As we start gearing up for the party season many people will leave the car at home so they can enjoy the office party or drinks with friends at Christmas markets. Whilst the number of people taking the risk of drink-driving at night has decreased, there are more people driving the morning after a few drinks, many without realising they could still be over the legal limit to drive. Could this be you?
I had a few drinks last night but I’ve had a sleep and I feel ok. Will I be fine to drive?
It all depends on how much you have had to drink and whether enough time has passed for the alcohol to leave your system. In general, alcohol is removed from the blood at a rate of around 1 unit an hour but this varies from person to person (NHS.uk– How long does alcohol stay in your blood). You may be surprised to know that if you finish drinking one bottle of 12% ABV wine or three pints of strong lager, you will not be safe to drink until at least 9 am, possibly later (Brake.org.uk – Drink Driving).
Will black coffee and a cold shower help get rid of the alcohol more quickly?
No. Although it may make you feel better there is nothing you can do to speed up the rate that alcohol leaves your system. The safest thing you can do is to leave the car at home the following day.
Know your units
If you have been drinking the night before the safest thing is not to drive the following morning. If you are going to have a drink at night and drive the following day, be aware of how many units you are consuming so that you can be sure you leave enough time for the alcohol to leave your body. Most bottled beers and wine bottles state the number of units contained within the drink. The NHS has published the following guidance:
- 1 units in a standard glass (175ml) of average-strength wine (12%)
- 3 units in a large glass (250ml) of average-strength wine (12%)
- 2 units in a pint of low-strength lager, beer or cider (3.6%)
- 3 units in a pint of higher-strength lager, beer or cider (5.2%)
- 1 unit in a single measure of spirits (25ml)
Can the police pull me over without any reason?
Yes. The police will often set up drink driving checkpoints especially over periods like Christmas and New Year’s Eve when there is generally an increase in people drinking.
How will I be tested?
If the police suspect that you may be over the limit they will carry out a breathalyser test. If you fail this you will be taken to the station to provide two more breath tests to decide whether you are above the drink-driving limit. Depending on how much over the limit you may have the right to give a blood or urine sample instead of a breath test.
What are the penalties?
Anyone convicted of driving over the legal limit will be banned for at least 12 months, and the fine that can be imposed is unlimited. You may also be given between 3 to 11 penalty points on your licence and sent to prison for up to 6 months. Such a conviction can be catastrophic causing loss of jobs, livelihoods, friendships and reputation.
What do I do if I am charged with drink driving?
Our solicitors specialise in drink driving cases and work impartially. If you require representation from one of our expert solicitors, contact one of the advisors on 0800 342 3206 or complete an online form and an advisor will be in contact shortly to discuss your case.
Published on 24th November 2015.