Caught drink driving? What to do & what to expect?

Insurance Revolution Blog

Driving under influence is a strict “No”. Around 8,000 casualties & 240 deaths are witnessed from drink driving a year and hence you can fathom the magnum catastrophe here caused by such an unethical act. However, people make mistakes. It could be that you are meeting your school friends after a year and you got swayed away in the midst of all the nostalgia, fun and banter. It could also be that you recently had a heartbreak and you wish to forget everything now with the help of alcohol. Once again, such instances are no excuse for drink driving but we are humans and we tend to succumb to certain situations.

The post below explains what to do and what to expect when you are caught drink driving but before that let’s have a look at the drink driving limits followed in the UK & USA-

Limit followed in the UK:

For Northern Ireland, Wales and England-

The drink driving limit is 80 mg alcohol/100 ml blood

35 microgrammes/100ml breath

107 mg/100ml urine

For Scotland-

The drink driving limit is 50 mg alcohol/100 ml blood

22 microgrammes/100ml breath

67 mg/100ml urine

For the United States of America-

The drink driving limit is 80 mg alcohol/100 ml blood.

However, these levels would depend on certain factors:

  • Your sex, age, weight & metabolism
  • Amount and type of alcohol you had
  • The food that you ate recently
  • Stress levels

Now, let’s see what to do when you are caught by the police for drink driving-

In case of one drink:

One drink or two, it’s wiser not to drive while drunk but still if it’s just one peg you are way safe while caught compared to someone who more number of pints. Now, when you see the cops coming up to you, please don’t act oversmart by popping chewing gum or swishing mouthwash. Rather, roll down your car windows and prepare yourself to face them with all sincerity. Besides, it’s also advised that you minimize down your breathing & get ready with your license & registration.

It would be better if you are confident about your drink & say something like –“It was a pint a few hours back”. The cops might still ask you for the Breathalyzer test. Don’t disobey them and take the test. Try to blow low and it is likely that you would be able to drive away free.

In case of 3 drinks:

You are driving with 3 drinks down and suddenly you see the cops heading towards your steam. Follow the same stuff as mentioned earlier- like air out your car, minimize breathing & have the required paperwork handy.

Do not ever try to lie or decline any question regarding drink driving to the cops. But then again, there is every chance of getting caught if you go for the Breathalyzer test. However, they will ask you for that and your only route of wheeling away unscathed is a low blow. It’s a risk and you there is a 50-50 chance here. However, when you still have 50% chance, why not risk it? Remember, if you refuse to the Breathalyzer test, you would be penalized with a 1-year-long license suspension.

In case of 5 drinks

If you are down with 5 drinks, there is no point of denying that you are not drink driving because you would be reeking of alcohol and the cops are super smart in such situations. So, do not risk saying a direct “NO” when they ask whether you are drunk but then do not say a straight “Yes” as well. Play little diplomatic here and reply –“I am not very comfortable answering the question”. Besides, refuse taking to Breathalyzer test. Yes, you will have the license suspended (1 year) but then penalties would differ depending on intoxication level and you might end up with a lighter penalty. It’s better than embarrassing yourself and messing up by blowing a high number. High numbers are often synonymous with criminal records.

What if you refuse Breathalyzer test?

When the person suspected of drink driving refuses Breathalyzer test, the cops would take him to police station. At the station, a doctor would collect your urine or blood sample for testing. Always remember, nobody else but only a physician can take the sample & that too with your permission.

The doctor will take your sample and extend the result immediately. You would be given the printout of alcohol level for your records. The lowest sample reading would be taken as the evidence for your case. Remember, if you are under the influence of drugs and it’s not just drink driving, the doctor will get to know from your test. So, be careful and the safest way here to avoid any kinds of drugs while driving.

What if you damage the car?

In case, you have damaged the car while drink driving, its better you inform your insurance company immediately. The insurance provider would arrange for courtesy car so that you can drive to home. However, if you are too drunk to handle the steering, please confess it to the cops. They will arrange for something if you are gentle and polite.

You should also be aware of the penalties you might face while caught driving under the influence of alcohol-

If you are driving while above legal limit/unfit to drive under influence-

  • 3 months of imprisonment
  • Driving ban  (possibly)
  • Fine up till £25,00

If you are attempting to wheel or are wheeling under the same situation mentioned above:

  • 6 months of imprisonment
  • Driving ban  for 1 year
  • Unlimited fine

Refusal of breath, urine or blood specimen for analysis:

  • 6 months of imprisonment
  • Driving ban  for 1 year
  • Unlimited fine

Causing death through careless driving while drunk

  • 14 years of imprisonment
  • Driving ban  for 2 years
  • Unlimited fine
  • Extended drive test before getting back the license.

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