Drunk in Charge of a Vehicle

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

Paul Donnachie, Motoring Offences Solicitor

Paul Donnachie, Solicitor

It is an offence to be ‘in charge’ of your vehicle if you are over the prescribed alcohol limit. As a general rule you cannot sit or sleep in your vehicle if you are over the drink drive limit. Not many people know this and it can come as a shock to be arrested for such an offence.

If you have been arrested for being drunk in charge of a vehicle, we can help you defend the charge. Please call us now on Freephone 0800 678 5167 or make a Free No Obligation Initial Enquiry today and let us explain your options.

“Although we live in the Highlands we had a minor motoring incident in Edinburgh and were subsequently , and in our view unfairly ,charged with two offences of which we were convinced we were innocent. We did not want to go to an Edinburgh solicitor because of the inconvenience of consultations in Edinburgh and the expense and Donnachie Law was recommended to us by our own solicitor in Edinburgh ,who did not do Road Traffic cases.

Despite the frustrations of dealing with our insurers (Saga) and the incompetence of the Procurator Fiscal service Paul Donnachie gave us an admirable service. He rigorously tested our arguments and did his best to guide us through the unfamiliar world of court procedures and give us confidence in presenting our case. When it finally came to trial almost a year after the alleged incident he spotted a procedural defect in the Crown case and secured a Not Guilty verdict on both counts without us having to give evidence. We could not have asked for better support or a better outcome.

Penalties for being drunk in charge of a vehicle

If you are found guilty of being drunk in charge of a vehicle, you will typically face a discretionary disqualification or 10 penalty points. In the most serious of cases, the court also has the discretion to sentence you to three months in prison or fine you up to £2,500 (or both).

Drunk in charge of a vehicle

It is common knowledge that you are not allowed to drive while over the prescribed alcohol limit. But what many people do not realise is that you cannot be drunk in charge of a vehicle either.

So what does being ‘in charge’ of a vehicle actually mean?

There is no set definition and every case will depend on the circumstances. However, if you are in your vehicle while over the prescribed limit and there is any indication that you intended to drive, you will likely be arrested.

Often what happens is that people go out for a few drinks and then decide to sit or sleep in their car for whatever reason. They may put the keys in the ignition out of habit, or start the engine to keep warm. Yet the prosecution will argue that is evidence that you intended to drive – either straightaway, or later on (or even in the morning, when you would still be over the drink drive limit.)

How can we help?

At Donnachie Law, we have considerable experience in defending motor vehicle offences in Scotland. Thanks to our experience, we know what to do when someone is arrested on the grounds of being drunk in charge of a vehicle.

There are possible defences that can be employed and it will require a careful analysis of the situation to decide on the best approach. Normally we will want to prove that you had no intention of driving while you were over the prescribed limit, and we can use our skill and expertise to argue that this was the case. This usually involves obtaining a toxicology report indicating when you would have been within the legal limit to drive.

There may also be technical defences available. For instance, to be found guilty, you must be drunk in charge of a vehicle while on a public road. If you are not on a public road, the charges cannot be upheld. We successfully used this defence for one of our clients who was found slumped over his steering wheel next to a half-empty bottle of whisky. We argued that because his car was parked on his property – and we had his title-deed to prove it – he was not on a public road, resulting in the charges being dropped.

Contact us now

If you have been charged with being drunk in charge of a vehicle, please contact us now on Freephone 0800 678 5167 or complete our 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, 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

    What Clients Say

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    I contacted Paul back in December after being charged with dangerous driving, this was my 2nd time of being charged with this and I wanted to be prepared. Paul was very professional from the start, calling back the following morning after I had left a callback request, from the 1st phone call I knew Paul was the man for the job, he was very helpful in any questions I had. After reviewing the evidence against me, paul advised me on the best way forward, after pleading guilty at my intermediate diet the judge mentioned potential prison time. I managed to leave the court still holding my lisence with only 6 points, I don't believe any other lawyer could have got me this outcome. Thanks again Paul.

    July 17, 2018

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