Drivers could face drink-drive penalty even if they're under the limit

Drivers have been warned that they could still face a drink-drive conviction without actually being above the legal limit.

An offence known as a DR50 covers being ‘in charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink’ — and it’s down to the arresting officer to decide whether you’re fit, or unfit, to be behind the wheel, Select Car Leasing explained.

Most people who are caught drink-driving fail a breathalyser, blood or urine test and receive a DR40 conviction for being ‘in charge of a vehicle while alcohol level above limit’.

The maximum penalty is 10 points on your licence, a driving ban, a £2,500 fine and/or three months in prison.

With a DR50 conviction you face the same penalties and the police don’t have to prove that you were over the limit at the time.

If convicted, the endorsement will remain on your driving licence for four years.

As notes, there is no precise definition of being ‘in charge’ of a vehicle but control over the keys is considered a good indication.
A broken glass filled with whiskey with car keys on-front of itIf a person has the keys to the vehicle and is either in the vehicle or close to it, they are likely to be seen as in charge of the vehicle.

Based on the facts presented, the court will decide whether or not a defendant was in charge of the vehicle or not.

It can be tempting — particularly around Christmas time — to enjoy a drink before heading home, said Select Car Leasing’s Mark Tongue.

“But if that drink makes you impaired in any way, even though you may not be above the legal limit, you could still face heavy consequences,” he explained.

“If you’re feeling unwell, alcohol can make you excessively drowsy. Meanwhile some antibiotics, when mixed with alcohol, can cause sickness and dizziness.

“A DR50 charge means 10 points on your licence and a hefty fine. Our advice would be to swerve the drinks entirely if you know you’re going to be behind the wheel.”

Have you been convicted of drink-driving? At the Insurance Factory we have over 20 years’ experience in arranging convicted driver car insurance.

We understand that your past is in the past and are committed to getting you back in the driving seat with as little hassle possible. Get a quote today!