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Driving Whilst Unfit

It is an offence to drive a vehicle whilst unfit through drink or drugs. This allegation is not to be confused with the relatively new offence of Driving Whilst over the Prescribed Drug limit or the more commonly known offence of Driving Whilst over the Prescribed Alcohol limit.

However, the punishments are similar including a mandatory and lengthy disqualifications along with the imposition of either a fine, a community order or in the most serious cases, a custodial sentence.

It is also an offence to be in charge of a vehicle whilst being unfit to drive.

For the offence of driving whilst unfit the prosecution must prove the Defendant to be impaired to the extent that their driving standard is affected by the substances in their body. This does not just relate to illicit substances and the prosecution can and do charge Defendants with being unfit through properly prescribed medication.

There are various different ways to try and prove impairment that are employed by prosecuting authorities. These will often rely on a combination of visual observations of the driving and assessment of the defendant by police officers and medical practitioners as well as scientific analysis of blood samples. As such, as with all areas of road traffic law, the procedures are very technical and can be subject to scrutiny by defence lawyers.

Many Defendants are able to successfully challenge the prosecution case so expert advice from a Solicitor should be sought when charged with these allegations.

Sentencing Guidelines

Maximum: Level 5 fine and/or 6 months custody.

NOTES:

Must endorse and disqualify for at least 12 months.
Must disqualify for at least 2 years if the offender has had 2 or more disqualifications for periods of 56 days or more in the preceding 3 years.

Must disqualify for at least 3 years if the offender has been convicted of a relevant offence in preceding 10 years.

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