Drink Driving Over Christmas

Drink Driving Over Christmas

Christmas may not be quite so merry if you’ve overdone it and find yourself caught drink driving over Christmas. Whether it’s one sherry too many or you’ve been caught over the limit the next day, being pulled for drink driving is sure to put a dampener on your festive spirit and the new year to come.

Naturally rates of drink driving rates increase over the Christmas period, as not only are more people likely to be drinking over this period, but police are thought to be around three times more likely to test you. With a host of social events to get through in December, the temptation to drink and then drive increases, but you should heed the Christmas drink-drive campaign to stay on the right side of the law.


Champagne and Christmas baubles

Drink Driving Over The Festive Period

So what are the drink-drive limits?

In the UK (excluding Scotland), the drink driving limits are as follows;

35 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath

80 milligrams of alcohol per 100ml of blood

107 milligrams of alcohol per 100ml of urine

The alcohol limits for drivers in Scotland were reduced in 2014 to 50mg of alcohol in every 100ml of blood and 22mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath. In most other European countries, the limits are more in line with Scotland.

It is difficult to equate these drink drive limits with a specific number of drinks or units or alcohol as there are many other factors that come into play. Each individual is different meaning the rate at which their body absorbs and processes alcohol will be different.

What penalties could I face if drink driving over Christmas?

The penalties for drink driving at Christmas are no more severe than at any other time of year. If you are caught drink driving over the festive period then this will lead to a guaranteed 12 month driving ban, and depending on the reading your provide, you could also face a fine, a community order or in the worst cases a custodial sentence.

Remember than any endorsement on your licence for a drink driving offence will remain for 11 years, so that’s one long hangover before you finally get a clean licence again. Not only that, but a drink driving conviction will also mean your car insurance costs in future will rocket.

How do I know if I’m over the limit?

The safest way to avoid falling foul of the law is not to drink, but inevitably people do drink, especially as Christmas time, and it is very difficult to gauge when you might be over the limit. As a rough guide, the 80mg limit could mean that a man of average height and weight could possibly drink up to four units of alcohol and still be within the law.

However, rates of absorption of alcohol are affected by many other factors such as height, weight, tiredness, stress level and how much you have eaten, so it is conceivable that someone drinking a very small amount could still find themselves over the legal limit.

Drink driving the morning after

Many drivers are caught drink driving the day after their alcohol consumption when it is still in their system. In fact, nearly a fifth of all drink-drive conviction happen the morning after, demonstrating that even if you think you are behaving well by driving home the next day, you could well be still breaking the law.

There are ways to attempt to estimate the time that you should leave it from your last drink to when you might be able to drive and this is based on allowing one hour for each unit of alcohol, plus an additional hour for the first drink to allow the alcohol to enter the bloodstream. Note that these estimations do not take into account factors such as your weight, height, metabolism, food consumed etc so should be taken as what they are – a rough guide.

Tips To Avoid Drink Driving Over Christmas

Avoiding a festive drink-drive charge

The easiest way to avoid drink driving is to avoid drinking at all, but we know that becomes especially difficult during the festive season when so much temptation is put in your way. Consider some of these options if you are still intending to drink:

Use other options for getting home – taxis and public transport

Temporary car insurance so a designated driver can take you and your car home

Stop drinking early if you intend driving the next morning

Making sure you eat sufficient amounts while drinking

Allow adequate time for the alcohol to be cleared from your system before driving

If you should still be caught drink driving over Christmas then get in touch with Caddick Davies who are leading specialist solicitors in England and Wales for the successful representation and defence of motorists charged with drink driving. We’ll make sure you’re not pulling your Christmas cracker while in a holding cell.

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