Driving Over the Prescribed Limit

Charged with driving, or of being in charge of, a motor vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit?

Paul Donnachie, Solicitor

Specialist Drink Driving Solicitor with over 35 years’ expertise in this area. Let me help you.

Being found guilty of driving over the prescribed limit can have profound consequences on your life, and those of your loved ones.

If you have been caught drink driving, you need to speak to a lawyer without delay. At Donnachie Law we have a great deal of experience in defending drink driving prosecutions. We understand that keeping your licence is important to you, and will do all we can to protect it.

To find out more about how we can help, please do not hesitate to call us now on Freephone 0800 678 5167 or make a Free No Obligation Initial Enquiry today and let us explain your options.

“I was facing 2 charges, namely dangerous driving and speeding at speeds of up to 120mph. Naturally, I was pretty worried. I was put in touch with Paul Donnachie of Donnachie Law. He agreed to represent me.

Long story short, Paul met with someone in the Procurator Fiscal’s office and went over the charges with him. He managed to negotiate the dropping of the dangerous driving charge. And the Fiscal agreed also to limit the speeding charge to “speeds of up to 100mph”.

I tendered a guilty plea to the amended speeding charge and received a fine and 5 penalty points. I was amazed and delighted at the outcome especially since losing my licence would probably have meant losing my job as well. I doubt many other lawyers could have achieved a result like that.”

JM, Kirkcaldy

Penalties for driving over the prescribed limit

The penalties for driving over the prescribed limit vary depending on the seriousness of the alleged offence, and whether or not it is a first offence.

As a general rule of thumb, a first-time offender can expect to lose their licence for minimum of 12 months, whereas someone who has already had a conviction for drink driving in the last 10 years will likely be banned for at least three years. The court also has the power to –

  • Endorse your licence with three to 11 penalty points if special reasons apply
  • Send you to prison for up to six months
  • Fine you up to £5,000
  • Take your car away, which usually happens when the reading is three or more times the legal limit. This penalty is more commonly sought by the prosecution if the offence occurred over the Christmas/New Year Period

The prescribed limits in Scotland

Since December 2014, someone is deemed to be over the prescribed limit in Scotland if he/she has more than –

  • 22mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
  • 50mcg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
  • 67mcg of alcohol per 100ml of urine

Typically what will happen is that you will be stopped by the police and be asked to take a roadside breath test. It is important to note that in Scotland, refusing a breath test without a reasonable excuse is also an offence.

If the reading shows that you are over the prescribed limit, you will be arrested and taken to a police station. There you will be asked to provide two further samples, normally of breath. If the lower of the two samples provided at the police station is above the prescribed limit you will be charged and reported to the Procurator Fiscal for prosecution.

For someone to be convicted of driving over the prescribed limit, the prosecution needs to provide a print-out from the breath machine that confirms you were over the prescribed limit. It also needs to show that the correct procedures were taken when collecting these samples, and that you were driving on a public road or in a public place.

Driving the morning after the night before

Sometimes you will be stopped by the police hours after having had your last drink. If a breath test shows that you are driving over the prescribed limit, it may come as a complete shock, as you may have been convinced that the alcohol had left your system. This is most common when people drive in the morning, having drunk alcohol the night before.

However, ignorance is not a sufficient defence. In such situations the same legal limits apply, as do the same penalties if found guilty.

How can we help?

Often people who are charged with driving over the prescribed limit feel despondent, as they assume it is an open and shut case. However, this is not always true.

Given that the prosecution has to prove a number of things before you can be found guilty, there is often scope for defending a drink drive charge. For example, it could be argued that you were not actually driving at the time, or you were not on a road or in a public place.

Alternatively we may advise a different approach to reduce the possible consequences of a drink drive charge, like entering an early guilty plea. Or you could plead guilty on the basis of special reasons, whereby there are mitigating circumstances that explain why you were driving over the prescribed limit. For instance, there may have been a medical emergency or you may have been fleeing from danger.

Every case is different and we can suggest what would be the best approach for you. We have significant experience in this area of the law and have successfully defended many clients on the charge of driving over the prescribed limit.

Contact Us Now With No Obligation

If you have been charged with driving over the prescribed limit, please contact us now on Freephone 0800 678 5167 or make a Free No Obligation Initial Enquiry.

If we feel we cannot assist you, we will let you know at the start. If we believe, however, that we can successfully defend your case or present strong mitigating special reasons, we will act on your behalf, working hard to preserve your licence.

    Make a no obligation enquiry

    Why Choose Us?

    • Bringing over 35 years’ experience to help you
    • Specialist Court Solicitor
    • Featured in Scots Law Times

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