Driving whilst Unfit Through Drink or Drugs

Driving whilst unfit - A1 in Northumbria
A1 in Northumbria by Highways Agency

Driving whilst unfit with drugs or alcohol in your system is treated seriously by the police. The procedures that the police use are complicated and can be open to challenge. Drivers who are found guilty are disqualified from driving for 12 months or more. Extreme cases can lead to a prison sentence.

If the police have accused you of driving whilst unfit through alcohol or drugs and you want to challenge the case against you, I may be able to help. Are you worried about a driving ban for driving whilst unfit through alcohol or drugs? I can help with that too.

Also Known As

  • Drug driving
  • Drink driving

Do Not Confuse With

  • Driving with excess alcohol
  • Drunk in charge of a motor vehicle

Penalties for Driving Whilst Unfit Through Alcohol or Drugs

The magistrates’ court will impose:

  • Unlimited fine, a community order or imprisonment of up to 6 months
  • A mandatory driving disqualification of at least 12 months

The length of the driving disqualification can be reduced by ¼ if the magistrates offer a drink driver improvement course.

Sentencing Guidelines

When a magistrates’ court sentences someone for driving whilst unfit through alcohol or drugs they use these guidelines.

Examples of nature of activity Starting point Range Disqualification
Evidence of moderate level of impairment and no aggravating factors Band C fine Band C fine 12 – 16 months
Evidence of moderate level of impairment and presence of one or more aggravating factors Band C fine Band C fine 17 – 22 months
Evidence of high level of impairment and no aggravating factors Medium level community order Low level community order to high level community order 23 – 28 months
Evidence of high level of impairment and presence of one or more aggravating factors 12 weeks custody High level community order to 26 weeks custody 29 – 36 months

Different guidelines apply about disqualification when there has been a previous drink driving related conviction in the last 10 years.

Read this post to find out more about sentencing guidelines.

Crown Court or Magistrates’ Court?

Driving whilst unfit through alcohol or drugs trials and guilty pleas are always in the Magistrates’ Court. Appeals are in the Crown Court.

Things I Look Out For in a Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink or Drugs Case

  • Should the suspect make a comment in a police interview
  • Is there any evidence that the accused was driving
  • Errors in procedure by the police
  • Have the police carried out the impairment tests properly
  • Have samples or breath, blood or urine been taken properly
  • Is there any evidence that the accused was unfit to drive
  • Errors in procedure by the prosecution
  • Are there any special reasons which mean that the accused should not be disqualified from driving
  • Is there any mitigation that can reduce the penalty that the magistrates impose
  • Are there any reasons to appeal the decision that the magistrates made

Find out more

Unsure if you need legal representation for driving whilst unfit through alcohol or drugs?

Before you decide if you need a solicitor, call me or request a call back under no obligation.

 

A1 in Northumbria by Highways Agency