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Magistrates' Sentencing Guidelines for Drink Driving

Below are the Magistrates' sentencing guidelines for drink driving / excess alcohol (for both 'drive / attempt to drive' and 'in charge'). If you're looking to challenge a drink driving offence at court, or before it reaches court, or are look to mitigate in order to get a ban reduction we highly recommend you speak to a solicitor. If you have any questions about the guidelines, please call us.

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Guidelines for Excess alcohol (drive/attempt to drive)

Road Traffic Act 1988, s.5(1)(a)

Triable only summarily
Maximum: Level 5 fine and/or 6 months

  • Must endorse and disqualify for at least 12 months
  • Must disqualify for at least two years if offender has had two or more disqualifications for periods of 56 days or more in preceding 3 years
  • Must disqualify for at least 3 years if offender has been convicted of a relevant offence in preceding 10 years

If there is a delay in sentencing after conviction, consider interim disqualification

Note: the final column below provides guidance regarding the length of disqualification that may be appropriate in cases to which the 3 year minimum applies. The period to be imposed in any individual case will depend on an assessment of all the relevant circumstances, including the length of time since the earlier ban was imposed and the gravity of the current offence.

Offence seriousness (culpability and harm)
A. Identify the appropriate starting point
Starting points based on first time offender pleading not guilty
Level of alcohol Starting Point Range Disqualification Disqual (2nd offence in 10 years)
Breath μg Blood ml Urine ml
36 - 59 81 - 137 108 - 183 Band C Fine Band C Fine 12 - 16 Months 36 - 40 Months
60 - 89 138 - 206 184 - 274 Band C Fine Band C Fine 17 - 22 Months 36 - 46 Months
90 - 119 207 - 275 275 - 366 Medium level community order Low to High level community order 23 - 28 Months 36 - 52 Months
120 - 150 and above 276 - 345 and above 367 - 459 and above 12 Weeks Custody High level community order to 26 weeks custody 29 - 36 Months 36 - 60 Months

Offence seriousness (culpability and harm)
B. Consider the effect of aggravating and mitigating factors
(other than those within examples above)
Factors indicating higher culpability
  1. LGV, HGV, PSV etc.
  2. Poor road or weather conditions
  3. Carrying passengers
  4. Driving for hire or reward
  5. Evidence of unacceptable standard of driving
Factors indicating greater degree of harm
  1. Involved in accident
  2. Location e.g. near school
  3. High level of traffic or pedestrians in the vicinity
Factors indicating lower culpability
  1. Genuine emergency established
  2. Spiked drinks
  3. Very short distance driven

Advice on Drink Driving

We've outlines some issues and defences that may arise when defending an allegation of drink driving. Click to read more.

Guidelines for Excess alcohol (in charge)

Road Traffic Act 1988, s.5(1)(b)

Triable only summarily
Maximum: Level 4 fine and/or 3 months
Must endorse and may disqualify, if no disqualification, impose 10 points

Offence seriousness (culpability and harm)
A. Identify the appropriate starting point
Starting points based on first time offender pleading not guilty
Level of alcohol Starting Point Range
Breath μg Blood ml Urine ml
36 - 59 81 - 137 108 - 183 Band B Fine Band B Fine
10 Points
60 - 89 138 - 206 184 - 274 Band B Fine Band B Fine
10 Points OR consider disqualification
90 - 119 207 - 275 275 - 366 Band C Fine Band C Fine to Medium level community order
10 Points OR consider disqualification up to 6 months
120 - 150 and above 276 - 345 and above 367 - 459 and above Band C Fine Low level community order to 6 weeks custody
disqualification 6 - 12 months

Offence seriousness (culpability and harm)
B. Consider the effect of aggravating and mitigating factors
(other than those within examples above)
Factors indicating higher culpability
  1. LGV, HGV, PSV etc.
  2. Ability to drive seriously impaired
  3. High likelihood of driving
  4. Driving for hire or reward
Factors indicating lower culpability
  1. Low likelihood of driving

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What Are The Fines?

Starting Point Range
Fine Band A 50% of relevant weekly income 25 - 75% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band B 100% of relevant weekly income 75 - 125% of relevant weekly income
Fine Band C 150% of relevant weekly income 125 - 175% of relevant weekly income

Maximum Level Fines

Level 1 £200
Level 2 £500
Level 3 £1000
Level 4 £2500
Level 5 £5000

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For further information and advice speak to one of our specialist solicitors today by using the details below or fill in the form and we will get back to you.

Telephone: 0151 286 9594

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