Custodial Sentence for Drink Driving
Drink driving is an imprisonable offence, which means that, depending on the severity of your case, you could be issued with a custodial sentence as a result of a drink driving conviction.
You may receive a custodial prison sentence for drink driving if your offence surpasses the ‘custody threshold’. The custody threshold is reached when a fine, community sentence and/or licence points alone are not severe enough as punishment for an offence, and custody – i.e. imprisonment – must be considered as a sentence.
The magistrates may consider imposing a custodial drink driving sentence in any of the following circumstances:
- You have one or more relevant previous convictions
By relevant, we mean a motoring offence of any kind (other than a speeding related offence) – usually within the last 10 years. The more recent the conviction, the more relevant it becomes. It’s crucial that your solicitor distinguishes the ‘modus operandi’ (the circumstances of the offence). Please be aware that the court will not know about your previous conviction(s) unless the CPS successfully introduce ‘bad character’ evidence.
- You provided a high alcohol reading or you failed to provide a specimen
The higher the alcohol reading provided, the more likely the magistrates are to consider imposing a prison sentence. Any ‘fail to provide’ allegation is just as likely to attract a serious penalty, especially if the CPS can show a deliberate refusal to provide a specimen and evidence of serious impairment.
- You have also been charged, at the same time, with another motoring offence
If, for example, you were disqualified at the time of the offence, or you did not have insurance, then this will aggravate the offence as a whole.
- There is evidence of serious impairment
It may be clear from witness evidence, or CCTV, that you were heavily intoxicated, even if you failed to provide a reading at the police station.
- You were involved in a Road Traffic Collision
Occasionally, it is a collision that leads to an arrest. Even if the collision was not your fault, it will still be considered by the court. If another person was injured, it is more than likely your case will surpass the custody threshold.
- Other aggravating features exist
This could range from poor weather conditions to driving with a child in the vehicle.
Any case that does surpass the custody threshold has to be handled correctly, which is where the skills and experience of a trusted motoring defence lawyer can make all the difference.The quality of your representation is key. A good solicitor believes in their client and presents a clear and convincing argument. By finding fault with the evidence against you, we may be able to avoid a conviction entirely – thereby avoiding a custodial sentence.
It’s no secret that prisons are overcrowded. In fact, prison sentences for drink driving are often a last resort for this reason. If your case does surpass the custody threshold, there is a chance that the magistrates may consider an alternative sentence in place of a prison sentence. Alternative penalties can include:
- Suspended sentence
- Unpaid work
- Being subject to a curfew (tag)
- A fine.