Drink Driving Solicitors

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Drink Driving Solicitors

If you have been stopped by the police on suspicion of drink driving, the expert drink driving solicitors at JMW can provide the legal assistance you need. It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure you are able to build a robust defence and to protect your rights.

Our straightforward, no-nonsense approach is what sets us apart from other firms. With our in-depth knowledge of drink-driving testing procedures and equipment, we get straight to the point and ensure that our clients are treated justly.

Speak to our team today by either calling us on 0345 872 6666 or completing our online enquiry form, which will enable us to give you a call back at a convenient time.

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How JMW Can Help

JMW has an enviable success rate when it comes to defending drink drive matters. Our success is built on our strong desire to protect the interests of motorists and our refusal to accept defeat. We at JMW believe that every case is winnable.

We challenge cases involving:

  • A breath test
  • A urine test
  • A blood test
  • Drunk in charge of a motor vehicle charges
  • Driving while unfit through drink charges

The process of appearing in court can be a stressful and lengthy one. However, even if you feel the odds are stacked against you, do not let the court intimidate you out of action. It is vital that you enlist the help of expert drink driving solicitors as there are likely defences and cut-corners in the process you have not even considered, and these tiny details may save you licence, job, and day-to-day life if exploited correctly.

Our solicitors have extensive knowledge of the intricacies of procedures followed by the police when dealing with drink drive cases. They also have extensive technical knowledge relating to the functioning of the various breath testing machines used by the police, as well as the analytical methodology used when analysing blood/urine specimens.

We also have an association with many leading experts in areas such as:

  • Forensic medicine
  • Respiratory medicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Electronic engineering
  • Forensic toxicology

This in-depth knowledge allows us to advance highly technical defences that other law firms are unaware of.

Obtaining a Drink Driving Conviction

A police officer may ask anyone to take a preliminary breath test at the roadside if they have reasonable cause to suspect that they are under the influence of alcohol and:

  • have committed a motoring traffic offence;
  • have been in an accident; or 
  • are the person driving, attempting to drive or in charge of a vehicle on the road or in a public place, such as a car park.

If a person is suspected of drink driving and/or fails the preliminary roadside breath test, they will be placed under arrest and transferred to a police station where they will be required to provide two evidential breath specimens for analysis.

Once two satisfactory breath specimens have been obtained and both show readings of above 50mg, the police will normally charge the person with the offence of drink driving and bail them to appear at their local Magistrates’ Court at a later date. There can sometimes be a matter of only a few days between the arrest date and the first court hearing, so it is imperative that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible following an accusation of drink driving.

The police will always require a person to provide two evidential specimens of breath for analysis, unless one of the following exceptions applies:

  • The breath-testing machine is unavailable, not working or unreliable
  • The accused has been involved in an accident and has been taken to hospital
  • The officer suspects that the accused has a medical reason as to why they are unable to provide a specimen of breath

Under these circumstances, the officer may require a person to provide a sample of either blood or urine.

If one or more of the breath readings obtained is 50mg or below, but in excess of the legal limit of 35mg, procedure dictates that the officer must provide a person with the option to replace their breath specimens with either a sample of blood or urine.

Defences for Drink Driving Following Blood or Urine Sample

At JMW, our specialist solicitors make use of a range of defences that help to protect the interests of those accused of drink driving after having to give a blood or urine sample.

Some examples of these kinds of defences include matters relating to:

  • Police procedure - It is surprising how often officers get drink driving procedures wrong by mistakenly following incorrect procedures. Officers must offer you the option of giving a blood or urine sample if you have provided what is known as a 'borderline' breath sample, or the breath testing machine was unavailable or broken
  • Police procedure in hospital - You may have been taken to hospital as a result of an injury or injuries sustained following an accident. Many experienced officers struggle to fully understand the procedures they must legally follow when taking samples from people in hospital. This can, and often does, lead to mistakes
  • Police bail - It normally takes between six and eight weeks for the police to receive confirmation of the blood alcohol reading from the laboratory, but it has been known to sometimes take longer. If you are currently awaiting the result of your blood test, you can still get in touch with us and we can start to lay the foundations of your defence

How Serious Are Drink Driving Penalties?

Drink driving penalties can be extremely severe, because drink driving is viewed by the courts as one of the most serious motoring offences. This is due to alcohol’s known effect on the judgement and abilities of a driver, and the potential that an incident could cause serious harm to a driver or other members of the public.

Penalties can vary considerably depending on the circumstances of the case. While many cases can be successfully defended, this is not always the result and, in some instances, focus should be placed on ensuring any sentence is kept to a minimum. The motoring team at JMW is hugely experienced in presenting mitigation to the court and we are best placed to make sure your penalty is no harsher than it needs to be.

Alone, these cases are difficult to deal with due to the fact that you must provide evidence against yourself by submitting test samples of breath, blood, or urine at a police station. This can provide good opportunities for defence. While biological evidence can be difficult to dispute, the defendant can complete a Manual of Guidance on Drink and Drugs (MGDD) document, which also helps us to identify any issues in police procedure. You will need an expert drink driving solicitor to help guide you through these fine, but essential, points of defence.

Additionally, you can expect increased penalties if your drink driving offence is linked to another form of motoring offence (which drink driving offences regularly are) such as careless driving, dangerous driving or speeding. If you are charged with any of these offences, you can expect your situation to become considerably more serious.

The Penalties for Drink Driving

Being caught drink driving can be a life-changing problem for drivers, especially those who rely on driving for their jobs or to help out family and friends. Following a conviction for drink driving, the court must impose a disqualification from driving for a minimum period of 12 months. This is mandatory unless a special reason exists. The court can also issue an unlimited fine.

Depending on the circumstances, the court could also impose the following penalties:

  • Up to six months in prison
  • A community order
  • Disqualification from driving for a minimum of 36 months (if you have been previously convicted of the offence in the last 10 years)
  • An extended driving test

If a second drink driving offence is committed within 10 years, the minimum disqualification of one year is increased to three years, while there may also be a greater chance of custody or a community order, depending on the circumstances. Should more than two drink driving charges be brought in this 10-year period, a prison sentence will often be considered.

In many drink driving cases, due to the nature of the offence, drivers may have committed another offence, such as speeding, drug driving or using a mobile device. If you are charged for multiple motoring offences, your penalties could quickly rack up and become significantly more severe.

Use the calculator below to find out the penalty you could be facing. Then, get in touch with the specialist solicitors at JMW so that we can help to minimise your inconvenience. We can provide more information about drink driving penalties and explain the potential defences you could mount in order to reduce the likelihood that you are handed a severe punishment.

Drink Drive Limits

Blood or urine samples are usually provided if either the breath testing device was unavailable, or you were taken to hospital/experienced medical difficulties after the offence. In England and Wales, the legal alcohol limits for motorists are:

  • A maximum of 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath
  • A maximum of 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100ml of blood
  • A maximum of 107 milligrams of alcohol in 100ml of urine

Take our Drink Drive Penalty Calculator below to find out what the penalty could be for your motoring offence:


Answer the 4 questions below to get an idea of what the penalty for your motoring offence could be.

Q1. What type of test were you given?

What is the Police Station Procedure?

Drink driving offences require you to provide evidence against yourself to prove that you were over the legal limit - this is called self-incrimination. Because of this, you will be expected to complete a MGDD form with the police. Due to this small requirement, the police can often make mistakes - if they do so, this can serve as a significant argument in your defence. When going through your breath, urine or blood test at the station or by the roadside, make sure to comply with the police as best you can to avoid any complications with your actions that can be brought up in the court hearing against you.

Pleading Guilty

You might think that incriminating evidence collected by the police is proof enough that you are guilty. However, as we have briefly stated above, there are many factors that can be considered and analysed in the process of drink and drug testing.

In our years of experience in dealing with drink driving cases, we find that people often feel completely hopeless when they are accused of drunk driving, even before anything has properly been discussed. People trust the police and assume that their evidence must be correct and their actions faultless. We would like to remind you that the police are not in fact ‘the law’; they are still only people, and people make mistakes. Unlike many other criminal offences, you can not be charged as guilty if the procedure was not carried out completely correctly. This leaves a lot of room for error, and for us to find your innocence.

In some cases, pleading guilty is the safe option - especially if it is only your first offence and the evidence is firmly on the side of the police. Attempting to dispute a drink drive limit offence and failing can lead to your penalties being increased - including an unlimited fine. Either way, get in touch with our team and we will advise you on whether this is the best step to take depending on your unique situation.

Why Choose JMW?

Due to our decades of success, JMW has been recognised as one of the top UK law firms by The Legal 500 and the Chambers & Partners guides. When you choose to work with us, you can be confident that you are enlisting award-winning motoring law experts who will analyse every possibility and opportunity of your case. While it is possible to represent yourself in court, you should never do this; motoring law is highly complex and any mistakes you make could have severe repercussions for your finances, freedom, job and family. Instead, work with us to ensure you avoid the various pitfalls of motoring law and have the best chance of reducing or removing your charges, and keeping your driving licence.

To hear from a selection of our happy clients who we have successfully defended in court against drink driving allegations, read our Testimonials.

Read some of the key case studies that really underline our success in the area of motoring law and drink driving.



Driving ban penalties vary depending on the level of alcohol you consumed, what the risks of your dangerous driving were, and your previous record. Losing your licence might only be the start, as you could receive an unlimited fine and a term of imprisonment. Even if you plead guilty, your disqualification will not be reduced below the minimum sentence of 12 months.

You can use our calculator above to work out the penalties applied for different amounts of alcohol.


Depending on your circumstances and whether you are looking for a more senior solicitor, the price we charge will vary. There are also a number of factors that might be able to help with your funding. See our fixed fee page for more information.


If you are convicted of a driving offence such as drink driving, you will lose your licence for a period of time; a minimum of 12 months for your first offence. This is indisputable, and may be more severe depending on the details of your offence. We can help to reduce things such as fines and even prison sentences, but your driving record will suffer regardless. Drink driving offences are treated with the utmost severity due to the fact that you can endanger other people’s lives if you drive while under the influence of alcohol.


A breath specimen is likely to result in an immediate charge if found to be over the legal limit. Blood or urine samples can take up to six weeks for the police to produce a conclusive result. During this time, you should work with a professional drink driving solicitor to begin to plan your strategy.

When the police return with your result, they will then issue you a court date. The police then have six months to create their argument and prosecute you. By working with a solicitor, you can ensure you are prepared for this date.

Depending on how smoothly the court proceedings progress and the amount of evidence involved, the hearing can be conducted in a single day; however, this is usually not the case.

Drink driving is a serious offence, so it can take time to ensure that each party has had its say and understands the situation. To make the most of this time and give yourself the best chances of success, contact our team as soon as you are able to.


The likelihood that you will receive a prison sentence for a drink driving conviction depends on the offence you are charged with. Most drink driving charges are paired with other offences, such as dangerous driving, which can result in more severe penalties. In general, if you caused significant damage to property or injury to another person, displayed a complete disregard for the law, or have committed a similar offence in the past, you may receive a prison sentence. In the Magistrate’s Court, this can be for up to six months.

The team at JMW Solicitors is very experienced in working to mitigate sentences, and ensuring that you do not receive a harsher sentence than you deserve. When you work with us, you can be certain that we will do everything in our power to reduce your sentence.


If you are convicted of a drink driving offence, you will receive an immediate, automatic driving ban lasting 12 months. If you commit a second drink driving offence within 10 years of the first, you will receive a minimum three-year automatic driving ban.


If you are at risk of losing your job or you require the ability to drive to support people who rely on you, you may be able to advance mitigation. This will encourage the court to consider your situation when deciding how long your ban will be, and could help you to reduce the length of your disqualification.


For more information about the costs of disputing a drink driving charge, visit our Fixed Fee Motoring Offences page.


Drink driving is a criminal offence and will go on your criminal record, meaning the police and court will be able to see if you have committed a drink driving offence in the past. Committing repeat offences can result in increasingly serious penalties.


Police officers cannot demand you take a breath test without adequate reason to believe you may have consumed alcohol. However, if you were involved in a road accident, they may suspect you of driving under the influence and may ask you to take a test. If you refuse, they may arrest you and take you to a police station, as this is a criminal offence. This can also result in further penalties if it is later found that you were over the alcohol limit at the time.

If the police do not conduct themselves properly when demanding you take a breath test, this can serve as evidence for your defence.


In most cases, if you pass an alcohol test at the police station, you will be released without consequences. However, the police may use a forensic toxicologist to back-calculate what your alcohol levels were when you were first tested and whether it may be realistic that you have simply sobered up since. In this case, they may push the charges, and the expert's calculations will be used as evidence in court.

Talk to Us

If you are undecided on how to proceed or require any further information or guidance, get in touch with our team of expert drink-driving solicitors today. The sooner you do so, the better, as we will be able to guide you through the entire process, and every decision throughout is key. Simply call us on 0345 872 6666, or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.