Drunk in charge

Can I go to jail for being ‘Drunk in charge’?

In our latest article, our motoring solicitors look at the question; Can I Go to Jail for Being ‘Drunk in Charge’?

A common misconception of this charge is that the sentencing mirrors that of drink driving. However, although you are still at risk of a custodial sentence from this charge, the chances are much lower than if you were to be charged with drink driving.

The biggest difference between the sentencing for both offences is, that ‘drunk in charge’ has no mandatory disqualification and it is possible to be awarded 10 points but still retain your licence.

The possibility of this will depend on the sentencing band an individual falls into. It’s important to note the starting point in sentencing of 10 points will apply to any individual regardless of the plea entered or previous convictions. This means even if you have been convicted of drink driving previously, you could still avoid a disqualification.

‘Drunk in charge’ has four sentencing bands, as per the Magistrates Sentencing Guidelines, as follows:

Band One

You will fall into the lowest sentencing band for this offence if you have provided a sample of 36-59 ug (breath) or 81-137mg (blood). Sentencing for this band is ten points and a Band A (50% of weekly income) – Band B fine (100% weekly income).

Band Two

An individual will find themselves in the second sentencing band if they have provided either a breath sample of 60-89 ug or a blood sample of 138-206mg. Sentencing for this band ranges from 10 points to a driving disqualification; alongside a Band B fine (100% weekly income) to a Band C fine (150% weekly income).

Band Three

You will find yourself in the third sentencing band if you have provided a sample of between 90-119ug breath or 207-275mg of blood. The Sentencing for this band ranges from either a disqualification of up to six months or 10 points. This Sentencing band also permits the court to impose a medium level community order (80-150 hours of unpaid work) and a Band C fine (150% weekly income).

Band Four

An individual will find themselves in the highest sentencing band is they have provided a sample of 120-150+ug of breath or 276-345mg of blood. The Sentencing Guidelines for this band range from either a 6-12 month driving disqualification to a Medium Level Community Order (80-150 hours of unpaid work). This Sentencing Band also permits the court to impose a six week custodial sentence.

When determining which sentence to pass down to the individual, the court will first place you within a sentencing band dependant on the sample you provided (as above). They will then look at ‘Factors Increasing/Reducing Seriousness’ to determine where to place the person within the sentencing range.

Factors that increase seriousness for ‘Drunk in charge’ would be:

– Having a previous conviction of the same nature

– Committing the offence whilst of bail

– Failure to comply with current court orders

– If the offence was committed whilst on licence or post sentence supervision

– If there was a high likelihood you intended to drive

– If you offered to drive for hire or reward (private driver/taxi)

– If you were in charge of a LGV, HGV, PSV etc.

Factors that would reduce seriousness for ‘Drunk in charge’ would be:

– If there was a low likelihood you were going to drive

– If your drink had been spiked

– No previous convictions or relevant/recent convictions

It will also potentially reduce the sentence you receive if you reference relevant personal mitigation. This can include:

– Good Character & Good Conduct

– Serious Medical Conations, which require urgent or long term treatment

– Age/Lack of Maturity

– Mental Disorder or Learning Disability

– Sole/Primary Carer for dependant friends/family

If you have been charged with being ‘Drunk in Charge’, you can also read out blog ‘How Can a Solicitor Help Me with Drunk in Charge’, for more information.

Contact us now. Solicitors On Your Side can offer you free advice and consultations.

Contact us today by phoning 0330 912 2124, emailing [email protected], or by using our website by filling out an online form.

If you would like to find out more about recent law changes and news, make sure to visit our Latest Articles page. Our latest articles also cover a range of other topics, such as; motoring offences, personal injury claims, medical negligence claims, occupier’s liability and more.

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