Criminal defence

Drunk in charge defence

You don’t have to be physically driving to be found guilty of being drunk in charge of a vehicle. Slater and Gordon’s expert lawyers are here to support your case if you’re being charged with a drunk in charge offence.

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Drunk in charge solicitors

Are you facing a drunk in charge offence? Contact us today for expert legal advice on your specific case. Call us now on 0330 041 5869 or contact us online and we’ll be in touch.

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What does drunk in charge mean?

A person can be charged with drunk in change of a motor vehicle on a road or public place when the alcohol level in their system exceeds the legal drink-drive limit.

To be prosecuted with a drunk in charge offence, you don’t have to be physically driving the vehicle. Anyone over the drink-driving limit can be charged if you have assumed control of the vehicle before driving it such as having possession of the keys, if there’s a realistic possibility that you’ll drive the vehicle, or even if you’ve entered the vehicle to collect belongings or to sleep.

The vehicle you have access to doesn’t have to be a car in order for you to be charged with this offence. It must be a “mechanically propelled vehicle” adapted for use on roads which means you could be drunk in charge of a car, van, lorry, motorbike, or electric-powered vehicles to name a few.

What penalties can you face for being drunk in charge?

The penalties for an offence of being drunk in charge of a vehicle vary depending on your case, though these charges do have serious consequences if proven guilty. The penalties imposed can range from 10 penalty points and a fine, to a 12 month disqualification and a three month prison sentence.

What is classified as being in charge of a vehicle while drunk?

It’s important to note that you don’t have to be physically sitting in the driving seat to be prosecuted for this offence. When over the drink-drive limit, there are numerous actions which signify you’re in charge of a vehicle such as:

  • Having control over the keys
  • Attempting to gain entry to the vehicle
  • Having intention to take control of the vehicle
  • When supervising a driver with a provisional license

You’re not classified as ‘in control’ if you’re seen at a great distance from the vehicle, even when you have possession of the keys. You also may have a defence if there was no possibility of you driving the vehicle whilst you were still over the prescribed alcohol limit.

How can you avoid a drunk in charge penalty?

To resist any temptation to drive or access your vehicle whilst over the prescribed alcohol limit you should give your keys to a trusted individual (someone that isn’t drinking) and organise an appropriate method of transport to get home in advance.

What happens if you have been charged with a drunk in charge offence?

When faced with this offence, you’ll have the opportunity to prove there was no likelihood of you driving the vehicle through a drunk in charge defence. It’s strongly recommended to seek the advice of a specialist lawyer in order to get the best possible outcome from the beginning.

Our expert road traffic defence lawyers can advise you if you’ve been accused of being drunk in charge and help build your defence. Call us on 0330 041 5869 or contact us and we’ll call you.

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