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Mitigation for Drink Driving

Mitigation for Drink Driving

When charged with an offence related to drink driving, the accused can, in certain circumstances, reduce the severity of the sentence. Our driving offence solicitors are able to assess your case and determine when and how you should use mitigation for drink driving. We can also assist those categorized as high risk offenders.

 Quick Facts  
  Types of drink driving offences

Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

Refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink

Relevant laws

The Road Traffic Act 1988

Sentencing guidelines

 Sentencing guidelines for use in Magistrates’ Courts
Sentencing Guidelines for use in Crown Court
Mitigation guidelines

According to the Magistrates Court Sentencing Guidelines

Number of convictions for mitigation Mitigation is possible if the individual has no previous convictions or no relevant recent convictions
Mitigation for emergency 

Possible if the individual can show that there was a genuine emergency

Mitigation for unintentional drink driving

If the driver had his/her
drinks spiked

Mitigation for showing good character When the driver shows remorse
or good character 
Discounted sentence for assistance  If the driver assists the prosecutor/investigator
Sentence reduction for guilty plea A reduced sentence is offered when pleading guilty, however, the disqualification period is not reduced
Exceptions to the guilty plea reduction In case of life sentences for murder, or when the offender was convicted for a different offence than that initially charged; other exceptions apply according to the moment during the proceedings when the individual pleads guilty
Other cases for mitigation The driver has a serious medical condition, learning disability or mental disorder, or when the driver is the sole carer for dependent persons
When to apply for mitigation  If a mitigating factor applies, our drink drive lawyer in UK will help you apply at the start of the proceedings
Maximum penalties without mitigation  For excess alcohol (driving/attempting to drive): unlimited fine and/or six months custody
For excess alcohol (in charge) the maximum sentence is a fine of up to £2,500 and/or three months custody
The court can also impose other types of sentence 
Legal assistance for mitigation Our drink drive solicitors can help you plead guilty at the start of the sentencing process (if applicable) or use the other mitigating factors, as they may apply in your case
Age/lack of maturity mitigation factor



Age or perceived immaturity may lead to a less severe sentence for the offence.

Maximum sentence reduction when pleading guilty


One-third of the original sentence

Alcohol limits for drivers in the UK


– 35 micrograms of alcohol/ 100 ml of breath,

– 80 milligrams of alcohol/ 100 milliliters of blood,

– 108 milligrams of alcohol/ 100 milliliters of urine

Penalties for specimen refusal (YES/NO)


License revoked


For minimum 12 months
Other penalties for drunk driving

– unlimited fine and/or up to six months in custody,

– 10 penalty points on driving record, etc.

Drink Drive Rehabilitation Course

Completing the course can reduce the disqualification period by 25%.

Spent drunk driving conviction

After 5 years

Totality principle characteristics


Ensures that the overall sentence is just and proportionate when multiple offenses are considered together.
Driving on private land

Proving that driving on private land with no public access can be a defense against the alcohol limit charge.

Legal aid available for drink drive offences (YES/NO)

YES, contact our driving offence solicitors for details.

Mitigation strategies for drink driving

– demonstrating good character,

– showing remorse,

– completing Drink Drive Rehabilitation Course,

– accepting responsibility,

– clean driving record,

– having legal representation, etc.

When to apply for mitigation

Our driving solicitors recommend applying for mitigation if you are pleading guilty to drink driving.

Cities our services are available in

You can contact our drink driving solicitors in London and other UK parts as well.

How can our drink drive solicitors help


– formulating legal strategy,

– court representation,

– providing mitigation factors, etc.

Mitigation for drink driving – factors that can reduce the sentence

Mitigation for drink driving can be raised when the accused shows exemplary conduct, as well as when he or she meets other criteria.

The sentence is determined according to both aggravating and mitigating factors and, in some cases, when the defendant pleads guilty, he or she can use the personal mitigating circumstances to reduce the disqualification period.

It should be noted that any circumstances presented for this purpose should be prepared with the help of a drink drive solicitor who has experience in mitigation for motoring offences.

Below, you can find out more about the factors that can reduce the sentence, as well as when to apply for mitigation.

Mitigating factors for motoring offences in the UK

Mitigation for drink driving is possible when the individual meets one or more of the following:

  • Number of convictions: the individual had no previous convictions or any relevant or recent convictions;
  • Emergency/medical: the person who was driving has a genuine emergency or has a serious medical condition or mental disorder/learning disability;
  • Unintentional: the sentence can be reduced when the driver had his or her drinks spiked;
  • Good character/caretaker: the sentence can also be reduced when the individual shows remorse, is of good character and when he or she is the sole or main provider for dependents (relatives).

 The seriousness of the offence could also be reduced according to the age of the individual/lack of maturity.

In general, in case of a genuine emergency and when the driven distance was very short, the factors apply when where they do not amount to special reasons.

A mitigating factor for the excess alcohol (in charge) offence is when the individual had a low likelihood of driving.

The offender can also receive a discounted sentence when he or she offers assistance to the prosecutor or investigator.

Sentence reduction in case of pleading guilty is described below by our team.

The totality principle is also taken into account when establishing the sentence. This means that when there is more than one offence, the total sentence should be just and proportionate to the overall behaviour. 

Mitigation for drink driving is performed in accordance with the Magistrates Court Sentencing Guidelines.

Our drink driving solicitor in London can give you more information about these guidelines that also include aggravating factors, including in case of high risk offenders.

We invite you to watch the following video presenting your options:

Sentence reduction for guilty pleas

When an offender pleads guilty to an offence (in this case,  sentenced for excess alcohol drive/attempt to drive or in charge), he or she can benefit from a reduction of the sentence.

The Magistrate’s Council offers important information on how the sentence is reduced in case of a guilty plea, for hearings that took place on or after 1 June 2017.

The purpose of this reduction is to encourage the offender to plead guilty as soon as possible during the course of the process, however, the individual should not be pressured into doing so.

The person found guilty of driving with excess alcohol (or attempting to drive) has the right to not plead guilty. However, in doing so, not only does he or she can reduce the sentence, but this act can also be beneficial for the victims who will thus not have to testify in court.

drink drive solicitor in the United Kingdom could also remind offenders that, pleading guilty when this is the case, will also be in the best interests of the public, as it saves time and money, otherwise spent on trials.

A guilty plea will have the most substantial benefits when it takes place early in the process.

It should be noted that a reduction of the sentence is possible both when the plea is made at the first stage of the proceedings, and when it is made at a later stage.

Our team underlines the fact that the maximum sentence reduction when pleading guilty is one-third.

Exceptions to the reduction of the sentence offered by a guilty plea

The sentence is reduced by one-quarter when the plea is made in the first stage of the proceedings. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

The reduction can be decreased from one-quarter to one-tenth relative to the progress of the case. it continues to decrease further, to zero, when the plea is made later in the course of the trial.

For the purpose of awarding the guilty plea reduction, it is considered that the trial has begun on the start of the pre-recorded cross-examination.

The reduction for a guilty plea does not apply when:

  • when further information or assistance is needed before indicating the plea;
  • when the offender’s version is rejected at a special reasons hearing or a Newton hearing (when the parties both offer conflicting evidence and the judge needs to determine the party that is telling the truth);
  • if the offender was convicted of a lesser/different offence from that charged initially;
  • in case of mandatory life sentences for murder (murder being the most serious criminal offence, and having special characteristics).

A drink drive solicitor from our team can provide you with further clarification on how the guilty plea reduction can apply in your case.

Our team also assists high risk offenders who wish to plead guilty.

When to apply for mitigation for drink driving

Mitigation can be raised when the individual pleaded guilty and the case is taken to court.

When working with us, a drink drive solicitor from our team, who represents you in court, will also present the mitigation.

This will be based on your particular circumstances, and character references can be used to support your case.

Penalties for drink driving in the UK

There are strict limits for drivers who choose to drink alcohol. The following apply in the UK (England, Wales, and Northern Ireland):

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath; or
  • 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood; or
  • 108 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.

If you are caught drink driving, the police can ask that you take a test. Penalties also apply if you refuse to provide a specimen for testing. When this is done without a reasonable excuse, you can be arrested.

The penalties for drink driving are the following:

  • unlimited fine and/or six months’ custody for driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol;
  • the driver can also lose the licence for 12 months (at least);
  • when the offence was excess alcohol while in charge of the vehicle, the offender can also lose the license and receive 10 penalty points.

For the excess alcohol (in charge) offence, the maximum sentence includes a fine of up to £2,500 and/or three months’ custody.

Our team can give you more details about the penalty for drink driving, the penalty points and minimum, maximum sentences.

If you would like to know if you can be subject to a reduction of these penalties, you can discuss mitigation for drink driving with our team.

Contact our drink drive solicitor for more information and assistance.

We also assist cases that involve high risk offenders.