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Could you still be over the limit? Drink Driving Solicitor

Conor Johnstone
11 July 2016

How long until I can drive? – ‘Sleeping it off’


  • The chart below  is not intended to help you work out how much you can ‘get away’ with drinking before driving. It is intended simply to give you some understanding of alcohol elimination rates and timings of alcohol absorption. You may be surprised by the results.

If you plan on driving – don’t drink. Leave the car at home and make alternative arrangements. That is the safest and most reliable advice!

When will you be safe to drive?

drink driving limit calculator

Taking Risks – How much can I drink?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ formula when it comes to alcohol consumption and absorption. The amount of alcohol you would need to drink to be considered over the driving limit varies from person to person. It depends on;

  • Your age, weight, sex and metabolism
  • Your stress levels
  • What food you’ve consumed
  • What medication you take
  • The type of alcohol you’re consuming

You’ll note from the chart above that it takes approximately 1 hour for alcohol to enter your bloodstream. After that, the body can begin removing the alcohol at a rate of 1 unit per hour (or 7 microgrammes per hour).

Drink Driving Defence

Drink Driving Defences Booklet

You may have a full defence to the drink driving allegation against you.
Our Drink Driving Defence booklet contains a comprehensive list of the most common defences.

Drink Driving in England and Wales

In England and Wales, the alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath or 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine. In most other European countries, the limit is less, usually 50 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood (around 22 microgrammes).

The drink driving limit is not set at the point in which a motorist is deemed to be ‘drunk’. In fact, many of those arrested for this offence will often report feeling ‘complete fine’. The drink driving limit in England and Wales is set at the point that a motorist’s reactions are deemed to be dangerously slow.

Many of the functions that we depend on to drive safely are affected when we drink alcohol. Alcohol can cause;

  • Hazy thinking
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Dulled hearing
  • Impaired vision
  • Weakened muscles

Tips if you know you’ll be driving the next day

  • Appoint a designated driver
  • Take advantage of public transport, taxis or partners/parents!
  • If you have no option but to drive, stick to zero alcohol beers, mocktails or standard soft drinks
  • Buy a hand-held breathalyser online or from an automotive store

Could you Benefit from Expert Advice?

If you’d prefer to discuss your drink driving case immediately
with a specialist solicitor, please call our team on

0151 422 8020

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