How Well Do You Know Drink Drive Laws?

Tue 9th Aug 2022

The drink drive laws in Britain are fairly clear, get caught with too much alcohol in your system behind the wheel of a car and you will be dealt with harshly by the legal system. But in the warmer weather and a Bank Holiday weekend approaching, there are some lesser known laws which could catch you out.

One of the UK’s leading motoring lawyers has warned that there are some technicalities which even the best legal firm in the land cannot always protect you against. Dominic Smith, from Patterson Law says that there is one offence in particular which many could fall foul of, the designation of being ‘in charge’ of a vehicle.

There have been many reported cases of drivers falling asleep at the side of the road and trying to sleep off the effects of alcholic drinks only to be charged Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 by an overzealous police officer. But the police have the power to prosecute even if you have not entered the vehicle, or switched on the ignition.

Smith said that one of the most common examples of motorists getting caught out is when driver might be out and about and have to return to their car.

“I’ve known people to be arrested who have been at the pub with their keys on them and they nip out to the car to get a pack of cigarettes or a coat.” Smith said.

“You don’t need to start the car or even sit in it to be ‘drunk in charge’.

“The second you go out of your house, if you have your car keys on you, you are technically in charge of the car.”

Smith explains that in cases of drink driving offences, the burden of proof is actually on the driver, and you have to prove that there is no way that you were actually going to drive. Smith’s advice is that if you’ve had a drink, don’t go anywhere near your car, and then you won’t have any temptation or anything to prove.