Many people convicted of driving with excess alcohol leave court with a pretty clear idea as to the length of their driving disqualification, but for a significant number, there is a shock further down the line.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no 'right' to hold a driving licence, merely by having passed a driving test, and not otherwise being disqualified. The Secretary of State for Transport has the right, where the circumstances justify it, to withhold a licence. One of the circumstances where this arises is after a drink drive conviction if the offender is deemed 'high-risk'.
What is a high-risk offender?
The high-risk offender scheme applies to drivers convicted of the following:
- one disqualification for driving or being in charge of a vehicle when the level of alcohol in the body equalled or exceeded either one of these measures:
- 87.5 mcg per 100 ml of breath
- 200.0 mg per, 100 ml of blood
- 267.5 mg per 100 ml of urine
- two disqualifications within the space of 10 years for drink-driving or being in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol
- one disqualification for refusing or failing to supply a specimen for alcohol analysis
- one disqualification for refusing to give permission for a laboratory test of a specimen of blood for alcohol analysis.
If I fall into one of those categories, what does it mean?
It means that at the end of your disqualification period, your licence will not be returned.
How do I get my licence back?
There will need to be a medical assessment of your suitability to hold a driving licence; this will consist of:
- serum CDT assay
- any further testing indicated.
If a licence is awarded, the 'til 70 licence is restored for Group 1 car and motorcycle driving. Consideration may be given to a Group 2 licence.
If a high-risk offender has a previous history of alcohol dependence or persistent misuse but has satisfactory examination and blood tests, a short period licence is issued for ordinary and vocational entitlement but is dependent on their ability to meet the standards as specified.
A high-risk offender found to have a current history of alcohol misuse or dependence and/or unexplained abnormal blood test results will have the application refused.
What does this mean in practice?
You need, if you are regularly consuming large quantities of alcohol (which may be much less than you believe it to be), to reduce your intake significantly, otherwise, this pattern of alcohol abuse will reveal itself when the blood sample is analysed (for liver function markers).
I wish I had been told this at the time?
Unfortunately, our experience shows that clients are not advised of this hidden consequence of drink driving.
Is there any appeal mechanism?
Fortunately, yes there is. At Fosters Solicitors we have a dedicated team of road traffic experts ready and able to assist you.
If you would like further advice about this topic, then please contact our Crime and Defence department on 01603 620508 or fill in our online enquiry form.