Driving Offences

What are Driving Offences?

A driver that has been accused or convicted of an offence concerned with driving or operating a vehicle.

Drink driving

  • In the United Kingdom there are extremely strict limits for driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • It is impossible to define exactly how many drinks one could consume as this varies from person to person.
  • The alcohol limit varies from Scotland to the rest of the United Kingdom.

 

Level of alcohol intake for the UK

Micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath          35     

Milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood               80     

Milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine               107     

 

  • A drink driving offence is one of strict liability, this is defined as an offence where no fault needs to be proven to secure a conviction.

The Road Traffic Act 1988, states;

‘A person who, when driving or attempting to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public places, is unfit to drive through drink or drugs is guilty of an offence’.

The law is concerned with public safety in regard to driving intoxicated, therefore, whether a driver is knowingly intoxicated or not is irrelevant. Public safety is of grave importance.

Procuring

  • Procuring is to persuade or cause another to behave in a way that is not proper.

 Example:

John compels Priya to drive whilst she had been drinking excessively. John therefore procures Priya to commit a driving offence and is liable for that offence as a secondary party.

Compliance with the Law in Regards to Drink Driving

Drink driving laws in the United Kingdom are strictly enforced and the penalties upon conviction can be very severe. In the United Kingdom it is illegal to:

  1. Drive or attempt to drive with excess alcohol (while exceeding the legal limit),
  2. Drive or attempt to drive whilst unfit through alcohol or drugs
  3. Exceeding the legal alcohol limit while operating a motor vehicle.  
  4. Failer to co-operate with a preliminary breath test when required to do so
  5. Failer to provide an evidential specimen (blood, breath or urine) for analysis while driving or attempting to drive a vehicle
  6. Failer to provide an evidential specimen (blood, breath or urine) for analysis while in charge of a vehicle
  7. Fail to give permission for a laboratory test of a blood specimen taken while that person was incapable of consenting.

Conviction on any of these offences, will result in the defendant having a criminal record.

If a person is convicted of drink driving related offence, the person in question will face an obligatory or a possible driving disqualification, which is dependable on the extent of the offence committed.

Example:

The offence of driving a vehicle whilst exceeding the maximum legal alcohol limit carries a minimum mandatory driving disqualification of 12 months.

Driving Licence Endorsements

Regardless of whether or not a disqualification has been imposed, a driving licence endorsement will be added to the offender’s driving licence which will remain for a minimum of 4 years and a maximum of 11 years depending on the offence.

  • Additional penalties can be included for example; fines, community orders, court costs, compensation and in serious cases a custodial prison sentence.

Causing Death by Dangerous Driving

Death by dangerous driving is a special case of gross negligence manslaughter. There are also an additional two alternative offences where death is caused by dangerous driving:

  1. Gross negligence manslaughter where the manner of driving fell so far below reasonable standards as to create a risk of death.
  2. A statutory offence of causing death by dangerous driving

Speeding

Speeding is the most common driving offence on UK roads. If a person is caught to be speeding the consequences are

  • A fine and,
  • Penalty points on their licence.

Guidelines suggest drivers are only prosecuted when exceeding the speed limit by 10% plus 2mph, but the police are not required to stick to this rigidly.

A speed awareness course may be offered if the speed limit exceeded is of a small margin.

Using your Mobile Phone Behind the Wheel

From 1st March 2017, the penalty for using a mobile whilst driving has changed drastically. If a person is caught to be using a mobile phone whilst driving the penalty carries

  • Six points on your licence and
  • A £200 fine.

The law is very clear on when a person can use a hand held device behind the wheel. The use of a hand-held device is only legal when a person is safely parked, (this does not include waiting in traffic or sat at traffic lights).

The law is also clear and includes provisions for emergencies; a person is allowed to make 999 calls or 112 calls on a hand-held device considering it is not otherwise safe to stop the vehicle.

Loss of Licence

Any persons caught to be using a hand-held device whilst driving can in fact lose their licence, however, the changes in law effectively mean that if a new driver, someone who has held a licence for less than 2 years and old only 6 points, rather than the normal twelve points would be severally affected.

Driving without Insurance

Driving a vehicle without insurance on a public road, could lead to

  • A roadside penalty of £300; and
  • Six penalty points on your licence.

If found to have no insurance on the vehicle the police has the power to:

  • Seize any uninsured vehicle,
  • Seizure of a vehicle applies to any car that the person is driving without the appropriate insurance – even if the vehicle is insured in another person’s name.  

Driving when disqualified

  • If you’re caught driving following a ban, the police will arrest you on the spot and a court will decide your outcome.
  • Expect your disqualification could be extended as a minimum, accompanied by a fine. Justifiably, the court may feel you’ve shown disrespect for the law and could decide to impose a prison sentence

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legalally does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.