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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.”

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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
Birmingham
West Midlands
B1 1BD

330 High Holborn Kang and Co Solicitors London

London Office

330 High Holborn
Holborn
London
WC2A 1HL

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Milton Keynes Office

The Pinnacle
Midsummer Boulevard
Milton Keynes
MK9 1BP

Business Hours

Monday – Friday
09:00 – 17:00
Weekends/Bank Holidays
Closed

Meetings at our offices are by Appointment Only

DUI Driving Under Influence – Understanding the Law & Punishment

by | Mar 22, 2024 | Articles, Driving Offence Advice

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious offence that can have far-reaching consequences for individuals in the UK. The term DUI is commonly used in the USA to describe “drunk/drink driving” but is also now regularly used in the UK. From the potential loss of license to hefty fines and even imprisonment, understanding the intricacies of DUI laws is crucial for anyone operating a vehicle on British roads. In this article, we’ll delve into the specifics of Driving Under Influence laws, the legal process involved, and what individuals can do if faced with such charges.

Understanding DUI (Driving Under the Influence/Drink Driving)

DUI, commonly referred to as drink-driving, occurs when an individual operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, exceeding the legal limit set by the UK government. The legal limit for alcohol consumption is measured in micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath, with a limit of 35 micrograms for breath samples. For blood samples, the limit is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

Consequences of DUI

The sentencing for DUI offences in the UK is guided by specific sentencing guidelines outlined by the Sentencing Council. These guidelines take into account various factors, including the level of impairment, aggravating or mitigating circumstances, and the defendant’s previous criminal record.

For first-time offenders convicted of DUI, the typical sentencing may involve a driving disqualification period of at least 12 months, a fine equivalent to a percentage of the offender’s weekly income, and the possibility of attending a rehabilitation course aimed at addressing alcohol-related issues. However, it’s important to note that these penalties can vary depending on the severity of the offence, individual circumstances and previous convictions.

In cases involving aggravating factors such as excessive speeding, causing injury or death, or driving with a particularly high alcohol concentration, the court may impose more severe penalties. This could include longer disqualification periods, community service, and in serious cases, imprisonment. On the other hand, mitigating factors such as genuine remorse, cooperation with authorities, and evidence of steps taken to address underlying issues may lead to a more lenient sentencing outcome.

Ultimately, sentencing decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account all relevant factors and aiming to achieve a fair and proportionate outcome. Defendants have the right to legal representation during sentencing hearings, where their solicitor or barrister can advocate for the most favourable outcome based on the circumstances of the case.

Understanding the sentencing guidelines and having specialist legal representation at Court is a crucial elements in navigating the sentencing process effectively and in your favour for DUI offences in the UK.

Below are the UK sentencing guidelines for DUI (Driving Under Influence/Drink Driving);

Level of Alcohol by Breath (μg)

Level of Alcohol - Breath (mg)
120–150 and above
90 – 119
60 – 89
36 – 59
Starting Point
12 weeks’ custody
Medium level community order
Band C Fine
Band C Fine
Range
High level community order – 26 weeks’ custody
Low level community order – High level community order
Band C Fine – Low level community order
Band B Fine – Band C fine
Driving Ban
29 – 36 months (Extend if imposing immediate custody)
23 – 28 months
17 – 22 months
12 – 16 months
Disqual. 2nd offence in 10 years – see note above
36 – 60 months
36 – 52 months
36 – 46 months
36 – 40 months

Level of Alcohol by Blood (mg)

Level of Alcohol - Blood (mg)
276 – 345 and above
207 – 275
138 – 206
81 - 137
Starting Point
12 weeks’ custody
Medium level community order
Band C Fine
Band C Fine
Range
High level community order – 26 weeks’ custody
Low level community order – High level community order
Band C Fine – Low level community order
Band B Fine – Band C fine
Driving Ban
29 – 36 months (Extend if imposing immediate custody)
23 – 28 months
17 – 22 months
12 – 16 months
Disqual. 2nd offence in 10 years – see note above
36 – 60 months
36 – 52 months
36 – 46 months
36 – 40 months

Level of Alcohol by Urine (mg)

Level of Alcohol - Urine (mg)
138 – 206
275 – 366
184 – 274
108 – 183
Starting Point
12 weeks’ custody
Medium level community order
Band C Fine
Band C Fine
Range
High level community order – 26 weeks’ custody
Low level community order – High level community order
Band C Fine – Low level community order
Band B Fine – Band C fine
Driving Ban
29 – 36 months (Extend if imposing immediate custody)
23 – 28 months
17 – 22 months
12 – 16 months
Disqual. 2nd offence in 10 years – see note above
36 – 60 months
36 – 52 months
36 – 46 months
36 – 40 months

Legal Process for Driving Under Influence

If charged with DUI, individuals will typically undergo the following legal process:

  1. Arrest:

Police officers have the authority to stop and arrest individuals suspected of driving under the influence. Upon arrest, individuals will be taken to a police station for testing and questioning.

  1. Breathalyzer test:

At the police station, individuals will undergo a Breathalyzer test to measure their breath alcohol concentration (BAC). Refusing to take the test can result in a prosecution for failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

  1. Interview:

Individuals are sometimes interviewed by the police, during which they have the right to legal representation. If there is a viable defence to raise, it ought to be raised at the interview stage.

  1. Court appearance:

If charged, individuals will be summoned to appear in the Magistrates’ Court to face their DUI charges. During the court proceedings, the prosecution will present evidence against the defendant, who will have the opportunity to raise a defence and enter a not-guilty plea or accept responsibility and enter a guilty plea.  

  1. Sentencing:

If a guilty plea is entered or is convicted after trial, the court will impose penalties (sentence), which may include fines, driving disqualification, and in certain cases, imprisonment.

Defending Against DUI Charges

While being charged with DUI can be daunting, there are legal avenues potentially available for mounting a defence. Common defences against DUI charges include:

Challenging the validity of the breathalyser test: Breathalyzer results can be affected by various factors, including medical conditions, environmental factors, and procedural errors. A skilled solicitor can potentially challenge the accuracy and reliability of breathalyser test results.

Questioning police procedures: Law enforcement officers must adhere to strict procedures when conducting DUI arrests and testing. Any deviations from these procedures can undermine the prosecution’s case and provide grounds for dismissal.

Evidence of driving: If the Police are unable to provide that you were driving whilst, under the influence, there could be scope to challenge the case on his particular point

In Conclusion

Driving Under the Influence is a serious offence that carries significant legal and personal consequences in the UK. Understanding DUI laws, the legal process involved, and available defences is essential for anyone facing such charges. If charged with DUI, seeking the guidance of a specialist solicitor is crucial for navigating the legal system effectively and safeguarding one’s rights and interests. Remember, prevention is always better than cure – never drink and drive.

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.

DUI driving under influence of alcohol, drink driving, UK law, motoring offence

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1 Victoria Square
Birmingham
B1 1BD

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London
WC2A 1HL

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