New Guidelines for Driving with Excess Alcohol

The sentencing guidelines fro driving with an excess of alcohol changed from 24 April 2017. There has been an across the board change to sentencing guidelines for the Magistrates Court with a view to making punishments reflect public attitudes to particular offences.

In relation to driving with excess alcohol (drink driving), the court must endorse and disqualify from driving for a minimum period of 12 months. This minimum period increases to 2 years if the person has 2 or more disqualifications for periods of 56 days or more within the preceding 3 years.

There is a further increased minimum period of disqualification of 3 years if the driver has been convicted of a drink drive offence in the preceding 10 years.

Any disqualification is to be extended to take account of an immediate custodial sentence i.e. the period of disqualification starts at the end of the custodial sentence.

Call Richard Wood or Amber Tansley of Hansells Solicitors on 0808 156 1177 for a free and without obligation discussion about your drink driving case.

When considering sentence, the court is required to look at any aggravating or mitigating factors.

Statutory aggravating factors:
- Previous convictions, having regard to a) the nature of the offence to which the conviction relates and its relevance to the current offence; and b) the time that has elapsed since the conviction
- Offence committed whilst on bail.

Other aggravating factors:
- Failure to comply with current court orders
- Offence committed on licence or post sentence supervision
- LGV, HGV, PSV etc
- Poor road or weather conditions
- Carrying passengers
- Driving for hire or reward
- Evidence of unacceptable standard of driving
- Involved in accident
- High level of traffic or pedestrians in the vicinity
- Factors reducing seriousness or reflecting personal mitigation
- No previous convictions or no relevant/recent convictions
- Genuine emergency established *
- Spiked drinks *
- Very short distance driven *
- Remorse
- Good character and/or exemplary conduct
- Serious medical condition requiring urgent, intensive or long-term treatment
- Age and/or lack of maturity where it affects the responsibility of the offender
- Mental disorder or learning disability
- Sole or primary carer for dependent relatives
*even where not amounting to special reasons

Considering charges based on breath specimens, the starting points are as follows (only offence in 10 year period):
36-59 Band C Fine 12-16 months disqualification

60-89 Band C Fine 17-22 months disqualification

90-119 Medium Level 23-28 months disqualification
Community Order

120-150 12 weeks custody 29-36 months disqualification.