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World Cup 2014: drink driving

World Cup Drink Driving

Whatever our plans for the remainder of Brazil 2014, the risk of us drinking a little bit more than usual will increase and with some games at rather antisocial hours our transport options will be limited.  The danger of making a silly decision under the influence of alcohol to get behind the wheel would carry far reaching consequences. 

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.

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

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 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.

A solicitor can help to 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.  She can urge the court to treat you leniently than they might otherwise have been minded to do and, if drinking has become a problem for you, she 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 that chance is made available to you.

Sarah Acres, Associate solicitor

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