Drink Driving in Scotland
With motor vehicle offences accounting for almost half of all recorded crimes in Scotland, drink driving is increasingly targeted with campaigns attempting to highlight the current limits and penalties for the offence. Police Scotland’s annual festive campaign found one in every 15 motorists tested positive for drink-driving last year, with 33 drivers more than four times over the limit. There are severe consequences if you are convicted of drink driving in Scotland, including fines, disqualification and imprisonment. Whatever your circumstances, Davidson & Shirley's professional traffic defence lawyers can provide robust and strategic legal advice to protect your rights.
What is the current law for drink driving in Scotland?
Section 5 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 sets out two separate offences in respect of drink driving. It is an offence for a person to:
- Drive or attempt to drive a motor vehicle on a road or public place if the alcohol level in their breath, blood or urine is above the prescribed limit;
- Be in charge of a motor vehicle if the alcohol level in their breath, blood or urine is above the prescribed limit.
What are the limits and penalties for drink driving?
The prescribed alcohol levels for motorists across Scotland was reduced back in 2014 and, more importantly, differs from the limits in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The current drink-drive limits in Scotland are:
- 22 mcg of alcohol in 100 ml of breath
- 50 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood
- 67 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of urine
If you are breathalysed and found to be over the limit, there will be severe consequences if you plead or are found guilty of drink driving. Drivers can expect the following penalties:
- A minimum period of one year’s disqualification
- A minimum period of three years' disqualification with the requirement to sit an extended test if you are convicted of drink driving twice within ten years
- A minimum period of one year’s disqualification for failing to provide a specimen of breath for a police officer
Should you cause an accident while under the influence of alcohol and someone is injured or killed, you could face up to 14 years’ imprisonment. The latest government statistics confirm that the UK’s drink-drive related deaths are at an eight-year high. The penalties for drink driving are long-lasting, which is why it is crucial you get specialist representation from a qualified road traffic professional at the earliest opportunity.
Drink Driving Expert Defence Solicitors, Scotland
While drink driving is never condoned, there are situations where an individual may fall foul of the law by failing to judge the alcohol level in their system accurately. A typical example of this is where a person is found to be over the limit the morning after consuming alcohol. Recent research from Confused.com found almost half (46 per cent) of people who have been caught drink-driving were caught the day after they were drinking.
It is common in drink driving cases for evidence to be a source of dispute, such as faulty equipment used to carry out a breath test. Our solicitors can help with investigations and give advice based on their years of experience, challenging the accuracy of the equipment where appropriate.
If you have been suspected of drink-driving, you have an obligation to provide a sample when one of the reasons set out in the 1988 Act occurs. However, police officers must also follow procedural rules to avoid making the evidence inadmissible. According to the 1988 Act, officers must warn the driver that they may be liable to prosecution if they choose not to provide a specimen. Failure to inform the motorist that a sample is a legal requirement could result in the case being acquitted.