Drinking and driving is a serious offence in the UK, with severe penalties for those who are convicted. It is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, and if you do, you could face hefty fines, lose your license, or even prison time.

Understanding the Offence

It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle when you are over the legal alcohol limit. The limits vary depending on where you live in the UK, but generally speaking, it’s 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood for most drivers. It’s also illegal to be in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit through drink or drugs – as long as there’s evidence that you could potentially have taken control of the car. This means even if you aren’t driving at the time, sitting in a parked car while drunk or high can land you in trouble with the law.


If someone is convicted of a drink-driving offence, they can face severe penalties, including fines; disqualification from driving; endorsement of their driving licence; a prison sentence; or an alcohol treatment programme. The length and severity of the penalty depends on the individual case but can range from six months to several years in jail. Longer sentences can be expected for those who have committed more serious offences, such as causing death by careless driving while under the influence.

A Word of Advice

It is important to remember that it is never safe to drink and drive. Even if you think you are within the legal limits, risks could still be associated with getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. For instance, your reaction time may be slower, making it harder to react to unexpected changes on the road.

Certain prescription medications, which might not show up in a breathalyser test, can still affect your ability to drive, so check the label of any medication you’re taking before getting behind the wheel.

If you are drinking, always plan ahead and arrange an alternative means of transport, such as a taxi or public transport. If you do find yourself in a situation where someone else is driving after drinking alcohol, make sure that you speak up and tell them not to get behind the wheel.

Understanding the law around drink-driving offences is key to staying safe on the roads and avoiding serious legal consequences.

Final Thoughts

Drink-driving is a serious offence in the UK, with severe penalties for those who are convicted. It is important to understand the different offences related to drunk driving and what punishments can be expected if someone is found guilty.

Always plan and arrange to be driven if you intend to drink alcohol. Similarly, if you find yourself in a situation where someone else is considering drinking and driving, speak up. By understanding these issues more fully, people can stay safe on the roads while avoiding legal consequences that could have long-term effects on their lives.