Drink Driving In Scotland

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Charged with Drink Driving in Scotland?

Drink Driving  in Scotland includes consequences such as job loss, business failure, loss of home, loss of car, relationship melt down.

Drink driving  in Scotland is treated, as you may expect, as a serious offence and an offence where the court will consider whether a custodial sentence is necessary. Repeat drink drivers can expect their vehicle to be forfeited and sold. We are all aware that the consequences for victims of drink driving can be a source of tragedy particularly when some innocent person is injured or killed.

Generally the police and the Crown prepare drink driving cases in Scotland very well as these cases are serious matters and are worthy of public resources but mistakes can and do occur in drink driving cases. Mistakes in Crown preparation and in defence preparation.

No one wants to face a drink driving charge alone. It is therefore all the more important to seek out professional help at the earliest opportunity. Mistakes do occur in drink driving cases. Often these cases involve technical defences where evidence requires to be secured at the earliest opportunity. (Even before you appear in court on the drink drive charge)

We can help provide peace of mind. We guarantee prompt response to your e-mail, texts, phone calls. We use the net not just to promote our service but to keep in touch with you and to deliver information and results. We have a vast experience in representing people from all walks of life faced with a drink driving charge. If a mistake has occurred in your drink driving case, we will find it and we will advise you about what it might mean to your case.

Drink driving charges carry a significant social stigma but that does not mean that everyone charged with such an offence is guilty. WE believe in the presumption of innocence and we will have no hesitation in testing the Crown case in a full and forthright manner. There is a method of reducing any period of ban by up to 25% in such cases.

We frequently deal with delicate situations. You may rest assured that we are committed to communicating with you and having a dynamic impact on your case.

A 2nd or subsequent drink driving case in Scotland is dealt with in a different way than the rest of the UK. In Scotland the Crown can move the court to forfeit your car and have it sold off with ZERO being paid back to you. This is not the only difference. If acquitted in Scotland you will NOT be able to recover your court costs.

Why choose us to represent you?

  • First and foremost, see what our clients have to say about us. We are consistently the top-ranked road traffic defence firm on TrustPilot:

  • Second, take a look at our case results. We are incredibly proud of our consistent success at court:


How do we do it?

A huge amount of expertise comes from practical court experience. Either by prosecuting or defending individuals or businesses. That is what we have been doing for more than 30 years. Graham Walker has not only represented fellow solicitors (Including Road traffic law Specialists) he has also been invited to provide training for fellow solicitors and Justices of the Peace. He has provided training for the Law Society of Scotland, The Glasgow Bar Association and The Royal Faculty of Procurators

Drink Driving and Speeding cases, can involve a great deal of technical and scientific information in addition to knowledge of the basic governing laws, our experience may be the most critical thing.

Road Traffic cases can be among the most difficult to defend. Because of the complexity, several mistakes can be made when it comes to defending Road Traffic cases. The outcome can mean being jailed, losing you licence, losing your job, paying considerable fines, , losing your car, having a huge hike in your insurance premium, and the current and future effect on your job and prospects. Check the boxes below for our advice on the law, potential defences, police procedure, penalties and potential mistakes made in cases of drink driving in Scotland.


It is an offence under section 5(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to drive while in excess of the prescribed limit on a road or other public place. These prescribed limits changed in December 2014. They are 22ug in 100ml of breath, 50mg in 100ml of blood and 67mg in 100ml of urine. Although it varies from person to person, there is now a significant risk that one small glass of wine or one pint of beer will put a person over the legal limit to drive. In line with the legislation, the Crown will not only require to prove that the accused was over the legal limit at the time of driving. It is also necessary to prove that the accused was the driver and that the locus was indeed a road or other public place. These are sometimes not as straightforward as they appear.

To win drink driving in Scotland the Crown has to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. There requires to be corroborated evidence that the accused was the driver, that the driving occurred on a road or other public place, that the machine used was accurate. If a specimen of blood or urine was taken, the sample may be inadmissible if the circumstances surrounding its appropriation were unfair or if the police have failed to observe the strict rules applicable to same in section 7 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. There is also a statutory defence of "post-incident drinking in terms of section 15(3) of the Road Traffic (Offenders) Act 1988 and you can read more about that here.

If the police fail to follow proper procedures it can lead to a successful defence. Nowadays the police have strict policies in place to prevent such errors but they can and do happen. They are of such importance that we have a separate page dedicated to them and you can find it here. We often get calls where the person has said they were not offered the opportunity to provide a blood or urine sample when their breath reading was only slightly over the limit. It should be noted that this defence under what was section 8(2) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 is no longer applicable. The driver now has no right to opt to have his breath sample replaced with a sample of blood or urine. The revocation of this important right occurred in an obscure section of an obscure Act of Parliament (Schedule 11, paragraph 1 of the Deregulation Act 2015. To the best of our knowledge there was no public consultation. The law was simply changed.

The penalties for drink driving in Scotland are severe and arguably draconian. The minimum possible penalty under law is a 12-month disqualification from driving and a fine of up to £5000 (the actual level of fine is usually lower). The 12 month disqualification can be reduced by 25% if the court can be persuaded to allow the driver to participate in the drink-drive rehabilitation scheme which we describe in detail here. In more serious cases, however, the length of disqualification can be far longer. Higher readings or repeat offences can lead to this. If it is a person's second such offence in a 10-year period, the minimum disqualification is 3 years. In the most serious cases involving very high readings and/or repeat offending the court will consider a custodial penalty of up to 6 months in prison. In these cases, moreover, the Crown will often seek forfeiture of the vehicle in terms of the Road Traffic (Offenders) Act 1988, section 33A. We do not use the term "draconian" lightly. It is a simple fact, however, that the Scottish Government cut drink-drive limits without any changes to the minimum penalties. That is particularly galling when one considers that the power of forfeiture is also only applicable in Scotland. The bottom line is, if you find yourself being prosecuted for drink driving in Scotland then get a lawyer.


After getting the breath analysis test result and the copy complaint, some people might simply give up and plead guilty to a drink driving case in Scotland.The breath test, the alcohol blood level test, and the roadside tests that the arrested person has to perform all have potential built-in flaws. Flaws which can make the difference between losing your licence or not. For example, the results of a breath test can be challenged. The Log Book detailing all tests that day can be examined by the defence to check for signs of flaws or tampering. Experts can be instructed to check the analysis machine itself and checks can be made reading the police procedures at time of testing. We have even had experience of an entry that had been "tippexed" then changed. Of course it is more costly to defend a case than to plead guilty but this is because of all the extra work and court time that will be involved. But with so much at stake (including considerable insurance penalty fees), the possibility of winning should not be dismissed. It may cost less than you think.

Mistakes can and do include: the sample was not taken properly; the results indicate that the analysis device was not properly calibrated; your breath sample was interrupted e.g. sicknessyou had something in your mouth, such as chewing gum, tobacco etc; you were on a special diet.you have diabetes, asthma, other relevant medical condition; you have ill fitting dentures; you had close contact in a confined space with paint or solvents; an alcohol antiseptic was used when blood was drawn.By not contesting the evidence you don't get to question the arresting officers. If a Trial is set the defence will get the chance to interview the police officers and examine the physical productions before you attend court. You will then have the opportunity to attack the results on the grounds that the technical rules weren't followed.

Wrong. I can't think of a machine that hasn't broken down sometime. All the defence require to do is show the Sheriff that there is room for a "reasonable doubt" regarding the reliability of the machine and your licence is saved.Laymen and even lawyers are sometimes guilty of failing to read the piece of legislation that the case relates too. All the statutes and the regulations governing the use of technical equipment requires to be read and understood.Those that don't know the laws and regulations don't realise that violations of the rules introduce into evidence matters that can be suppressed from the trial on the grounds of fairness to the accused.Thus, to defend you properly, a lawyer should get copies of the various logs, maintenance records, printout of sample taken etc. Sadly, it has been known for lawyers and unrepresented parties to just have the complaint and the arrest report.

If you do not know the law in relation to what and how evidence is led, how can you possibly tender a proper and timeous objection? If you don't get this right you can easily be convicted before you realise the error of your ways.

Many people don't visit the arrest location. And this can be crucial. In road traffic offences we often go to the scene with our clients to take relevant photographs and draft diagrams. It makes sense of all the left, right, nearside, offside, middle and don't knows that we will have to deal with at the trial.Roadside Tests involving walking a straight line and the like are becoming increasingly used in Scotland. Seeing and knowing the locus allows you to bring better cross examination to court as you can test witnesses on true conditions that existed. e.g. sloping, ill lit roadside that is very busy with traffic.....it may be reasonable not to be walking on the kerb? These things makes it much easier for your lawyer to ask probing questions about the roadside test, and, in some cases, point out a physical impossibility to the Sheriff. We had one case where the police officer admitted that he requested our client to walk a straight line inches away from a dual carriageway. Needless to say the Sheriff wasn't too impressed by this and threw the case out.

An understanding of the psychological basis for these tests and the methods to be employed when they are applied is essential for proper cross examination of officers. At the very least, the police training document should be studied by you or your lawyer. He or she will then know exactly what questions to ask the arresting officer to see if he completely followed the proper method. You see, if the manuals directions weren’t completely followed, the test’ validity can be attacked. Wherever your lawyer does it, a successful challenge results in the tested evidence being excluded at trial. Which significantly weakens the prosecutors case. Even more important, officers don’t always use objective scoring. The manual explains how to score the tests and how to arrive at a final score. All too often the officer simply subjectively decides whether or not you failed the tests. What’s the point? It’s simple: if you or your lawyer doesn’t know the training manual, how can he/she attack the way the arresting officer used it? How can he stop vital prosecution evidence from coming out. It is pretty hard to un-ring a bell.

Your lawyer should advise you about the sanctions resulting from a conviction as opposed to an early guilty plea. (The Du Plooy case)Why are these important?Because they can include a jail sentence, license suspension or revocation, a significant fine, inability to rent a car, substantially higher insurance rates, and loss of your job (particularly if your job involves driving).And this mistake can happen all to often if your lawyer is rushed or is a duty solicitor with very little time for each client. We have acted as a Duty solicitor and we know how tough it is to get through maybe 30 to 40 cases in an afternoon.You must take these extra penalties into account when deciding to plead guilty. If you are not aware of these penalties, you cannot help but be the loser.

It is not usually a good idea for the accused to give evidence in Road Traffic cases. This is primarily because they are not experienced witnesses, often appearing to be nervous or anxious. Police officers often have several years experience of giving evidence and they tend to keep to the same position in their evidence throughout.Is there ever a good time to put the accused on the stand? Yes, to directly contradict something the officer said. It will also be required where you intend to rely upon the "Hip Flask defence" or post incident drinking defence.

It is not usually a good idea for the accused to give evidence in Road Traffic cases. This is primarily because they are not experienced witnesses, often appearing to be nervous or anxious. Police officers often have several years experience of giving evidence and they tend to keep to the same position in their evidence throughout.Is there ever a good time to put the accused on the stand? Yes, to directly contradict something the officer said. It will also be required where you intend to rely upon the "Hip Flask defence" or post incident drinking defence.

Defence lawyers who are experts in Road Traffic Law say that someone who isn't a specialist should consult one. Just as you wouldn't hire a criminal lawyer to sell your house or deal with your divorce. Would you employ a plumber to hang a door?Knowing how to defend a Road traffic case involves considerable preparation, familiarity with the law, and knowing what motions to make and what objections to take.He or she will quickly be able to spot potential problems and strengths in your case. He'll know what the investigation and disclosure should reveal.If your lawyer does not specialise in drink driving cases in Scotland, you may not be getting the best advice and you may not have the strongest case.When dealing with drink driving in Scotland you should hire the best that you can afford. Remember that if you do get banned it may be possible to get your licence back before the end of the period of ban.

If you have been charged with ANY motoring offence in Scotland then call Roadtrafficlaw.com: the Road Traffic Law Experts. If you have a legal issue which is not our area of expertise (e.g a civil law personal injury matter) then we will refer you to somebody who can assist. If your case is one of the charges listed above then call us today: we would be happy to arrange a meeting to discuss your options at a no obligation consultation.