Drink driving is a criminal offence and the penalties for drink driving in the UK can be severe.
If you were over the legal alcohol limit, you may feel that pleading guilty is your only option. But you may be interested to know that a recent survey found that 78% of people who plead guilty to a drink driving offence come to regret their decision.
It’s not hard to see why. For starters, if you plead guilty to drink driving, you’ll receive an immediate driving ban. You won’t even be able to drive home from court. And if you’re caught driving whilst disqualified, you’re likely to get jail time.
Just because you were over the legal alcohol limit, this does not necessarily mean you will be found guilty in court. With the right legal help, the prosecution could be successfully challenged – meaning no driving ban, no fine and no criminal record.
What will happen if I plead not guilty to drink driving?
If you’ve been charged with drink driving, it’s vital that you instruct a specialist motoring defence solicitor, whether you intend to plead guilty or not. If you choose to plead not guilty, your solicitor should:
- Check all standard procedures were followed.
- Check evidence was lawfully gathered.
- Review police evidence to check if alcohol levels are correct.
- Contact witnesses and obtain statements.
- Instruct expert witnesses.
- Obtain and review prosecution evidence.
- Ensure the CPS have complied with their disclosure obligations.
The thought of attending court can be very scary, especially if this is your first offence. You may think that pleading guilty is the quickest way out of a very stressful situation. However, it’s important to remember that if you are convicted of drink driving, the consequences for your life will be huge.
What will happen if I plead guilty to drink driving?
If you plead guilty, you will automatically be disqualified from driving for a minimum of 12 months. You could potentially also receive:
- A fine of up to £5,000.
- A custodial sentence. Drink driving prison sentences are common for repeat drink driving offenders, those who have injured or killed someone whilst driving under the influence, or were several times over the drink driving limit.
- A criminal record. This could affect your employment status, particularly if you drive as part of your role, are a member of a professional body, or work with vulnerable people.
- A recommendation to attend a rehabilitation course.
- A massive increase in future car insurance premiums.
- A DVLA medical examination, the results of which will determine whether you will be allowed to drive again.
- Restrictions to Visas – particularly for entry to the USA.
If you decide to plead guilty, the sentence you face will be based upon several factors. These include:
- Your breath, urine, or blood alcohol level.
- Any aggravating factors (such as whether you were carrying passengers, were driving dangerously, or were involved in an accident).
- Any previous convictions for drink driving within the last ten years.
Speak to expert motoring defence solicitors today
Whether you are planning to plead guilty or not, by seeking expert legal advice, you will ensure that you are in the best possible position.
MAJ Law are specialist motoring defence solicitors, who are highly experienced in defending cases involving driving over the limit. They can provide you with free initial advice, and can help you to explore all your options prior to your court appearance. Contact MAJ Law today for expert guidance from their friendly and knowledgeable team.