Drink Driving Solicitors
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Geoffrey Miller Solicitors are specialist drink driving solicitors. Call our team of expert driving offence solicitors for some free initial advice.

drink driving penalty 2017

Drink Driving Penalty

The motivation to instruct us to represent a client is often linked to preserving our client’s ability to drive but in the case of offences that are classed as criminal convictions, more pressing concerns often relate to the client’s ability to save their job. If you have concerns about the prosecution you face affecting your employment, we have addressed below some of the most common concerns for employees and drink driving professional consequences.

We have also outlined regulatory consequences for various professions as follows:

If you are regulated or you hold a specific licence that requires you to have a clean record, please note the specific consequences of a drink driving conviction as perceived by your regulators:

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General Employee Concerns

The police and the courts will not normally contact a defendant’s employer to advise them of a drink driving conviction. However, you could be in breach of your contract of employment if you fail to disclose the charge against you. Below we consider some of the most common questions and concerns clients have:

1. Do I need to inform a prospective employer of criminal convictions?

Prospective employees and the employer have certain rights and responsibilities when disclosing convictions.

Employees should be aware that:

  1. If an employer requests details of spent convictions, you need to consider whether or not the job you are applying for is exempt under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (see below);
  2. If an employer asks if you have a criminal record and your convictions are spent, and the job you are applying for is not excluded from the Act, you are legally entitled to say ‘no’.

This is a complex are of law and we recommend that if this is a concern for you, to seek advice, particularly if an employer claims a job is exempt under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 when in fact it is not. Advice can be sought from Citizens’ Advice Bureau or a careers adviser.

2. Relevant law for spent convictions

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (c.53) allows some criminal convictions to be ignored after a rehabilitation period. This means that even if convicted of an offence, you will not have a lifelong “blot” on your record. The rehabilitation period is automatically determined by the sentence, and starts from the date of the conviction. After this period, if there have been no further convictions the conviction is “spent” and, with certain exceptions, need not be disclosed by the ex-offender in any context such as when applying for a job, obtaining insurance, or in civil proceedings.

3. When does a conviction become ‘spent?’

Certain criminal convictions are ‘spent’ (forgotten) after a rehabilitation period in accordance with Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This period varies according to the offence. For people aged 18 or over when convicted:

  • convictions resulting in sentences such as fines, compensation and community service become spent after five years (Drink drive when not custody risk)
  • prison sentences up to six months become spent after seven years
  • prison sentences up to two and a half years become spent after ten years
  • prison sentences over 2.5 years are never spent

Most rehabilitation periods are halved if you were under 18 when convicted.

4. Does an employee need to declare a spent conviction?

Prospective employees are not obliged to disclose spent convictions when applying for most jobs. Pursuant to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the grounds of a spent conviction. However, some types of jobs are exempt from this Act. This means that the prospective employee must disclose spent convictions in addition to unspent ones. These jobs include:

  • working with children and vulnerable adults, such as elderly and disabled people
  • senior roles in banking and the financial services industry
  • certain posts connected to law enforcement, including the judiciary and the police
  • work involving national security
  • certain posts in the prison service
  • certain professions in areas such as health, pharmacy and the law
  • private security work

5. Does an employee have to declare driving convictions?

Disqualifications From Driving

When a driver is disqualified from driving, the rehabilitation period Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 will be the same length as the period of disqualification. It is important to note, however, that if more than one penalty is imposed at once, the rehabilitation period takes the length of the longer sentencing.

For example, a motorist who is prohibited from driving for seven years and is also hit with a fine, which will take five years to become spent, the offender faces a rehabilitation period of seven years, as it is the longer rehabilitation period of the two.

Driving Endorsements (Penalty Points)

Because an endorsement does not fall under the relevant part of the Act, not being a ‘disability, prohibition or other penalty’, it does not have any effect on rehabilitation periods for road traffic convictions. If a driver were to be fined for an offence and also have their licence endorsed, the rehabilitation period would be defined by the rehabilitation period for a fine, and the endorsement would not factor in at all.

6. Can an employer request additional information about a prospective employee?

Depending on the job, employers can request that successful applicants supply different types of disclosure:

  • Basic Disclosure — an employer can request this for any job (even jobs not exempt pursuant to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act). This includes only details of unspent convictions.
  • Standard Disclosure is for jobs with regular contact with children or vulnerable adults and jobs exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. This includes all convictions, including spent ones.
  • Enhanced Disclosure is for jobs with greater (unsupervised) contact with children or vulnerable adults and for some judicial appointments and licensing purposes. This includes all convictions, including spent ones, plus possibly other information from local police records.

7. Rehabilitation of Offenders Act Outside UK

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not extend beyond Britain. Spent convictions may have greater significance in other countries so you should not rely on the protection of this Act if you are seeking guidance about how you may be affected in other countries. If you need assistance, you are advised to contact appropriate agencies in those countries.

8. Consequences of Failing to disclose convictions

If an applicant/employee fails to properly disclose criminal record, they are likely to be invited to a meeting to discuss why they failed to fully disclose their criminal record.

If a current employee has unspent convictions and they did not disclose them intentionally when asked to, they can be dismissed by their employer, and possibly prosecuted.

When you think that it is not just your driving licence at stake but there is also a real risk of your livelihood being lost, why would you make any decision about what to do next without seeking expert advice from the top motoring law firm in the UK. We offer initial telephone advice without charge and have a number of price options to suit most budgets.

Not Sure What to Do About Your Drink Driving Offence?

Most people who get in touch with our team of motor offence expert solicitors are uncertain of their options. They are unaware of any legal defences that may be available and find it difficult to believe that it might be possible to defend the drink driving offence charge they face by using loopholes that apply to the rich and famous! We do represent celebrities but we also represent many hardworking motorists like Brian and we want to help you make the right choice about what you do next.

We are always more than happy to chat things through with potential clients Free of Charge. Call us now on Freephone 0800 1389 123 to speak to one of our specialist motoring offence solicitors. It is only once you decide to instruct us that payment will become necessary and we can often arrange installment plans to assist you. Many satisfied clients have thanked us for offering this free consultation service as it has prevented them from following inaccurate non-expert advice which could have led to them accepting a driving ban unnecessarily.

If you would like to spend more time browsing on the site before you get in touch, make sure you have a look at our specialist motor offence guidance features such as our drink driving ban calculator which will help you to determine the penalty you may face if convicted and our money saving calculator which helps to outline some of the hidden costs of accepting a conviction.

We think we are simply the best in the business but if you are not satisfied in taking our word for it, our unique “ask our clients” testimonials scheme allows you to contact previous clients of the firm to seek a completely independent reference about us and what we might be able to do for you.

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Geoffrey Miller Solicitors are specialists defending drivers nationwide for all types of driving offences. Call our team of expert driving offence solicitors for some free initial advice.


Still not sure if you should instruct us to help you?

Try our Interactive Testimonial Scheme - “Ref Me” is a voluntary scheme we ask satisfied clients to participate in. Where you see the “Ask Our Clients” form, you can send an email to a previous client of the firm and ask them any question(s) you like about us.

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The Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines is a tool used by the Magistrates to decide on penalty. Try our drink driving ban calculator or our speeding ban calculator to give you a rough idea of the penalty you could incur…

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We have developed a number of pricing structures to suit clients on most income levels. To some clients minimising the level of their legal costs is as important as achieving your objective with an acquittal or damage limitation on penalty…

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