Okay, let’s drill this down a bit. A conviction for drink driving in its purest form carries a fine, disqualification, community orders and in the most serious cases, prison. So what we are looking at is a “drink driving” offence, and yes there is a distinction.
Even if you have had half a pint of beer and are clearly under the legal limit, the police can still charge you with an offence should they deem you unfit to drive. Interestingly, this type of offence does not even need evidence from a breathalyser showing you are over the limit.
Mark Tongue, a spokesman for Select Car Leasing, said: “It can be tempting, particularly in the height of summer, to enjoy a drink in a nice pub beer garden before heading home.
“But if that drink makes you impaired in any way, even though you may not be above the legal limit, you could still face heavy consequences.
“If you’re feeling unwell, alcohol can make you excessively drowsy. Meanwhile, some antibiotics, when mixed with alcohol, can cause sickness and dizziness.”
Alcohol reacts differently to each person who consumes it and just one unit can impair the driver’s vision, section or overall control of a vehicle.
It is estimated that around 85,000 people are convicted of drink driving offences each year. Every year more than 60 people are killed in accidents where alcohol was a factor across England and Wales.
A motoring lawyer said: “You have a number of potential offences where you can be charged and convicted without being above the ‘legal limit’.
“Police now tend to use the ‘unfit’ charge when they are in difficulties, perhaps, for example, when the breathalyser machine does not work properly, or if somebody fails to give a specimen for analysis.
“And by reverting to the old charge of being ‘unfit’, the prosecutor at court can simply refer to their demeanour when arrested and the standard of driving.
“It tends to be used as a sort of legal backstop.”