Drink driving penalties
Find out about the convictions and penalties which can occur if you drive while above the legal drinking driving limit.
Being found guilty of driving while above the legal drink driving alcohol limit will result in punishment that could affect the rest of your life.
It is a criminal offence and the penalty will be decided by the magistrates who hear the case in court1. To minimise the risks, including causing harm to yourself and others, the safest advice is to avoid any alcohol when driving.
If a person is found guilty of drink driving they can be fined, banned from driving or even imprisoned. These punishments depend on the seriousness of the offence which according to gov.uk include:
‘High risk offenders’ will need to pass a medical examination to get their licence back after a drink driving ban. You are considered a high risk offender if you:
Being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol a number of effects on everyday life, beyond a drink driving fine or ban.
You could lose your job, particularly if you drive for work as your employer will see this on your licence. You may also find it difficult to seek employment in the future.
If and when you are legally allowed to drive again, it won’t be cheap. Car insurance costs increase significantly after a drink driving conviction. The Institute of Advanced Motorists calculate that a drink drive conviction could cost between £20,000 - £50,000 as a result of fines, solicitors fees, increase in car insurance and loss of job (2).
As with any criminal record, you may even find it hard to enter other countries such as the USA and this can affect life plans to holiday, work or study abroad.
In 2013, there were 8290 casualties as a result of drink driving in the UK. 260 of those resulted in death (3). By drinking and driving you pose these risks to yourself, other drivers and pedestrians, and if found guilty the consequences could last a life time.
It’s not possible to know how much you can drink to stay below the legal drink driving limit, because there are factors such as your weight, gender, age and metabolism to consider. That’s why the safest advice is to avoid alcohol if you are driving, even the morning after drinking alcohol.