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.
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
- Legal advice for a police interview
- Taking a case to trial in the Magistrates’ Court
- Special reasons not to disqualify or give penalty points
- How I can help with a guilty plea in the Magistrates’ Court
- Appeals to the Crown Court against conviction and sentence
- Second opinions
- Great value fixed fees
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