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I Got Caught Drink Driving. What Happens Next?

Getting caught drink driving is a difficult and life-changing experience. Whether you’re a driver looking for legal advice or a person who’s already been charged with drink driving, you should know what’s next if you’re caught behind the wheel while over the legal alcohol limit. This post will answer common questions and go through what happens when you get caught driving drunk in the UK. You’ll find out about the arrest process, the penalties and how a motoring solicitor can defend you if you’re facing a drink driving charge.

Next Steps

The Police Stop and Initial Arrest

When you get caught driving with excess alcohol in your system, it usually starts with a police stop. They may pull you over for erratic driving or do a random breath test. Once stopped they will ask you to blow into a roadside breathalyser.

If your breath sample shows you’re over the limit you’ll be arrested and taken to the police station for further testing. Failing to comply with a breathalyser is treated as an admission of guilt and is treated very seriously.

At the Police Station

If the initial test shows you are over the legal limit, you will be arrested and charged with drink driving. First, you’ll be read your rights and taken to the police station. Once at the police station, you’ll be given further breath, blood, or urine tests, usually a more accurate breathalyser. You may be put in a cell while further testing is done. Stay calm and cooperate with the officers during this time.

These tests will confirm if you’re over the limit and will be used as evidence for any charges. If you are found guilty of drink driving, the concentration of alcohol detected in these tests will help determine the severity of your consequences.

Possible Outcomes

If you are charged with drink driving you’ll be given a local court date. You may be bailed to appear in magistrates court with certain conditions such as not driving until court. You may also be detained until you attend court depending on the severity of the offence and your previous criminal history. Being kept in custody is more likely in drink driving cases when you were involved in dangerous driving, an accident that caused an injury or death or you were significantly over the alcohol limit.

What Are the Penalties?

Fines and Driving Bans

Deciding to drink drive is a serious offence in the UK. If convicted you may get a minimum ban of 12 months, up to three years if you are convicted twice in ten years. You may also be required to pay substantial fines, usually around £2,500, but you may receive an unlimited fine depending on the offence.

You should note that if you plead guilty, you will be immediately disqualified from driving in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


In more serious cases or for repeat offenders, imprisonment is a real risk. Severe first-time offenders caught attempting to drive after drinking could get up to 6 months in prison. For those with previous convictions, the sentence could be longer. This shows how serious drink driving is and how important it is to get legal advice straight away.

Other Consequences

Aside from the legal penalties, a drink driving conviction can have a serious impact on your life. Along with the damage to your reputation and any direct consequences like injuries to yourself and others, it can affect your job if you drive for work. Your insurance premiums will usually increase significantly and you may struggle to get car insurance at all. A criminal record can also affect your ability to travel abroad, especially to countries like the USA and Canada.

What Should I Do Next?

Get Legal Representation

If you get caught drink driving the first thing to do is speak with a qualified lawyer. A motoring solicitor understands the law and will explain your rights and offer the best advice throughout the process. They are experienced at dealing with these cases and may be able to protect your licence and help you get a reduced ban. If possible, they will argue to mitigate penalties based on, for example, your good character, the existence of a genuine emergency, or the short distance driven.

A motoring lawyer will seek to build a case for your innocence whenever possible. Solicitors will examine your case and look for any technicalities or breaches in conduct that could mean you face no further action.

Court Preparation

Your solicitor will help you prepare for your court appearance. This includes gathering evidence, preparing documents and advising you on how to present your case. Be honest and cooperate to present yourself in the best possible way.

Rehabilitation Course

If you’re banned from driving or entered a guilty plea, attending a drink-driving rehabilitation course can, in some cases, protect your licence and reduce your driving ban by up to 25%. These courses are to educate offenders about the dangers of drink driving and prevent further offences. Your solicitor can advise if this is an option for you.

How #1 Motoring Solicitors Can Help

Knowledge and Advice

#1 Motoring Solicitors know the legal system inside out. They can review the evidence against you, find any procedural errors and build a strong defence. This expert insight can make a big difference to your case.

Mitigating Factors

If you drink drive and get caught, your solicitor will look for any mitigating factors to reduce your sentence. This could be your personal circumstances, the impact of a driving ban on your life or any steps you’ve taken to address your behaviour such as attending a rehabilitation course.

Court Representation

Having a solicitor in court can be crucial for your driving future. They can argue on your behalf, present evidence and challenge the prosecution’s case. Having professional support will increase the chances of a better outcome.


Drink driving is a serious offence with severe legal and personal consequences. Knowing the process and penalties is important if you’re in this situation. Getting professional legal advice is the best thing you can do to protect yourself.

For expert advice and immediate support contact #1 Motoring Solicitors today.

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