Drink Driving Solicitors
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Geoffrey Miller Solicitors are specialist motoring lawyers who are experts at defending drink driving cases. Call our team of expert motoring solicitors for some free initial advice.

The Drink Driving Limit

There are strict alcohol limits for drivers, but it’s impossible to say exactly how many drinks this equals to because each person is different.

The drink driving limits in Scotland are different to the rest of the UK.

The Drink Driving Limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is:

35 Micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath; or
80 Milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood; or
107 Milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.

The Drink Driving Limit in Scotland is:

22 Micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath; or
50 Milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood; or
67 Milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.

Do you want to talk to the Drink Driving Limit Solicitors who from 1st January 2015 until 31st December 2016…

WON 100% of our Blood Drink Driving cases!

WON 100% of our Urine Drink Driving cases!

from 1st January 2016 until 31st December 2016…

WON 100% of our Fail to Provide a Specimen cases!

WON 96% of our Blood Drug Driving cases!

WON 91% of our Breath Drink Driving cases!

And achieved an overall 95% success rate in securing NOT GUILTY verdicts in our drink driving and drug driving related trials

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Drink Driving Penalty

The UK drink drive limit has been the source of debate for as long is it was first introduced. Perhaps now, more than ever, the legal alcohol limit in the UK is the subject of scrutiny due to both Ireland and Scotland making the bold move to lower the blood alcohol limit for motorists in the UK to fit in line with the majority of European countries.

So what is the UK drink drive limit?

Definition of a Drink Driving Offence in the UK: It is an offence to drive or attempt to drive a motor vehicle on a road, or other public place after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in a person’s breath exceeds the prescribed limit under. S 5. Road Traffic Act 1988.

If you have been charged with driving with excess alcohol. The Prosecution will have to prove that you were driving with excess alcohol in your breath, urine or blood. The present drink drive limits in the UK are as follows:

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 ml of breath
  • 80mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood
  • 107mg of alcohol in 100 ml of urine

When a police officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that a person is driving with excess alcohol. He can require that person to perform a roadside breath test. If this provides a positive reading the driver will be arrested and taken to a police station where a further “evidential test” is required.

Ordinarily if the drink driving evidential sample is a breath test

The police constable must follow stringent procedures. They must obtain two specimens of breath which have been analysed and which exceed 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. If you blow 39 or less, it is likely that the police will exercise their discretion and release you without charge. However, if both readings exceed 40 micrograms of alcohol. It is likely that the police will simply proceed to charge the driver with the drink drive offence. The driver will be bailed to attend Court at a later date. As from April 2015 the procedure for a secondary blood or urine test to take place. In the case of a borderline reading was abolished. That said, if the procedures the police must follow continue to be intricate and this is where our expertise could make the difference in saving your licence.

If you are facing a charge for drink driving but were taken to hospital and this is where you gave your sample. Please take a look at our drink driving hospital cases page and contact our expert drink driving solicitors today.

When was the UK drink drive limit introduced?

In 1965, due to the number of drink driving road accidents, the government announced that a drink drive limit would be introduced in Britain. In 1966 a blood alcohol limit was set to 80mg of alcohol in 100cc of blood when a new Road Safety Bill was introduced. This was in the hope that people take more care on the roads and protect themselves as well as other drivers and pedestrians. The breathalyser was introduced in 1967 by Transport Minister Barbara Castles to test drivers’ blood alcohol level. The first breathalyzers were also introduced that year meaning that the process of detecting motorists became much more streamlined than before and although it dramatically reduced the number of accidents caused by being drunk when driving, the government still led campaigns to promote the ‘Don’t drink and drive’ message.

This campaign continues today and 2015 has seen the biggest shake up in drink driving law since the introduction of breath testing devices by way of the removal of the statutory option in April 2015 when a motorist’s breath sample could be replaced by an optional blood or urine sample if the breath sample was borderline over the limit at 50µg or below in breath.

Despite this removal of a safeguard for the accused, the pressure to review and reduce the drink drive limit is mounting more than ever before.

Why lower the drink drive limit?

It may seem an obvious question but when we analyse the countries that have already taken this step, it seems that investing more heavily in education would make more sense than spending millions on a further law change that would undoubtedly criminalise otherwise law abiding motorists.

Ireland were the first to make the move to lower the drink driving limit back on 8th October 2012. They reduced the level of alcohol permitted from 0.8 (80 mgs/100mls) to 0.5 (50mg/100mls).  They also introduced a further lower limit of 0.2 (20 mgs/ 100mls) “specified” drivers listed below:

Lower Limit of 0.2 (20 mgs/ 100mls) for “Specified” Drivers
A holder of a learner permit
Holder of a first driver licence (for category of vehicle being driven) within 2 years of issue
Holder of a C, C1, D, D1, EB, EC, EC1, ED, ED1 or W category
Holder of a SPSV licence whilst driving in the course of business
Person not holding a driving licence for the category of vehicle being driven
Furthermore if no licence is produced at scene, the person is tested at the lower limit

Reports suggest that despite the limit being lowered, the attitude of Irish motorists towards the drink drive limit has been mixed, with a campaign to allow motorists to drink drive in rural areas being taken to the highest level!

Scotland introduced the lower drink drive limit of 50mg of alcohol in every 100ml of blood at the end of 2014 in an effort to reduce the number of alcohol related accidents and fatalities. There have been numerous reports since then that the reduction in the limit has not had the intended effect and offending rates are no different from before the limit was reduced.

Is it time for Brits to shut up and drive (without the drink?!)

Regardless of the arguments for and against lowering the UK drink drive limit, there is no getting away from the fact that along with Malta, we have the highest blood alcohol limit in Europe as shown in this table below with alcohol limits shown in grams per litre.

It is also notable that many other countries have lower drink driving levels for commercial and novice drivers.

CountryStandardCommercial driversNovice drivers
Czech Republic0.00.00.0
France0.50.5 (0.2 bus drivers)0.2 (from Jul 2015)
Lithuania0.40.00.0 (from Jan 2015)
UK [i]

[i] Scotland 0,5 as of December 2014 for all groups. The rest of the UK (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) remain unchanged.

Last updated: July 2015 from The European Transport Safety Council.

Figures include successful appeals and exclude cases lost that are the subject of appeal as at 23 December 2016.

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 08000 85 27 84 to speak to one of our drink driving prison sentences 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.


“Not sure where to start… But, thank you. You held my hand through the 9 months and I couldn’t have asked for more. Your team did a very awesome job and the selected advocate’s performance brilliant. They all have played an amazing part and have made me have a smile even while writing this. Kudos Geoffrey Miller Solicitors! Read More

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Drink Driving / Acquitted

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Drink Driving / Acquitted

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Anonymous 18 Drink Driving Testimonial
Drink Driving / Acquitted

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Drug Driving / Case Discontinued

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Drink Driving / Case Dropped

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Anonymous 16
Drink Driving / Ban Reduced

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Drug Driving / Case Thrown Out

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Anonymous 19 Drug Driving Testimonial
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Drug Driving / Not Guilty

“This company could not of handled it better, I am absolutely blown away with the outcome, they use the best people you could ask. I would especially like to thank Vicky for helping me through each stage so professionally, and again the outcome. Very happy – would definitely recommend to anyone in the same or similar position… Read More

Anonymous 20 Drug Driving Testimonial
Drug Driving / Acquitted

“I obviously cannot thank you enough. I was told by a top criminal London lawyer when I was charged that there was no point in challenging this. You have done exactly what you said you would do and it is clear your drink driving success rates are hard earned and not just fantasy. Very many thanks to you and all your team involved!… Read More

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Drink Driving / Acquitted

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Drug Driving / Acquitted

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Drink Driving / Acquitted

“I’m absolutely delighted that I chose Geoffrey Miller to represent me, they are undoubtedly the best at what they do. At one point I thought the case in court was going to go terribly wrong but my barrister used his experience and expertise to deal with a Judge who didn’t like the way you guys work!!! But hey, we won the case… Read More

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“After one phone call with Geoffrey Miller Solicitors I was immediately more confident and it felt like a weight off my shoulders. All charges against me were dropped and I was acquitted. I would highly recommend Geoffrey Miller Solicitors to anyone who has found themselves in any trouble related to a drink driving offence… Read More

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Drink Driving / Acquitted

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“I looked online and called a few solicitors who specialise in motoring offences. Jeanette was the most switched on and gave the best legal advice how to proceed. I felt confident instructing her. I got the best possible outcome and my plea of exceptional hardship was successful and I received a reduced fine. Really pleased… Read More

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Totting Up / Ban Avoided

“Within one hour my call was returned by Jeanette Miller, the MD. Very impressive as it was the 27th Dec! She was able to calm and reassure me that it was quite possible to beat the charges laid against me. My two excellent barristers assigned to me were fantastic. I am very pleased to be able to say my case was dismissed and I was acquitted… Read More

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Drink Driving / Case Thrown Out

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Mr AO Drug Driving Testimonial
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Mr A Drug Driving Testimonial
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