Drink driving offences
Produced in partnership with Red Lion Chambers
Drink driving offences

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with Red Lion Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Drink driving offences
  • Elements of the offence of driving with excess alcohol
  • Driving
  • Road or 'other public place'
  • Motor Vehicle
  • Prescribed limits
  • Challenging specimens
  • Defences to the offence of driving with excess alcohol
  • Sentencing for the offence of driving with excess alcohol
  • Attempting to drive with excess alcohol
  • More...

The Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988) creates a number of alcohol and drug related offences.

The principal ones are:

  1. driving with excess alcohol or drugs

  2. attempting to drive with excess alcohol or drugs

  3. being in charge of a motor vehicle with excess alcohol or drugs

  4. driving or attempting to drive while unfit, and

  5. being in charge of a motor vehicle while unfit

All of the offences are summary-only offences. This Practice Note deals with driving impairment offences due to excess alcohol. For drug related driving impairment offences, see Practice Note: Driving, or being in a charge of, a motor vehicle with concentrations of specified controlled drugs in excess of specified levels.

Elements of the offence of driving with excess alcohol

The prosecution must prove:

  1. the defendant was driving

  2. on a road or other public place

  3. a motor vehicle

  4. after consuming alcohol so that the proportion in their breath, blood or urine

  5. exceeded the prescribed limits

Driving

The term driving is not defined in the RTA 1988 but the courts have held that the act of driving is a physical one which can only be performed by a person. The Divisional Court has held that the term does not apply to a limited company. (Richmond London Borough Council v Pinn and Wheeler) [1989] RTR 354.

In R v MacDonagh, the Court of Appeal said that the essence of driving was the

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