Driving Offences FAQs MEET THE TEAM

  • Driving Offences FAQs

    What are the legal drink drive limits in England and Wales?

    Drink driving limit units:

    • Breath – 35 micro-grammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath
    • Blood – 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
    • Urine – 107 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine

    What are the penalties for drink driving?

    The maximum penalty for driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit is 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of £5,000. The driver will also be disqualified from driving for at least 12 months and receive between 3 and 11 penalty points. It is also an offence to be “in charge” of a motor vehicle whilst over the prescribed alcohol limit; which arises when someone is not actually driving or even attempting to drive a vehicle but where the police think that the person is intending to drive the vehicle.

    The maximum penalty for being in charge of a motor vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit is 3 months imprisonment and/or a fine of £2,500. The driver may also be disqualified from driving for any period and/or until a driving test has been passed, and will be given at least 10 penalty points.

    It is also an offence if someone refuses to provide a specimen of breath for analysis during the investigation of an allegation of drink driving over the prescribed alcohol limit (excess alcohol).

    The maximum penalty for drink driving or attempting to drive whilst unfit through drugs is 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of £5,000. The driver will also be disqualified from driving for at least 12 months and receive between 3 and 11 penalty points. An offence may also be committed if a person is “in charge” of a motor vehicle whilst unfit through alcohol or drugs; this can arise when someone is not actually driving or even attempting to drive but the police think that the person is intending to drive a vehicle. The maximum penalty for being in charge of a motor vehicle is 3 months imprisonment and/or a fine of £2,500. The driver may also receive a disqualification from driving for any period and/or until a driving test has been passed, and at least 10 penalty points.

    What are penalties for speeding?

    Speeding fines and points:

    • The maximum speeding fines penalty is £2,500
    • The driver may also be disqualified from driving for any period and/or until a driving test has been passed and they will receive between 3 and 6 penalty points.

    What are the penalties for using a mobile phone whilst driving?

    A person using a mobile telephone whilst driving or who causes or permits another driver to use a mobile telephone whilst driving will be committing an offence.

    Driving while using a mobile phone charges: The penalty imposed for using a mobile telephone whilst driving is a £60 fine and the driver will receive 3 penalty points.

    Can I be prosecuted for failing to stop/ failing to report an accident?

    If a driver is involved in an accident which results in injury or damage to another person, vehicle, animal or property, they must stop and provide their name and address, the name and address of the owner of the vehicle they are driving and the vehicle registration number.

    Charges for failing to report an accident:

    • The maximum penalty for failing to stop and/or report an accident is 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding £5,000
    • The driver may also be disqualified from driving for any period and they will receive between 5 and 10 penalty points

    What happens if I'm caught driving without a license?

    This includes those who drive without having obtained any form of driving licence and people who have a licence but who do not drive within the terms of that licence. For example, a holder of a provisional licence can only drive when accompanied and displaying “L” plates; failure to comply with these requirements would mean that they were not driving in accordance with the terms of the licence they hold.

    Driving without a license penalties:

    • The maximum penalty is a fine of £1,000
    • If the driver could have been issued with the relevant licence they may also be disqualified from driving for any period and/or until a driving test has been passed and they will receive between 3 and 6 penalty points

    What are the penalties for driving whilst disqualified?

    If a person drives a motor vehicle on a road whilst they are disqualified from holding or obtaining a licence, they will be committing an offence.

    Driving while disqualified charges:

    • The maximum penalty for driving whilst disqualified is 6 months imprisonment and/or a fine of £5,000
    • The driver may also receive a disqualification from driving for any period and/or until a driving test has been passed and they will receive 6 penalty points

    What is the law for driving without insurance?

    The maximum penalty for driving without insurance is a fine of £5,000. There is also a driving without insurance ban – preventing the driver from driving for any period and/or until a driving test has been passed and they will be given between 6 and 8 penalty points.

    What is exceptional hardship and how does it work?

    The Court can impose penalty points if it chooses not to disqualify a driver for any motoring offences. i.e. driving without insurance. If a driver has 12 or more relevant penalty points on his licence he will be disqualified from driving for a period of at least 6 months. Penalty points will be relevant if they have been endorsed on the driver’s licence for any offences that are committed within a period of 3 years (other than any penalty points which have already been “wiped off” as a result of a previous penalty points disqualification). This is often referred to as “totting up”. If a driver is disqualified under the penalty points system, the minimum period of disqualification is 6 months, unless the Court is satisfied that exceptional hardship would follow. This is a discretionary power so even if the Court is satisfied that a disqualification will result in exceptional hardship, they can still disqualify the driver.

    Exceptional hardship can be hardship to the driver or to someone else, such as their family or employer. If exceptional hardship is raised before the Court, the same exceptional hardship cannot be put forward again for a period of 3 years. If you have “totted up” 12 points for things like dangerous driving, we advise that you seek legal advice as you may have grounds for an exceptional hardship argument.

    Can I argue special reasons?

    If a driver is convicted of any dangerous driving offence for which they will be disqualified and/or given penalty points, they could avoid this penalty if the Court believes that there are special reasons why it should not be imposed.

    What are "special reasons"?

    • a mitigating or extenuating circumstance
    • something which does not amount to a defence
    • directly connected with the commission of the offence (and not the circumstances of the driver), and
    • a matter which the Court ought properly to take into account when imposing a penalty

    Examples of special reasons include laced drinks, emergencies and driving a short distance. A driver must show on the balance of probabilities that special reasons exist and must produce evidence to show special reasons. This is a discretionary power so even if the Court is satisfied of this they can still disqualify the driver. Where it is a compulsory disqualification and the Court finds that there are special reasons not to disqualify the driver, the Court will impose between 3 and 11 penalty points, unless the Court considers that the special reasons for not disqualifying the driver are also special reasons for not imposing penalty points. If you are facing a disqualification and/or penalty points on your licence we advise that you seek legal advice as you may have special reasons not to be disqualified or receive penalty points.

    Can you help me get my drivers licence restored?

    A driver can apply to the Court which originally disqualified them for a period of 3 years or more, after they have been disqualified for 2 years or more, to have their licence restored to them. When deciding whether or not to restore a driver’s licence the Court will have regard to the character of the driver and his conduct following the disqualification and the nature of the original offence for which the disqualification was imposed.

    An application for restoration of a driving licence can only be made once every 3 months.

    If you have been disqualified for a period of 3 or more years and you are 2 years into the disqualification we advise that you seek legal advice as you may be able to make an application to the Court for restoration of your driving licence.

    How do I get in touch with DPP Law driving offences experts?

    You can get in touch with DPP Law by sending us a message through our contact form.

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