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“I was recently represented by Kang & Co Solicitors for a drink driving charge. From the initial telephone call it was clear that Kang & Co were experts in this field. They provided sound advice and diligently guided me through the process leading up to the court case. Through their legal representation I was able to avoid a community order and receive the best possible outcome for my case .”

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“They had very little time to go ahead with getting all valid documents needed for my case, they were extremely efficient and great at calming me and keeping me updated with my case and it’s details with interviews and courtrooms to appear in, overall great experience with kang and co, I came out with a 2 year suspended sentence instead of a 1 year custodial sentence for GBH without intent. I now get to spend the time caring for my nan and helping with my family’s needs.”

L. Roddis, TrustPilot

Kang & Co Solicitors is a truly specialist high-end law firm providing legal advice and representation for all matters involving Criminal Law and Driving Offences. We are ranked as a top tier law firm by The Legal 500 and Chambers and Partner’s prestigous law guides.

Our head office is located at 1 Victoria Square in Birmingham City Centre and we offer our services throughout England and Wales on a private fee-paying basis. We also have an office at 330 High Holborn in London and another office in central Milton Keynes. We are frequently instructed by individuals and businesses nationwide.

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Birmingham Office

1 Victoria Square
West Midlands
B1 1BD

330 High Holborn Kang and Co Solicitors London

London Office

330 High Holborn

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Milton Keynes Office

The Pinnacle
Midsummer Boulevard
Milton Keynes

Business Hours

Monday – Friday
09:00 – 17:00
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Meetings at our offices are by Appointment Only

What Amounts to Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink?

by | Nov 3, 2023 | Articles, Driving Offence Advice

The offences of Driving with Excess Alcohol and Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink are both serious offences related to impaired driving because of the consumption of alcohol. Confusion often arises between the offences and whilst they are similar, there is a crucial difference in determining what evidence is required to charge and convict an individual for each offence.

Driving with Excess Alcohol

Where Driving with Excess Alcohol is concerned, the offence is made out when an individual operates a motor vehicle whilst exceeding the prescribed legal alcohol limits.

The offence is primarily defined by the specific concentration of alcohol in an individual’s system.  To establish the levels of alcohol, a specimen in excess of the legal limit must be obtained. This can be either in the form of a breath, blood or urine sample and must be over the prescribed limit for the offence to be made out and a charge of Driving with Excess alcohol to take place.

The current limits are as follows:

Legal Limits of Alcohol

35mg of alcohol in 100 ml of breath

80mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood

107mg of alcohol in 100 ml of urine

If a driver is found to have exceeded these limits they can expect to be charged with the offence of Driving with Excess Alcohol even if they do not display obvious signs of impairment.


Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink

Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink, on the other hand, focuses on the impairment of a driver’s abilities due to alcohol consumption, regardless of whether the individual exceeds the prescribed legal limits of consumed alcohol.

Where Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink is concerned, the prosecution must prove the individual in question to be impaired to the extent that their standard of driving is affected due to alcohol in their body. This offence does not relate just to alcohol and provides for drugs both illicit and legal. Road users should therefore be aware they are at risk of being charged with Drive Whilst Unfit Through Drugs even if they are taking prescribed medication.

This offence is defined by the driver’s behaviour and condition. It therefore encompasses situations where a person is deemed unfit to drive due to the influence of alcohol, even if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is within the legal limits.

Factors that may indicate a driver is unfit through drink include slurred speech, unsteady movements, erratic driving, and failing roadside impairment tests. The emphasis is therefore based upon observable impairment rather than specific BAC levels.

There are various ways to try and prove impairment and the police will rely on a combination of evidence such as the statements of witnesses, visual observations from officers at the scene and any form of other visual evidence such as body-worn footage and CCTV to assist with building a case against a driver in order to secure a conviction.


What are the Consequences for Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink

In the United Kingdom, the penalties for Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink will vary and depend on the severity of the offence.

Consideration of several factors, such as the level of impairment, how far an individual has driven, whether there was a collision and an individual’s previous convictions are just a few of the many factors a Court will consider when imposing a sentence.  

The penalty for such an offence will therefore range from not only disqualification from driving for a period of at least 12 months, but will also include, fines, community orders and in the more serious cases imprisonment.

  • Fines: For less severe cases, an individual may receive a fine. The amount of the fine is categorised based on sentence guidelines and will range between 100% – 175% of your weekly income.
  • Driving Disqualification: ALL cases of unfit through drink or drugs will result in a driving disqualification of at least 12 months. The length of time imposed will vary depending on the nature of the offence but ranges between 12 – 36 months for first-time offences.
  • Imprisonment: A period of imprisonment between 12 – 26 weeks is a real and possible outcome, particularly in cases where aggravating factors are present or repeat offending has taken place.
  • Criminal Record: It goes without saying, that an attendance at Court for an offence of Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink will result in a criminal conviction. This in turn can affect future employment prospects and travel opportunities.
  • Increased Insurance Costs: It is likely your insurance premiums will increase significantly making it more expensive to insure your vehicle.
  • Potential Job Loss: Some professions require a clean driving record and falling foul of this can lead to termination of your employment due to the conviction.

Responsibility and Alternatives

To avoid the legal, financial, criminal and personal consequences of Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink, it is crucial to plan ahead. If you intend to drink, consider these alternatives:

  • Designated Driver: Choose a designated driver who will not consume alcohol and will drive everyone safely home.
  • Public Transport: Use public transportation, such as buses, trams, tube, or train to get home.
  • Taxi or Ride-Sharing Services: Arrange for a taxi or a ride-sharing service like Uber.
  • Stay Overnight: If possible, spend the night where you are drinking or arrange accommodation nearby.
  • Alcohol–Free Alternatives: Just because you are “On a Night Out”, this doesn’t mean you must consume alcohol. Take advantage of the non–alcoholic beverages and mocktails which are increasingly becoming available in bars and restaurants. You’ll not only be safer and free from the prospect of a criminal conviction, but you will also have a cheaper night out saving you money overall.

If you find yourself charged with an offence of Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink, the instruction of a motoring law expert when facing such a charge is crucial for several reasons.

Firstly, the legal consequences of a drunk driving charge can be severe. As demonstrated, a Court appearance can result in a fine, disqualification of your licence and even imprisonment. Consulting a lawyer can provide essential guidance on the legal process, potential penalties and options for defence, ensuring the accused’s individual rights are protected.

Furthermore, motoring laws in The United Kingdom are complex and subject to regular updates. A motoring law specialist possesses the expertise to navigate these laws, helping clients understand the intricacies of the case potentially compiling a strong defence and investigating whether the police have followed proper procedures during the arrest, or putting together compelling mitigation to minimise the outcome of any sentence imposed.

Essentially, instructing a motoring law specialist when facing a charge of Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink is essential to safeguard one’s legal rights, navigate the complexities of the legal system and strive for the best possible outcome in a challenging situation. It is an investment in legal expertise that can make a significant difference in the final outcome and repercussions to follow.

In summary, the offence of Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink carries serious consequences both legal and personal for those in the United Kingdom. Responsible alcohol consumption and planning for alternative transportation methods are essential to ensure the safety of all road users and to avoid the severe penalties associated with drunk driving. It is not only imperative to stay within the legal alcohol limits, but you will also be far better off getting an Uber home even if you have only had one glass of wine. Thus, prioritising safety over getting behind the wheel.

Do you require legal advice &/or representation?

If you are facing a driving offence prosecution and require expert legal representation at Court, call our lawyers on 0330 818 9843 or complete our Contact Form.

What Amounts to Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drink? England and Wales drink driving laws law expert solicitor

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