Mitigation for Drink Driving

Updated on Friday 26th August 2022

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When charged with an offence related to drink driving, the accused can, in certain circumstances, reduce the severity of the sentence.

Our driving offence solicitors are able to assess your case and determine when and how you should use mitigation for drink driving.

We can also assist those categorized as high risk offenders.
 
Mitigation for drink driving can be raised when the accused shows exemplary conduct, as well as when he or she meets other criteria.
 
The sentence is determined according to both aggravating and mitigating factors and, in some cases, when the defendant pleads guilty, he or she can use the personal mitigating circumstances to reduce the disqualification period.
  
It should be noted that any circumstances presented for this purpose should be prepared with the help of a drink drive solicitor who has experience in mitigation for motoring offences.
 
Below, you can find out more about the factors that can reduce the sentence, as well as when to apply for mitigation.
 

Mitigating factors for motoring offences in the UK

 
Mitigation for drink driving is possible when the individual meets one or more of the following:
 
  • Number of convictions: the individual had no previous convictions or any relevant or recent convictions;
  • Emergency/medical: the person who was driving has a genuine emergency or has a serious medical condition or mental disorder/learning disability;
  • Unintentional: the sentence can be reduced when the driver had his or her drinks spiked;
  • Good character/caretaker: the sentence can also be reduced when the individual shows remorse, is of good character and when he or she is the sole or main provider for dependents (relatives).
 The seriousness of the offence could also be reduced according to the age of the individual/lack of maturity.
 
In general, in case of a genuine emergency and when the driven distance was very short, the factors apply when where they do not amount to special reasons.
 
A mitigating factor for the excess alcohol (in charge) offence is when the individual had a low likelihood of driving.
 
The offender can also receive a discounted sentence when he or she offers assistance to the prosecutor or investigator.
 
Sentence reduction in case of pleading guilty is described below by our team.
 
The totality principle is also taken into account when establishing the sentence. This means that when there is more than one offence, the total sentence should be just and proportionate to the overall behaviour. 
 
Mitigation for drink driving is performed in accordance with the Magistrates Court Sentencing Guidelines.
 
Our drink driving solicitor in London can give you more information about these guidelines that also include aggravating factors, including in case of high risk offenders.
 

Sentence reduction for guilty pleas

 
When an offender pleads guilty to an offence (in this case,  sentenced for excess alcohol drive/attempt to drive or in charge), he or she can benefit from a reduction of the sentence.
 
The Magistrate’s Council offers important information on how the sentence is reduced in case of a guilty plea, for hearings that took place on or after 1 June 2017.
 
The purpose of this reduction is to encourage the offender to plead guilty as soon as possible during the course of the process, however, the individual should not be pressured into doing so.
 
The person found guilty of driving with excess alcohol (or attempting to drive) has the right to not plead guilty. However, in doing so, not only does he or she can reduce the sentence, but this act can also be beneficial for the victims who will thus not have to testify in court.
 
A drink drive solicitor in the United Kingdom could also remind offenders that, pleading guilty when this is the case, will also be in the best interests of the public, as it saves time and money, otherwise spent on trials.
 
A guilty plea will have the most substantial benefits when it takes place early in the process.
 
It should be noted that a reduction of the sentence is possible both when the plea is made at the first stage of the proceedings, and when it is made at a later stage.
 
Our team underlines the fact that the maximum sentence reduction when pleading guilty is one-third.
 

Exceptions to the reduction of the sentence offered by a guilty plea

 
The sentence is reduced by one-quarter when the plea is made in the first stage of the proceedings. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
 
The reduction can be decreased from one-quarter to one-tenth relative to the progress of the case. it continues to decrease further, to zero, when the plea is made later in the course of the trial.
 
For the purpose of awarding the guilty plea reduction, it is considered that the trial has begun on the start of the pre-recorded cross-examination.
 
The reduction for a guilty plea does not apply when:
 
  • when further information or assistance is needed before indicating the plea;
  • when the offender’s version is rejected at a special reasons hearing or a Newton hearing (when the parties both offer conflicting evidence and the judge needs to determine the party that is telling the truth);
  • if the offender was convicted of a lesser/different offence from that charged initially;
  • in case of mandatory life sentences for murder (murder being the most serious criminal offence, and having special characteristics).
 
A drink drive solicitor from our team can provide you with further clarification on how the guilty plea reduction can apply in your case.
 
Our team also assists high risk offenders who wish to plead guilty.
 

When to apply for mitigation for drink driving

 
Mitigation can be raised when the individual pleaded guilty and the case is taken to court.
 
When working with us, a drink drive solicitor from our team, who represents you in court, will also present the mitigation.

This will be based on your particular circumstances, and character references can be used to support your case.
 

Penalties for drink driving in the UK

 
There are strict limits for drivers who choose to drink alcohol. The following apply in the UK (England, Wales, and Northern Ireland):
 
  • 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath; or
  • 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood; or
  • 108 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.
 
If you are caught drink driving, the police can ask that you take a test. Penalties also apply if you refuse to provide a specimen for testing. When this is done without a reasonable excuse, you can be arrested.
 
The penalties for drink driving are the following:
 
  • unlimited fine and/or six months’ custody for driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol;
  • the driver can also lose the licence for 12 months (at least);
  • when the offence was excess alcohol while in charge of the vehicle, the offender can also lose the license and receive 10 penalty points.
 
For the excess alcohol (in charge) offence, the maximum sentence includes a fine of up to £2,500 and/or three months’ custody.
 
Our team can give you more details about the penalty for drink driving, the penalty points and minimum, maximum sentences.
 
If you would like to know if you can be subject to a reduction of these penalties, you can discuss mitigation for drink driving with our team.
 
Contact our drink drive solicitor for more information and assistance.

We also assist cases that involve high risk offenders.
 
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