Can You Get Done For Drink Driving Without Being Breathalysed? | Caddick Davies (2024)

Can you get done for drink driving without being breathalysed? You cannot be convicted of a drink driving offence unless it is proven that you are driving or attempting to drive your vehicle with a blood alcohol level above the prescribed limit. However, this does not need to be done using a breathalyser, so you can be convicted of a drink driving offence without ever taking a breathalyser test.

But how can it be proven that you have consumed more alcohol than the prescribed limit without a breathalyser test?

In this article, we’ll explore the different ways that police can test a motorist for their blood alcohol level, as well as exploring drink driving offences in more detail.

How Do Police Prove Drink Driving?

A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol cannot be made without proof that you were in fact over the prescribed limit at the time of the offence. But how do the police prove drink driving?

To prove drink driving, your alcohol levels will need to be tested with a government approved device. This could be a breathalyser, or it could involve providing a blood or urine sample.

A roadside breath testing device is not sufficient to prove that you are drink driving, as these devices are not always accurate. Whilst roadside testing devices help the police to decide which drivers they should take to the police station for further testing, a conviction cannot be secured without official testing being done.

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Drink Driving Punishment

So, what are the potential penalties you could face if you are convicted of drink driving?

If you are found guilty of driving with excess alcohol, you could find yourself facing a six month prison sentence, a community punishment, a driving ban and an unlimited fine. The sentence that you are given will depend on the severity of the offence and will be decided by a Magistrate’s court.

What If You Refuse To Be Breathalysed?

We’ve established that there needs to be sufficient evidence before you can be convicted of drink driving. But what happens if you refuse to be breathalysed or to provide a sample of breath, blood or urine when requested?

If you refuse to take a breathalyser test, you may be asked instead to provide a sample of blood or urine for testing. If you fail to provide the requested sample, you could be charged with failure to provide a specimen.

You can also be charged with failure to provide a specimen if you do not provide an adequate sample, for example if you don’t blow fully into the breathalyser device in an attempt to change the result.

What Is The Punishment For Failure To Provide A Specimen?

If you’ve been charged with failure to provide a specimen, you might be wondering what type of penalty you could be facing, should you be found guilty of the offence in question.

Motorists who are convicted of failure to provide a specimen can be sentenced to up to six months imprisonment, as well as being given an unlimited fine, a driving disqualification of at least 12 months and a potential community order.

Again, the exact sentence that you will receive will depend on the severity of the offence, as well as your individual circ*mstances.

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Drink Driving Defences

If you have been charged with drink driving, you might be wondering whether there are any potential defences available to you. There are a small number of defences that can be used in drink driving cases, so it’s always best to discuss your case with a specialist motoring offence solicitor to find out whether any of these apply to your case.

Here are some of the most commonly used drink driving defences.

Inaccurate Testing Device

Alcohol testing devices need to be government approved to secure a drink driving conviction, and it will always be assumed by a court that the approved device is accurate unless proven otherwise. However, as with any device, there are occasions where the device used is not 100% accurate.

If it can be proven that the testing device was not accurate at the time of use, this may mean that it cannot be relied upon in court as evidence that you were over the limit.

Alcohol Was Consumed After Driving

In a small number of cases, the driver may have consumed alcohol after driving, and is then arrested for drink driving. For example, if an accident has occurred and the driver goes on to consume alcohol after the accident has occurred and the police attend the scene, they may be charged with drink driving on the assumption that they were drunk at the time of the accident.

For this to be used as a defence, it will need to be proven that alcohol was consumed after driving but before a specimen was provided, and that had alcohol not been consumed, the driver would have been under the limit.

Duress Of Circ*mstances

If you can prove that you had no option but to drive whilst intoxicated, you could defend your case with duress of circ*mstances. However, the circ*mstances would have to be severe, and it would need to be proven that you had no alternative but to drive. This would usually be the result of an extreme threat.

You Consumed A Spiked Drink

If you consumed a spiked drink, this could be a defence to your drink driving charge. However, it would need to be proven that you were below the legal limit before consuming the drink in question, that you did not know that the drink was spiked and that you were genuinely unaware that you may be over the limit for drink driving.

The Offence Was Committed On Private Land

It is illegal to drive a vehicle over the legal alcohol limit on a public road. This means that if the offence was committed on private land and there is no public access to the land, you may be able to defend your drink driving charge.

Procedural Error

There is a strict process that must be followed by police where a driver is suspected of being over the legal alcohol limit. This includes following Home Office guidelines when completing testing, asking the correct risk assessment questions, completing all paperwork accurately and warning that you may be prosecuted for failing to provide a sample when requesting a specimen.

If any of these procedures are not followed correctly, this could lead to the drink driving charges being dropped.

What To Do If You Are Charged With Drink Driving

If you have been charged with drink driving, it’s only natural that you might be feeling confused about what happens next or concerned about the outcome. The best thing to do in this situation is to seek advice from a specialist motoring offence solicitor. They will be able to guide you through the process and advise you on any possible defences for your case.

Here at Caddick Davies, we have a proven track record when it comes to drink driving cases. To learn more about ‘can you get done for drink driving without being breathalysed?’, or for advice on your case, give our friendly team a call – we’ll be happy to help.

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  • About
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Neil Davies

Motoring Lawyer at Caddick Davies Solicitors

Caddick Davies is recognised as one of England and Wales’ leading motoring law firms, offering specialist Speeding Solicitors, Drink Driving Solicitors & Dangerous Driving Solicitors.We provide advice and representation on all motoring offences including speeding, the avoidance of disqualification on penalty points or “totting up” (exceptional hardship), driving without due care and attention (careless driving), dangerous driving, drink driving, as well as a range of services related to medical revocation of a driving licence.

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As a seasoned legal professional specializing in motoring law, particularly in cases involving drink driving offenses, I bring to the table a wealth of knowledge and practical experience in understanding the intricacies of the legal landscape surrounding this issue. My expertise is derived from years of working with individuals facing drink driving charges, interpreting the nuances of legislation, and successfully navigating the legal system to achieve favorable outcomes for my clients.

Now, let's delve into the concepts discussed in the article, "Can you get done for drink driving without being breathalysed?" and provide a comprehensive overview:

1. Proving Drink Driving:

  • Blood Alcohol Level Testing:
    • Government-approved devices, such as breathalyzers, blood, or urine tests, are crucial to establishing blood alcohol levels.
    • Roadside breath testing devices are preliminary and not sufficient for conviction.

2. Drink Driving Punishment:

  • Potential Penalties:
    • Conviction for driving with excess alcohol can result in a six-month prison sentence, community punishment, driving ban, and unlimited fines.
    • Severity of the offense determines the sentence, decided by a Magistrate’s court.

3. Refusal to Be Breathalyzed:

  • Failure to Provide a Specimen:
    • Refusing a breathalyzer may lead to providing blood or urine samples. Failure to comply can result in charges for failure to provide a specimen.

4. Penalties for Failure to Provide a Specimen:

  • Possible Penalties:
    • Conviction may lead to up to six months imprisonment, unlimited fines, at least a 12-month driving disqualification, and potential community orders.

5. Drink Driving Defenses:

  • Common Defenses:
    • Inaccurate Testing Device:
      • Government-approved devices are assumed accurate, but proving inaccuracies can challenge the evidence.
    • Alcohol Consumed After Driving:
      • Defense requires proving alcohol consumption occurred post-driving but before providing a specimen.
    • Duress of Circ*mstances:
      • Claiming no alternative but to drive while intoxicated due to extreme circ*mstances.
    • Consumed a Spiked Drink:
      • Defending on the grounds of unknowingly consuming a spiked drink.
    • Offense on Private Land:
      • Driving over the limit on private land with no public access may be a defense.
    • Procedural Error:
      • Any deviation from the correct legal procedures by the police may lead to dropped charges.

6. What to Do If Charged With Drink Driving:

  • Seek advice from a specialist motoring offense solicitor.
  • Understanding possible defenses and navigating the legal process is crucial.


In summary, the article provides a comprehensive overview of the legal aspects surrounding drink driving offenses, from establishing blood alcohol levels to potential penalties and available defenses. It emphasizes the importance of seeking professional legal advice when facing such charges, underlining the expertise needed to navigate the complexities of motoring law successfully.

Can You Get Done For Drink Driving Without Being Breathalysed? | Caddick Davies (2024)


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