The offence of driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs occurs where it is said that a person’s ability to drive a motor vehicle has been impaired, either by drink (usually alcohol) or by drugs.
What does impaired by drink mean?
Commonly, if someone’s driving has been affected by drink (alcohol), a charge of drink driving will be preferred where a sample of breath, blood or urine has been taken, analysed and found to be over the permitted legal limit. But if the results come back under the legal limit, or if for some reason no sample could be taken or results obtained, then a person could be charged with Driving whilst Unfit, if in the opinion of a Police Officer or other expert, that person’s ability to drive had been affected.
You may think that the term drugs relates to illegal drugs such as cocaine, heroin and cannabis. While that is correct, it also relates to prescribed medication which, if taken, affects the driver’s ability to drive the vehicle. For example, a diabetic who has taken the wrong amount of insulin, or a person on prescribed painkillers that may feel drowsy after taking them, can both commit the offence.
Who judges whether my ability to drive has been affected?
That is a matter for the Court to decide after hearing the facts of the matter and the evidence of a Police Officer or other Expert as to the ability or otherwise to drive and whether you were driving whilst unfit. If it is suggested that you appear to be falling asleep at the wheel, weaving across the road, travelling at very slow speeds or have an inability to understand questions asked of you, then your ability to drive may have been affected.
What is the penalty for driving whilst unfit?
If convicted, the Court must disqualify you from driving for a minimum mandatory period of 12 months, this may increase dependant upon the level of impairment and the presence of aggravating factors. If this is a 2nd or subsequent conviction of driving whilst unfit within a 10 year period, then the Court must impose a mandatory disqualification of at least 36 months.
The Court will also impose a fine of up to £5,000 or impose up to 6 months imprisonment. Prison sentences are usually reserved for cases of high level impairment and the presence of numerous aggravating factors.
What do I do now?
If you face the charge of driving whilst unfit, it is important that you get expert and specialist representation. With Trident Solicitors, we will fully examine your case and look at the alleged impairment. There may be other explanations.
Contact Carl now on 01482 227669 and discuss your case today.