Drunk in Charge of a Vehicle vs Drink Driving: What's the Difference? (2024)

Drink driving is when you are found operating avehicle while over the prescribed alcohol limit. Drunk in charge is when you are in control of avehicle while over the prescribed limit. There is no set definition of what it means tobe ‘in charge’ of avehicle, but there must arealistic possibility that you will attempt todrive while over the limit.

Drunk and in charge of avehicle

Drink driving offences are serious and can result in severe penalties, including adriving ban. If you have been charged with drink driving or being drunk in charge of avehicle, please contact us at Ashmans drink driving Solicitors. Weoffer an initial consultation and can help topreserve your driving privileges. One defence may be the hip flask defence back calculation.

What does ‘drunk in charge’ of avehicle mean?

To be guilty of being drunk in charge of avehicle, you must be:

  • In apublic place
  • Over the prescribed limit for alcohol, which in England and Wales is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath
  • In charge of avehicle

The first two points are easy tounderstand. Either you are in apublic place, or you are not. Also, abreath test either shows that you are over the prescribed limit, or you are not. However, there is no set definition of what it means tobe ‘in charge’ of avehicle. The courts are reluctant topinpoint precisely what constitutes being in charge of avehicle. Typically, it is any situation in which:

  • You have control of avehicle, and
  • There is areasonable prospect that you will drive

What does being in control of avehicle mean?

So, how dothe courts determine if you were in control of avehicle and if there was areasonable prospect that you would drive? Again, there is no set definition. It all depends on the circ*mstances.

Usually, being in control of avehicle means that you have the keys in your possession. In other words, you could have driven the car, had you wanted to. As toyour intentions, this will come down toyour behaviour on the day/night in question.

If the court decides that you did intend todrive, then the timeframe will be compared tothe alcohol level in your system. So, you may say that you intended todrive the morning after the night before. But if your blood alcohol content would still have been above the prescribed limit, you will be guilty of the offence.

Examples of being drunk in charge

People are often caught out byadrunk in charge offence. Normally what happens is that they drink alcohol and then return totheir vehicle for atemporary period. They may intend tosleep in the car, they may have lost their house keys, or they may have been separated from their friends. Whatever the reason, they are found in or near their vehicle while over the prescribed limit.

The keys might be in the ignition, whether through force of habit or toenable the operation of the windows or heating. However, this is not aprerequisite of being drunk in charge. The accused may have the keys in their pocket. They may even be curled up in the backseat or the passenger seat, rather than the driver’s seat.

There are numerous examples of what might amount tobeing ‘drunk in charge’. Every case depends on the circ*mstances. Ultimately, it comes down towhether you could technically have operated the car – because you had the keys on your person. And whether you intended todrive, either immediately or at some point in the future, while you were still over the legal limit.

How does being drunk in charge differ todrink driving?

Being drunk in charge of avehicle is not the same thing as drink driving. Drink driving is when you are actually driving while over the prescribed limit. This means that the vehicle is, or has been, in motion.

Clearly, there is room for some overlap between the two offences. For example, if you are sat in the driver’s seat with the ignition on, does this amount tobeing drunk in charge, or drink driving? In the court’s eyes, it is situational. If adriver was indicating and preparing tomove out into the road, this could be classed as drink driving. But if the driver was parked and asleep, then he/she is more likely tobe charged with being drunk in charge.

What are the penalties for being drunk in charge vs drink driving?

Another key difference between the offences is the penalties imposed. The penalties available tothe court for being drunk in charge are:

  • Up to10 penalty points
  • Afinancial penalty
  • Adiscretionary driving ban
  • imprisonment
  • Community Order

The penalties available tothe court for drink driving are:

  • Afinancial penalty
  • Amandatory driving ban for at least one year, or three years if convicted twice in the past 10 years
  • imprisonment
  • Community Order

Defending charges of drink driving and drunk in charge

Given these penalties, being accused of drink driving or drunk in charge is ascary prospect. You face the very real possibility of losing your licence, along with araft of other adverse consequences. However, there are defences available.

When it comes todefending accusations of being drunk in charge, the key is often toprove that you did not intend todrive. If you had no intention of actually operating the vehicle while under the prescribed limit, the prosecution’s case will fail. The burden is on you toestablish this and topersuade the court of your innocence. This can be achieved with circ*mstantial evidence, along with toxicology reports that show you would have been under the limit, bythe time you intended todrive.

If the police claim they have caught you drink driving, then your case will likely hinge upon atechnical defence. The police have various procedures they must follow when testing and arresting someone for drink driving. If there was any deviation from the rules, the case against you cannot proceed.

There are also other defences available. For example, you might have been on private property, or you might have aspecial reason for drink driving. This could be any mitigating circ*mstances that explain why you needed todrive while other the limit, such as amedical emergency or fleeing danger. Alternatively, you could rely on the hip flask defence. This is when you drank alcohol after driving but before providing asample of breath, blood or urine.

Speak toamotor offence solicitors London

Whether you have been charged with drink driving or being drunk in charge of avehicle, weknow what todo. Wehave aspecialist team of drink driving solicitors who can devise the best strategy in your particular case. Thanks toour expertise, weknow how tominimise the consequences of adrink driving charge.

Contact us now for an initial enquiry. You can call us on 03330096275. Weare available 24 hours aday, 7 days aweek. See our motoring defence fees page tofind out more about our fixed fees.

You can also email us on enquiries@ashmanssolicitors.com or complete ourOnline Enquiry Form and wewill contact you

What is drink driving UK

In the UK, drink driving refers tothe act of operating amotor vehicle on apublic road or in apublic place while under the influence of alcohol. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) while driving in the UK is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, or 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 milliliters of breath. If adriver is found tohave aBAC above this limit, they can be charged with drink driving

What is considered drinks driving

Being in charge ofavehiclewhile above the legal limit or unfit through drink.

Can you be charged if drunk in car but not driving

In the UK, it is possible tobe charged with an offense even if you are not driving acar but are drunk and in control of the vehicle. This offense is known as “being in charge of amotor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol” and it is acriminal offense under the Road Traffic Act 1988.

As an expert in the field of drink driving laws and defenses, I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to shed light on the concepts discussed in the article. I have extensive familiarity with the legal framework surrounding drink driving offenses, including the nuances of being "drunk in charge" of a vehicle.

Firstly, the article correctly distinguishes between drink driving and being drunk in charge of a vehicle. Drink driving specifically refers to operating a motor vehicle while over the prescribed alcohol limit, where the vehicle is, or has been, in motion. On the other hand, being drunk in charge is a broader concept, encompassing situations where an individual is in control of a vehicle while over the prescribed limit, even if the vehicle is stationary.

The key concept in being "drunk in charge" is the idea of having control of a vehicle with a reasonable prospect of attempting to drive while over the legal limit. The article rightly highlights the lack of a set definition for what it means to be "in charge" of a vehicle, with the determination often depending on the circ*mstances of each case. Having keys in possession is a common indicator, but the courts consider various factors, including behavior and intentions.

The article discusses the potential scenarios that may constitute being "drunk in charge," such as individuals found near their vehicles with keys, even if not in the ignition. This demonstrates a nuanced understanding of the legal landscape, emphasizing that each case depends on its unique circ*mstances.

Furthermore, the article delves into the differences in penalties for being drunk in charge versus drink driving. This includes variations in penalty points, fines, driving bans, imprisonment, and community orders. Such detailed information showcases a comprehensive understanding of the legal consequences associated with these offenses.

In terms of defense strategies, the article outlines key considerations. For being drunk in charge, proving the lack of intention to drive is crucial. This involves presenting evidence, such as circ*mstantial evidence and toxicology reports, to demonstrate that the individual did not intend to operate the vehicle while over the legal limit.

The article also mentions technical defenses for cases of drink driving, emphasizing the importance of police procedures and potential deviations from established rules. Additionally, it highlights other defenses, such as being on private property or having a special reason for drink driving.

In conclusion, the expertise demonstrated in this article reflects a deep understanding of drink driving laws, penalties, and defense strategies, making it a valuable resource for individuals facing such charges. If you have been charged with drink driving or being drunk in charge of a vehicle, seeking legal advice, such as the services provided by Ashmans drink driving solicitors, is strongly recommended.

Drunk in Charge of a Vehicle vs Drink Driving: What's the Difference? (2024)


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