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Drunk in Charge

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I was sleeping in my car after drinking. Have I committed an offence?

Many people are unaware that simply being in charge of a vehicle whilst over the legal alcohol limit is an offence.

You may be guilty of an offence under Section 5(1) (b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 if you are in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, having consumed alcohol above the prescribed legal limit

Despite not actually driving or attempting to drive a vehicle motorists have found themselves facing serious charges by either simply sleeping, or sitting in their vehicle.


Is being drunk in charge the same as drink drive?

Although a Drunk in Charge allegation is not as serious as Drink Driving, if found guilty you will not only be in receipt of a criminal record but it will also cause serious implications on your ability to drive.

The legal limits for Drunk in Charge cases are as follows and mirror the levels of alcohol in Drink Driving cases:

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


I wasn’t going to drive, do I have a defence?

To be convicted for drunk in charge, it is necessary for the prosecution to prove that you were in charge of a motor vehicle and that at this time you were above the legal limit to drive.

The burden of proof then shifts to you to show the Court that although you were in charge of a vehicle whilst above the prescribed limit, you did not in fact have intention to drive. They have to decide this on the balance of probabilities. In most cases expert evidence is required to demonstrate how much alcohol would have been in your system at the point you intended to drive.


Will I be disqualified if I am charged with Drunk in Charge?

The Magistrates may disqualify but they do not have to so. If having your licence is important to you then you would benefit from having someone to argue this on your behalf.


How we can help…

This charge is not straightforward and it is important that you obtain legal advice if you are suspected or charged with Drunk in Charge of a motor vehicle or Drink Driving. We will help you to obtain the best possible outcome in all the circumstances

Here at Johnson Astills our Criminal Defence Team are still available to deal with your case despite the ongoing health pandemic.

Johnson Astills are experts in criminal law, and are able to assist 24 hours of the day whether at the police station or at Court. If you need advice or assistance from the Criminal Defence Team at Johnson Astills please contact us at our Leicester Office or Loughborough Office on 0800 059 0600.