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DR10 Conviction

The police, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and other official organisations use classification codes called endorsements to identify specific driving offences.

What Is A DR10?

A DR10 conviction is issued if you were to be found guilty of driving, or trying to drive, whilst over the legal alcohol limit. This is because driving whilst over the legal limit impairs your ability to drive in a safe manner and therefore poses a risk to yourself and others.

A DR10 conviction refers to an offence of driving with excess alcohol under Section 5(1)(A) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Schedule 2 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. This is more commonly known as the offence of drink driving. DR10 is the code which appears on a DVLA driving licence check as a result of drink driving.

Please note:

  • This code will appear on your driving licence if you have been convicted of an offence of drunk driving.
  • This code will not appear if you have been charged with an alleged offence of drink driving and currently have ongoing proceedings with the Magistrates Court. This is to uphold the presumption of innocence.

We Are Motoring Lawyers, We Can Support You With DR10 Offences

At Caddick Davies Solicitors we understand how important holding a driver’s licence is and the implications should you lose it e.g. loss of employment and ability to support your family.

If you wish to plead guilty to an alleged offence of drink driving or have been convicted then we will help prepare your case and present mitigation to the court in view of obtaining the minimum sentence possible as well as obtaining a ‘drink drive awareness course’.

This course aims to stop you from drink-driving again. They are face-to-face, take place over 16 hours (usually run on 3 days spread over 3 weeks), and will have other drink-drive offenders at them. Once completed you’ll get a ‘certificate of course completion’ from the course provider and if completed in the required time frame by the court, then the disqualification will be reduced by 25 %.

If you received the minimum disqualification of 12 months, then if the course is completed this will be reduced by 3 months and as a result the disqualification served will be 9 months as opposed to 12 months.

Where a community order/custody sentence is being considered then a meeting with probation will be arranged to ascertain the correct sentence. The probation team will then draft a report on their recommendations for the sentence which the Magistrates’ will take into consideration.



How many units of alcohol can you have before you can drink and drive?

Operating a vehicle with any level of alcohol in one’s system bears intrinsic jeopardy. As stated on its site, the National Health Service has not recognized a method to safely gauge appropriate alcohol consumption amounts before driving while still maintaining legal limitations. This owes to individual differences in metabolic function and reactions to intoxicants. Factors impacting alcohol tolerance consist of weight, age, food intake quality and quantity, alcohol variety, fatigue extent, stress degree, and gender.

Though you may be within lawful thresholds, even minor alcohol quantities can impede response times and eyesight. Thus, the recommended practice for intending motorists is total abstinence from alcoholic drinks.

What Is The Legal Limit Of Alcohol

The legal limit of alcohol that can be detected when driving in England and Wales varies by the type of test that is being carried out.

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath; or
  • 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or
  • 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine

How long does a DR10 drink driving conviction stay on your driving licence?

If you’re convicted of a DR10 offense, it’ll show on your licence for 11 years from when you were convicted. You have to let your car insurance company know if you have any driving convictions – keeping quiet about it is illegal. If you don’t mention a DR10 and try to claim, your insurance claim could get refused and your policy cancelled.

How long does a DR10 drink driving conviction stay on your criminal record?

A conviction only goes on your criminal record if you’ve been found guilty. In England and Wales, drink driving can potentially result in six months prison. Even if you avoid a prison sentence and receive a fine, the DR10 will still appear on your criminal record. After five years that conviction is then considered “spent”.

I Have A Charge Sheet With A Court Date, What Do I Do?

Upon being charged by the police you will be released with a charge sheet with a court date stating the date, time and court in which you are bailed to appear before. This is to enter a plea. This will usually be about 3 – 4 weeks following the initial charging.

You are then faced with a very daunting decision which will have a significant impact on your life. Understandably, this is an exceptionally stressful time, and you must obtain correct and informative legal advice which provides you with your options.

Unfortunately, you cannot ignore this date and hope that this will go away as you are bailed to attend court which will mean that if you do not attend then a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

Can I Challenge An Alleged Offence Of Driving With Excess Alcohol?

When entering a plea, you will be faced with two options, pleading guilty or not guilty.

Faced with this decision you may be wondering whether there are circumstances in which you can challenge an alleged offence of drink driving.

There are several issues which may give rise to a defence in law, and these fall into the categories of ‘Factual Defence’, ‘Technical Defence’ and ‘Procedural Defence’.

What Could Be Used As A Factual Defence In A Drink Driving Charge?

The following are all examples of factual defences that could be applied to a drink driving charge.

  • I was not driving or attempting to drive – this may give rise to a plea bargain to an alternative offence of ‘drunk in charge’ which can be sentenced by penalty points as opposed to a disqualification from driving.
  • I was not driving a mechanically propelled vehicle.
  • The location of the offence was not a road or other public place – The Road Traffic Act does not apply to private land.
  • I was acting in necessity or under “duress of circumstance” – This requires a person to fear serious harm and their reaction must be what could be expected of a reasonable person.

What Could Be Used As A Technical Defence Against A Drink Driving Charge?

What Could Be Used As A Technical Defence Against A Drink Driving Charge

The following are all examples of technical defences that could be applied to a drink driving charge.

The Defendant’s recollected consumption of alcohol does not correlate with the breath reading

You may feel that the reading that was detected was higher than you expected and does not correlate with how much you have had to drink as per the principle set by Cracknell v Willis [1988]. 

An independent expert would be instructed to comment on your recollected breath consumption compared to the reading provided and to the potential reasoning for the difference. If the report is positive, then this places doubt on the prosecution’s case as this infers that the machine is unreliable or faulty.

For the prosecution to be successful they must prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. If doubt can be established, then this calls into question their case.

Post alcohol consumption

If you are not stopped by the police whilst driving, it may be that between the time of your driving and providing an evidential specimen, you have consumed alcohol.

If this is the case, then it can be argued that had it not been for your post-driving consumption then your evidential specimen would have not exceeded the legally prescribed limit at the time of driving.

To argue this defence an independent expert will need to provide a “back calculation” report, which will provide evidence of what your specimen would have been at the time of driving.

If it is proven on the balance of probabilities that it is your post-driving consumption that has caused you to exceed the specified limit, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.

What Could Be Used As A Procedural Defence Against A Drink Driving Charge?

The following are all examples of procedural defences that could be applied to a drink driving charge.

The statutory warning was not provided

You may be wondering what is the statutory warning. When stopped by the police under the suspicion of driving with excess alcohol then they are required to warn you of the following:

“I require you to provide two specimens of breath for analysis by means of an approved device. The specimen with the lower proportion of alcohol may be used as evidence and the other will be disregarded. I warn you that failure to provide either of these specimens will render you liable to prosecution.” “Do you agree to provide two specimens of breath for analysis ?”

How important is this warning? In Simpson v Spalding, Lord Justice Ralph Gibson said, “I can see no escape from the conclusion that a failure to warn… causes the requirement made without that warning to be ineffective.” If the statutory warning is not provided, then this gives rise to an automatic defence which will secure an acquittal.

You may be wondering how can I prove that this warning was not given? Well, once this issue is raised the prosecution is required to prove that the statutory warning was given and so the burden is not placed upon you.

Taking urine samples

Two specimens of urine must be taken within one hour of one another. If however, there is insufficient time between specimens or one specimen is split into two, this specimen will not be admissible and you will be acquitted of the offence.

Taking blood samples

A blood sample must be taken by a medical practitioner and consent must be given to them for the specimen to be taken. If either of these things is not provided or requested, then the specimen will be inadmissible which will result in your acquittal.

What Is The Outcome Of A DR10 Conviction?

If you have been charged with an alleged offence of drink driving, and subsequently found to be guilty, the table below provides the guidelines and starting position that the magistrates will consider when imposing a sentence. In all cases where a driver is convicted of drink driving, a mandatory disqualification of a minimum of 12 months will be imposed.







Starting point Range Disqualification Disqualification if second offence within 10 years.
120 – 150 and above 276 – 345 and above 367 – 459 and above 12 weeks custody. High level community order – 26 weeks’ custody. 29 – 36 months (Extend if imposing immediate custody) 36 – 60 months.
90 – 119 207 – 275 275 – 366 Medium level community order Low level community order – High level community order. 23 – 28 months. 36 – 52 months.
60 – 89 138 – 206 184 – 274 Band C fine. Band C Fine – Low level community order. 17 – 22 months. 36 – 46 months.
36 – 59 81 – 137 108 – 183 Band C fine. Band B Fine – Band C fine. 12 – 16 months. 36 – 40 months.


Can I Be Convicted Of Drink Driving And Avoid A Disqualification?

There are circumstances where a person will enter a guilty plea to drink driving and thereafter not be imposed with a disqualification from driving.

Examples of special reasons which can be argued before the court are as follows:

  • Shortness of distance driven.
  • Driving due to an emergency.
  • A driver’s drink is being spiked without their knowledge.

Special reasons are extenuating circumstances which would not give rise to a defence hence the guilty plea entered. Special reasons take into consideration moral culpability and look at the reasoning behind your actions.

Can I Appeal A DR10 Conviction?

If you have been found guilty before the Magistrates’ Court of drink driving, then you have the right to appeal within 21 days. If outside of these 21 days then an explanation will need to be provided to the court as to why this appeal is late. The Crown court will consider this and then decide whether they will allow an appeal to be heard.

It may be that you were unrepresented at the Magistrates’ Court or came up against a difficult bench, appealing this to the Crown Court is complete re–hearing and would allow your case to be heard again.

If you have pleaded guilty before the Magistrates’ Court for an alleged offence of drink driving, then you will be unable to appeal.

What Happens If I Am Charged With A Further Offence Of Drink Driving Whilst I Have A DR10 Conviction?

If you have been charged with a further offence of driving with excess alcohol, then this will only be relevant when considering sentencing if you have been charged with the further offence within 5 years of the first offence of driving with excess alcohol. The conviction will be classed as spent following this time period.

If you have been convicted of a further offence of driving with excess alcohol within this time frame, then this will result in a harsher sentence than the initial offence of driving with excess alcohol.

The sentencing guidelines provide that if convicted of a further offence of driving with excess alcohol within 10 years then this will result in a minimum driving disqualification of 36 months with the maximum being 60 months depending upon the reading.

If charged with a further offence of drink driving, then this also significantly increases the risk of a custodial sentence.

Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors
Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.
Neil Davies

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