The Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 5 (1)(a)

Drink Driving

Official UK legislation:

Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 5(1)(a)

"If a person – drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in his breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit he is guilty of an offence. "

The new prescribed limits

The Road Traffic Act 1988 (Prescribed Limit) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 SSI 2014/328 came into force on 5 December 2014 and set the following prescribed limit:

  1. 22 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath;
  2. 50 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood; or
  3. 67 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine.

The penalties

A conviction under s.5(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 will result in an obligatory period of disqualification for a minimum period of 12 months. The court is also entitled to impose a prison sentence up to six months and a fine of £5,000.

Statutory defence of post-incident drinking

Section 15 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 provides:
  1. This section and section 16 of this Act apply in respect of proceedings for an offence under section 3A, 4 or 5 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (driving offences connected with drink or drugs); and expressions used in this section and section 16 of this Act have the same meaning as in sections 3A to 10 of that Act.
  2. Evidence of the proportion of alcohol or any drug in a specimen of breath, blood or urine provided by or taken from the accused shall, in all cases (including cases where the specimen was not provided or taken in connection with the alleged offence), be taken into account and, subject to subsection (3) below, it shall be assumed that the proportion of alcohol in the accused’s breath, blood or urine at the time of the alleged offence was not less than in the specimen.
  3. That assumption shall not be made if the accused proves—
    1. that he consumed alcohol before he provided the specimen or had it taken from him and—
      1. in relation to an offence under section 3A, after the time of the alleged offence, and
      2. otherwise, after he had ceased to drive, attempt to drive or be in charge of a vehicle on a road or other public place, and
    2. that had he not done so the proportion of alcohol in his breath, blood or urine would not have exceeded the prescribed limit and, if it is alleged that he was unfit to drive through drink, would not have been such as to impair his ability to drive properly.

The Drink Driving Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS)

At the sentencing hearing, the Sheriff or Justice of the Peace will decide whether to grant the opportunity to attend a DDRS course. The course must be approved by the Driving and Vehicle Agency (DVSA) for the sentencing reduction to apply. The DDRS is an educational course consisting of 3 x 6 hour modules.

Forfeiture of motor vehicle

Section 33A of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 provides:

  1. Where a person commits an offence to which this subsection applies by-
    1. Driving, or attempting to drive or being in charge of a vehicle,

the court may, on an application under this subsection, make an order forfeiting the vehicle concerned, and any vehicle forfeited under this subsection shall be disposed of as the court may direct.

Official Legal Advice in Scotland

The Road Traffic Lawyer

Michael Lyon Solicitors

Michael Lyon Solicitors Limited is a team of highly specialised and experienced road traffic lawyers representing clients charged with motoring offences throughout Scotland. We hold a unique position in the market place due to our outstanding track record for successfully defending road traffic cases over the last decade. We restricted our practice solely to the defence of road traffic prosecutions in 2007 and have not looked back since. Our head office is located on High Street in Glasgow and our second office opened in Dumfries, directly across from Dumfries Justice of the Peace and Sheriff Court, back in 2011 to deal with the high number of speeding prosecutions emanating from the M74.

Over the years we have represented a broad range of clients from Police Officers to politicians and provided expert legal assistance in relation to thousands of road traffic cases in Scotland. Aside from regularly appearing in the Scottish media on matters of road traffic law over the last decade, Michael Lyon is also the accredited Consultant on the Road Traffic Offences and Disqualification section of The Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia, considered to be an essential text for solicitors practising road traffic law in Scotland.

If you are facing prosecution for any road traffic offence in Scotland, from dangerous driving down to a simple speeding charge, contact us today for expert legal representation. We can resolve many cases over the telephone free of charge.

Should the case merit legal representation, we will provide a clear fixed fee quotation to secure the services of our team of expert road traffic lawyers.

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