Skip to main content

Drink driving: proposed sentence increase

As regular readers will know, I run a drink driving solicitor firm and so have a particular interest in drink driving cases, so when I came across the Drink Driving (Repeat Offenders) Bill on the Parliament website I had to say something about it.

Rehman Chishti MP for Gillingham and Rainham has laid the Drink Driving (Repeat Offenders) Bill before Parliament under the 10-minute rule.  Because it is a private members bill there is little chance of it becoming law unless the government decides to allow it sufficient Parliamentary time to progress through Parliament.

Currently people convicted of drink driving can receive a maximum of six-months imprisonment no matter how many times they have been convicted in the past and no matter how high the level of alcohol in their system at the time they drove.

The Drink Driving (Repeat Offenders) Bill will give magistrates the power to send cases to the Crown Court where offenders can be sent to prison for up to two-years.  It’s unclear whether the Bill will convert drink driving into an either-way offence, which means that trials can be heard in the Crown Court as well as the magistrates’ court.  Normally, where an offence carries more than six-months imprisonment it follows that a trial can be heard in the Crown Court.  At the time of writing the full text of the Bill has yet to be published but the summary suggests that the Crown Court would have no power to hear trials but merely to sentence repeat offenders.  That would make it the only offence to be tried only in the magistrates' but with sentence imposed by the Crown Court, which makes me wonder at the quality of the drafting that has gone into the Bill, but time will tell on that front.

I’ve long been surprised by the very low sentences attracted by drink driving offences in comparison to vilification aimed at drink drivers by police and government so I’m not surprised to see a bill like this appear.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Private Members' Bills (except "handouts" which are Government Bills in disguise) are propaganda, not legislation, and this is going nowhere. The Bill will probably not even be printed.

    1. Yep, I'm inclined to agree.

      I wrote to the MP responsible for this bill asking for a copy of it... never got a reply so can only assume that despite proposing the change, it's something he's not really that interested in.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Ched Evans

Before I begin, I will say that at around 4,500 words this is probably the longest blog I’ve ever posted but I think it’s all necessary to set the scene for this case and explain the background that has been largely ignored or airbrushed in the press. Despite its length, I have not attempted to include every little detail of either fact or law but have done my best to provide a balanced picture of the Ched Evans case, what happened and why the courts reached the decisions they did. There has been so much written about the Ched Evans case over the past weekend, much of it based on a very shaky grasp of the facts and law, that I decided I would read up about the case and weigh in (hopefully on a slightly firmer footing than most of the articles I’ve read so far).

Broadly speaking there seem to be three groups who have opinions on the case:
1.Sexual violence groups (including people describing themselves as “radical feminists”) who appear to take the view that the case is awful, the Court o…

How do the police decide whether to charge a suspect?

A question I’m often asked by clients (and in a roundabout way by people arriving at this blog using searches that ask the question in a variety of ways), is “how do the police decide whether to charge or take no further action (NFA)?”
What are the options?
Let’s have a quick think about what options are available to the police at the end of an investigation.
First, they can charge or report you for summons to attend court.  Charging means that you are given police bail and are required to attend court in person.  A summons is an order from the court for you to attend or for you to send a solicitor on your behalf.  In many cases where a person is summonsed, the court will allow you the option of entering a plea by post.
Second, you may be given a caution.  These can be a simple caution, which on the face of it is a warning not to be naughty in future, or it can be a conditional caution.  Conditions could include a requirement to pay for the cost of damage or compensation, etc.  Either…

Bid to prevent defendants knowing who accuses them of a crime

When I read The Trial by Kafka and Nineteen Eighty-Four by Orwell, I took them as warnings of how a bad justice system wrecks lives of those caught up in it. Sadly, some Members of Parliament and the House of Lords seem to view the books more as a guide to how they would like our Criminal Justice System to run. Today, I read of plans to hide the names of accusers and witnesses from defendants in a large number of cases. Victims of sexual offences, such as rape, have had the right to lifelong anonymity for many years now. This means that it is a criminal offence to publish information that will lead to a complainant being identified. A Bill currently being considered by Parliament would extend that anonymity to bar defendants and their lawyers knowing the name of the person accusing them. This would apply not only in sexual offences, as has been reported in the press, but also in violent offences.
The anonymity currently offered to victims of sexual offences is not total, the complainant…