In Charge while unfit Through Drink or Drugs

Drink Driving Laws

In charge while unfit

DVLA Endorsement Code: DR50 (drink) / DR90 (drugs)
Remains on driving licence for 4 years from date of offence or 4 years from date of conviction if a disqualification is imposed

It is an offence under s.4(2) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to be in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place while being unfit to do so through drink or drugs.

A person is guilty of this offence if they are in charge of a motor vehicle which is on a road or other public place and at the same time they are unfit to drive through drink or drugs.


What constitutes being 'in charge' of a vehicle?

There is no precise definition of being in charge of a vehicle although control over the keys of the vehicle is a good indication as to whether or not a person is currently in charge of the vehicle.

If a person has the keys to the vehicle and is either in the vehicle or close to the vehicle then they are likely to be seen as in charge of the vehicle.

It is for the court to decide based on facts presented to them as to whether or not a defendant was in charge of the vehicle or not.


Defence

There is a statutory defence to this charge if a defendant can prove that there was no likelihood of them driving the vehicle while being in charge of it while unfit through drink or drugs.

If they can prove there was no likelihood of them driving the vehicle then they cannot be convicted of this offence.


Penalties for being in charge while unfit through drink or drugs

It is up to the court to decide if a driving disqualification will be imposed. If no disqualification is imposed then 10 penalty points will be given.

The maximum penalty that can be imposed for this offence is a 3 month prison sentence and a £2,500 fine.

The minimum penalty that can be imposed for this offence is 10 penalty points and a band B fine.

Magistrates will refer to the sentencing guidelines and take into account all mitigating and aggravating factors surrounding individual cases before deciding on the appropriate sentence to impose.



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