol are:  – 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath; – 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine; – 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • If you are more than 2.5 times the legal limit the minimum period of disqualification will be 3 years. You will also fall into the High Risk Offenders category
  • The higher your alcohol reading the tougher the sentence, e.g. a longer ban and a higher fine
  • Drink driving impairs your ability to drive and increases the risk of being involved in an accident

FICTION

  • Having one drink can’t put you over the limit. NOT NECESSARILY. Depending on the type and volume of alcohol consumed and at what pace, your age, your sex and what you have eaten can all impact your alcohol reading
  • Having eight hours sleep before driving means you will be ok to drive in the morning. NOT NECESSARILY. It will depend on how much alcohol you have consume before going to sleep and whether your body has been able to break the alcohol down and remove it from your system
  • If you don’t provide a specimen (breath/blood/urine) the police can’t seek a prosecution. NOT NECESSARILY. If you fail to provide a specimen the police may proceed with a prosecution for Failing to Provide a Specimen. When this goes before a court the Judge will work on the assumption that you had a higher reading and sentence you accordingly. You will also fall into the High Risk Offenders’ category
  • Having no alcohol on your breath means you are not over the limit. NOT NECESSARILY. With some drinks not smelling of alcohol per se this is not a good marker to work from. Just because you don’t smell of alcohol does not mean you are not over the legal limit
  • Having a meal will bring your alcohol reading down. NOT NECESSARILY. Eating a meal may well make you feel better and more sober however it does not necessarily bring down your alcohol reading
  • Having a coffee will bring down your alcohol reading. NOT NECESSARILY. Having a coffee may well make you feel better and more sober however it does not necessarily bring down your alcohol reading
  • You are less likely to be over the limit by drinking beer as opposed to wine. NOT NECESSARILY. It is not the type of alcohol that is relevant but the volume of alcohol e.g. two pints of strong beer could cause you to have a higher alcohol reading than two small glasses of wine

We hope the above has been of some benefit and hope you don’t find yourself facing a drink driving charge. However if you or your friends or family require our assistance please feel free to call us on 02890329801 and one of our dedicated lawyers at MTB Solicitors will be here to help.