Road Traffic Law

A Bready & Co specialism – Drink Driving

The new drink driving limit in Scotland has been generally welcomed and according to Police Scotland it will save lives. If that is so we should all be grateful as a society. The normally law abiding citizen, as well as being grateful, should also be wary of the possibility of inadvertently falling foul of the new law. Previously, to be found to be driving while over the limit (of 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood) the driver could reasonably be thought of as being reckless in his attitude to drinking and driving. One of the rough guides was that 1 ½ to pints of beer or two glasses of wine (or equivalent in spirits) required to be consumed before the average person exceeded the limit.

The position has now changed radically. You will now require to consume “very little” (50 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood) to be driving illegally. Being over the limit the “morning after” will now be much more common. The police suggest abstinence for good reason.

Just as concerning is the little known fact that the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal’s Service (COPFS)will no longer exercise discretion as they did previously, when they chose not to prosecute cases where the driver was only a “little bit” over the limit. This “leeway” was sensible in that it allowed a margin for error and avoided wrong ‘borderline’ convictions. Now, if the driver is perceived to be over the limit by even a very small amount then he will face prosecution. This is despite the fact that no system is ever perfect, mistakes can be made, police officers sometimes “get it wrong”. Readings can be inaccurate or false due to fault in the equipment or incorrect calibration. Police procedural failures can also lead to unsatisfactory results. These are the areas where loopholes can be found which benefit the accused person

The critical eye, experience and expertise of a good road traffic lawyer will often avoid unfair disqualification from driving in such circumstances.

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