Drinks drivers warned they will still be arrested even if they are under limit
Drivers heading into the party season are being reminded that they can still be arrested even if they are under the drink driving limit.
Motorists who pass a breathalyser test could still face a drink driving conviction.
If police judge you to be “unfit” from booze, it could even result in you being jailed for three months, a £2,500 fine and a driving disqualification.
Most drivers caught intoxicated behind the wheel get a conviction code of DR40 on their licence for being “in charge of a vehicle while alcohol level above limit”.
But there’s another type of conviction — the old DR50 — which means you can still be prosecuted even if you pass a breathalyser test.
This relates to being “in charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink”.
- FA plea for good behaviour falls on deaf ears as England fans clash with police
- Voters want MPs tested for drugs and booze before taking seat
It’s down to the opinion of the arresting officer to decide whether you’re fit, or unfit, to be behind the wheel.
The charge has been highlighted by UK firm Select Car Leasing, who are advising UK motorists to adopt a zero tolerance booze policy, Mirror Online reports.
"It can be tempting, particularly in the height of Christmas, to enjoy a drink before heading home," expert Mark Tongue explained.
“But if that drink makes you impaired in any way, even though you may not be above the legal limit, you could still face heavy consequences.
“If you’re feeling unwell, alcohol can make you excessively drowsy. Meanwhile some antibiotics, when mixed with alcohol, can cause sickness and dizziness.
- Man ranted about 'Muslim principles and death' on plane after he's refused drink
“A DR50 charge means 10 points on your licence and a hefty fine.
“Our advice would be to swerve the drinks entirely if you know you’re going to be behind the wheel.”
Meanwhile, a similar conviction also exists for drug use.
A DR90 conviction — “in charge of a vehicle when unfit through drugs” — also means 10 penalty points on your licence and a fine of up to £2,500.
A DR50 or DR90 will also stay on your license for four years from the date of the conviction.
UK motoring lawyer Emma Patterson, from Patterson Law, said the DR50 and the DR90 codes hail from a time before breathalyser tests existed, when cops had to use their own judgement.
Today's Top Stories
“You have a number of potential offences where you can be charged and convicted without being above the ‘legal limit’," Emma said.
“The sentiment was the police really disliked having to prove beyond reasonable doubt somebody was ‘unfit’ to drive through drink or drugs because they had to prove the standard of driving was reduced or impaired by alcohol or drugs.
“When legal limits were introduced it was far more black and white.
“However, the police now tend to use the ‘unfit’ charge when they are in difficulties, perhaps, for example, when the breathalyser machine does not work properly, or if somebody fails to give a specimen for analysis.
“And by reverting to the old charge of being ‘unfit’, the prosecutor at court can simply refer to their demeanour when arrested and the standard of driving.
“It tends to be used as a sort of legal backstop.”
Source: Read Full Article