One for the Road?

As we enjoy the summer sun (hopefully) many of us are enjoying a sociable drink, whether it’s meeting friends at the local or having a drink and a barbeque. But be aware as Police Forces across England and Wales operate their summer drink drive campaigns, more people are being found driving whilst over the prescribed limit. Lincolnshire Police claim that in the first 24 days of it’s campaign, they have stopped and arrested 60 people for driving over the prescribed limit, whilst North Yorkshire Police state that have arrested over 80 people in the period.

But what happens if you are stopped by the Police on suspicion of drink driving?

The Police will request you to undertake a roadside breath test. If you refuse, the Police will arrest you as that is an offence itself. So say, you do take the breath test and it gives a positive result, what happened then?

You will be arrested on suspicion of drink driving and taken to the Police Station, where after being “booked” into the Custody suite, you will be invited to provide two samples of your breath into the breath test machine, often known as an “intoxilyzer”. This measures the concentration of alcohol in your breath. The machine also detects if you are blowing hard enough!

If the reading is below 40 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath, you will either be released without charge or with a caution. If the reading is between 40 and 50, the Police will opt for one of the other methods. Should your reading be above 50 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath, you will be charged with drink driving and you will need to go to Court. At the Court, if you are guilty, the Court will disqualify from driving for a minimum period of 12 months, but the actual length of the ban will depend upon the reading you gave at the Police Station. The Court will also impose a fine, a community penalty or a prison sentence, again this depends upon the reading.

Can I refuse to give a sample?

Yes you can but unless you have a very good reason for not giving the sample, you could be charged with the offence of Failing to Provide a Sample for Analysis.

What happens if the machine does not work?

If there is a fault with the machine, the Police will opt for one of the other methods, which are either taking a blood sample or a urine sample. It is the Police who decide which method they go for.

So, if the Police decide to go for a blood sample, they will call a health care professional to attend the police station and take the sample from you. If you refuse, without good reason, you will be charged with Failing to Provide a Sample for Analysis.

If they go for the urine option, you will be asked to provide two samples of urine within a 1 hour period. If you refuse or do not provide the samples with the 1hour period, you will be charged with Failing to Provide a Sample for Analysis.

Can I speak to a solicitor before I give the samples?

Whilst you are detained at the Police Station, you do have the right to speak to a solicitor, free of charge. It is the usual practice for this entitlement to be delayed until after the breath, blood or urine samples have been taken.

So if you are going to drink, then don’t drive but if you do, be aware of what will happen if you are caught. Always consult a solicitor if you have been charged with drink driving and do it as soon as possible. They really can help.

If you face a matter and want to discuss it in detail, please contact Carl for a free no obligation initial consultation.

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