On the run-up to the festive season, Police Scotland launched their annual drink-driving campaign in Edinburgh this Thursday. The Minister for Community Safety, Ash Denham, Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC, and Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams were advising of the risks of drink-driving and how best to plan ahead this Christmas.
With more than 20,000 drivers being stopped by the police in Scotland every month, Police Scotland’s enforcement campaign will see a stronger focus on drink-driving starting from tomorrow (1st December), aiming to highlight the criminal and personal consequences of a drink-driving conviction.
During the 2017-18 drink-driving campaign, Assistance Chief Constable Mark Williams announced that 567 drivers were caught by failing the breath test during the festive period, and warned that this year, officers will be out in force around Scotland again targeting drink-drivers.
The campaign reported that Scots believe the top consequences of a drink-drive conviction are losing your licence (81%),and getting a criminal record (80%). However, the other very real and personal consequences which were not as widely considered, were;-
The study – completed by 1,001 people in Scotland aged 21-40 years old – also asked respondents about their feelings and attitudes towards those with a drink-drive conviction. The majority of people said they would feel less likely to trust someone with a drink-driving conviction as they would view them as unreliable and a criminal.
Scotland has the lowest drink-drive limit in the UK at 50mg per 100ml of blood or 22mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath (England by comparison has a limit of at 80mg per 100ml of blood or 35mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath). And with the minimum penalty for conviction being a 12 month disqualificationualification, ranging all the way up to a period of 6 months Imprisonment depending on the seriousness of the offence… whether you are just over, or well over the limit, the consequences of being presecuted for Drink Driving can be devastating for anyone who relys on their licence! And all this is before considering the financial implications, given that a fine can be up to £5000 and the courts can even look to seize your vehicle…
Although many believe they can afford to have ‘just one drink’, the Don’t Risk It campaign explains that the legal limit is not an allowance as such, but there to cover people’s differeing metabolisms –There may be small volumes of alcohol in a dessert or a sauce, for example, or in the makeup of some mouthwashes. To avoid any doubt, the guidance is simply not to drink at all before taking to vehicle.
If the police pull you over to check you are not over the drink driving limit, they will give you a breathalyser test at the roadside. If you refuse to take the breathalyser without reasonable excuse, you will be arrested and taken to the police station to provide a further two breath specimens into a more advanced breathalyser.
If you refuse again, without a reasonable excuse, you will then be charged, and prosecuted. You will note the defence here being “without reasonable excuse”, of which the onus rests on the defence to establish. The “bar” is set high in this regard, and you should seek guidance from a specialist Road Traffic Lawyer if you find yourself in this situation. Simply refusing to take a breathalyser because you don’t think you need to will not establish the defence, even if you haven’t done anything wrong, and not only can it lead to disqualification, but could also lead to your car being forfeited.
One of the best ways to make sure you get home safe from a night out during the festive period is to plan your transportation. Regardless if you’ve only had one drink, it is not worth taking your car and putting yourself and others at risk. Instead, you can use public transport. You can download the Traveline Scotland app for travel advice or use Google maps for bus and train routes and travel assistance. If you would rather not use public transport, you can get a taxi. It may not be as easy as driving yourself home that night, however it’ll be much cheaper than facing an unlimited fine for being caught.
If you are arrested for a Drink-Driving offence and need proactive legal representation in Glasgow, Hamilton, Bearsden, Milngavie, Lanarkshire, Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Bothwell, Uddingston, Stirling, Dumfries, Inverness or anywhere else in Scotland then DON’T PANIC! Contact our specialist Drink-Driving Lawyers now. Speak with one of our specialist Road Traffic Lawyers at our offices in Glasgow on 0141 374 2121 & Hamilton on 01698 283 265 or fill out our online form and we will call you back within 24 hours.
Please remember that Scullion LAW Road Traffic Experts is part of a full service, high street law firm and we are on hand to help you with all your legal needs.