If you are stopped whilst driving by a police officer on suspicion of driving with excess alcohol under the Road Traffic Act 1988, you will be required to provide a roadside breath test. If the roadside test shows that you are over the prescribed limit of alcohol in your breath (or you fail to provide a sample) you will be arrested and taken to the police station.

At the station you will be required to provide a sample of breath on the Evidential Breath Machine. This will give an evidential sample and show if you are over the prescribed limit and by how much. If the machine is faulty you may be requested to provide either a sample of urine or blood.

It is an offence (failing to provide) to refuse to provide a sample without good reason when requested which can carry a custodial sentence (up to a maximum of 6 months) and mandatory disqualification.


There are a number of penalties for drink driving ranging from a custodial sentence (up to a maximum of 6 months) to a financial one. There is also likely to be a mandatory disqualification of at least 12 months.

For some people the loss of a driving licence has far reaching implications from losing their employment to not being able to support a family.

The loss of a driving licence can also lead to added stress. We aim to reduce the stress and guide you through the process from arrest, police interview and any court appearance. We will consider the evidence and assess the case fully before formulating a strategy to ensure that you obtain the most favourable outcome.

Legal defence

In some cases of driving with excess alcohol there may be a legal defence available. These include technical or procedural reasons, the driving occurred on private property, the ‘hip flask’ defence in that the driver drank alcohol after driving and duress.

There may also be special reasons to avoid disqualification. A special reason is an extenuating issue that is not a defence but is directly connected to the commission of the offence and is something that should be considered when the Court imposes the sentence. An example of a special reason is a drink being ‘spiked’.

With the end of lockdown 2, Christmas and New Year approaching it is important to remember that you may still be over the drink drive limit the following day.

Due to the technical nature of this area if you are charged with driving with excess alcohol it is crucial that you seek legal advice.

Related Services

Related Team Specialists

Jonothan Moss
Principal Lawyer

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