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Christmas drink driving campaign begins – don’t get caught out

Every year at Xmas, the police launch a nationwide ‘crackdown’ on drink driving. This results in thousands of motorists receiving an unexpected fine at the most unwelcome time of year.

The current Scottish legal limits for drink driving (as of 5 December 2014) are:-

  • 22 micrograms per 100 ml of breath
  • 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 ml of blood

Note that this is lower than the current limits elsewhere in the UK (i.e.

  • 35 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
  • 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
  • 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine)

Many people wrongly believe this translates to a one-size-fits all ‘rule’ relating to how much you can safely consume – many people think you can safely consume one drink, for instance. In reality, there are many interrelated factors which affect how quickly your body will process the alcohol and thus how long it takes for the amount of alcohol in your breath, blood and urine to drop below the legal limit.

Government guidance states that it takes on hour for your body to process on ‘unit’ of alcohol. However, many people are unaware what one unit of alcohol actually amounts to, and, of course, everybody is different. Your weight, build, age and gender play a role in how quickly you metabolise alcohol, as does the type and amount of alcohol you have ingested. Spirits tend to hang around longer than more dilute drinks like lager.

Other factors which influence how your body responds to alcohol include what you have eaten recently and your stress levels. These last two are important at Christmas when our eating and socialising patterns are all over the place and our stress levels are through the roof!

‘Morning After’ Drink Driving offences

As a result of these factors, many motorists are convicted of ‘morning after’ drink driving offences – they are caught by the police the next morning with breath alcohol levels above the legal limit.

During the ‘crackdown’ on festive drink driving, the Police routinely set out to catch motorists who are over the limit from the previous night.

Surveys repeatedly show that drivers routinely underestimate the amount of alcohol in their blood the next morning – almost half of drivers surveyed by an insurance company did not know how long they had to wait the next morning before driving. It’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid driving the next day if possible, or to wait until you are absolutely sure that you are below the legal limit. However, if you are charged with a ‘morning after’ drink drive offence, we can help.

Received a bail undertaking in relation to drink driving at Xmas?

If you have received a bail undertaking in relation to drink driving, contact us now. Acting fast may be the difference between keeping your licence and losing it.

The Glasgow Law Practice are experienced road traffic lawyers with a track record of successfully defending those charged with drink driving around Christmas time. Call us on 01415529193, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or click here