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Drink Driving | Is it worth the risk this Christmas?

Criminal Defence

Many people are looking forward to a return of Christmas parties and celebrations this year, after Christmas was cancelled by restrictions in 2020. But drivers are being reminded by Cambridgeshire Constabulary, as part of a month-long drink and drug driving campaign during December, to recognise the dangers of getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

So far in 2021, a total of 699 drink and drug driving-related arrests have been made in Cambridgeshire. PC Jon Morris, Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s casualty reduction officer, said:

“The global pandemic changed many people’s Christmas celebrations in 2020 and we understand some people will want to make the most of the festivities this year. However, the law remains the same and if people are caught driving under the influence, they will be prosecuted.”

The morning after

Whilst most people will know they shouldn’t consume alcohol or drugs before driving, many forget that the effects of drugs and alcohol can remain in their system for many hours, and it is important to consider transport arrangements for not only the time you are enjoying a few drinks, but also the next day.

Five police operations will take place in December focused on the morning after, funded by the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

What punishments are given for drink driving?

Aside from the obvious danger to the driver or other road users, anyone caught driving with more than the legal limit of alcohol in their system faces a minimum disqualification from driving of 12 months.  The actual disqualification imposed could be much higher in more serious cases.

In most cases, drink drivers are punished by way of a fine, ordered to pay prosecution costs, and a surcharge to support victims of crime.  However, in serious cases – those with high levels of alcohol, repeat offenders, or those with aggravating features such as causing an accident, being caught driving near a school, being under the influence also of drugs, or having children in the car, there is a risk of a prison sentence or tough community order such as Unpaid Work or a Curfew Order.

Do I need a solicitor?

If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself arrested for drink driving, you may find the process and prospect of appearing in court somewhat daunting.  A solicitor can help you to understand the procedure of the court and they can speak in court on your behalf.

A solicitor may also be able to help persuade the court that you should not be sent to prison, but that you should be given the chance to serve your punishment in the community or your solicitor can urge the court to treat you more leniently than they might otherwise have been minded to do. If drinking has become a problem for you, they can push for you to be assessed for treatment programmes rather than being given a sentence that is purely about punishment.

In most cases, the magistrates have the power to make an order that your disqualification be reduced if you attend a driver improvement course.  Your solicitor can make sure that chance is made available to you.

Find out about support we offer for driving offences

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