• Matthew Griffiths

High-Risk Offenders - The Hidden Consequences of a Drink Drive Conviction


Many people convicted of driving with excess alcohol leave court with a pretty clear idea as to the length of their driving disqualification, but for a significant number, there is a shock further down the line.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no 'right' to hold a driving licence, merely by having passed a

driving test, and not otherwise be disqualified. The Secretary of State for Transport has the right, Where the circumstances justify it, to withhold a licence. One of the circumstances where this arises if after a drink drive conviction if the offender is deemed 'high-risk'.

What is a high-risk offender?

The high-risk offender scheme applies to drivers convicted of the following:

one disqualification for driving or being in charge of a vehicle when the level of alcohol in

the body equalled or exceeded either one of these measures:

87.5 mcg per 100 ml of breath

200.0 mg per 100 ml of blood

267.5 mg per 100 ml of urine

Two disqualifications within the space of 10 years for drink-driving or being in charge of a

vehicle while under the influence of alcohol,

One disqualification for refusing or failing to supply a specimen for alcohol analysis

One disqualification for refusing to give permission for a laboratory test of a specimen of

blood for alcohol analysis.

If I fall into one of those categories, what does it mean?

It means that at the end of your disqualification period, your licence will not be returned.

How do I get my licence back?

There will need to be a medical assessment of your suitability to hold a driving licence; this will

consist of:

A questionnaire

A serum CDT assay

any further testing indicated as necessary.

If a licence is awarded, the ’til 70 licence is restored for Group 1 car and motorcycle driving.

Consideration may be given to a Group 2 licence.

If a high-risk offender has a previous history of alcohol dependence or persistent misuse but has satisfactory examination and blood tests, a short period licence is issued for ordinary and vocational entitlement but is dependent on their ability to meet the standards as specified.

A high-risk offender found to have a current history of alcohol misuse or dependence and/or

unexplained abnormal blood test results will have the application refused.

What does this mean in practice?

You need, if you are regularly consuming large quantities of alcohol (which may be much less than you believe it to be), to reduce your intake significantly, otherwise, this pattern of alcohol abuse will reveal itself when the blood sample is analysed (for liver function markers).

I wish I had been told this at the time....

Unfortunately, our experience shows that clients are not always advised of this hidden consequence of drink driving.

Is there any appeal mechanism?

Fortunately, yes there is.

If you would like further advice about this topic, then please contact Matthew Griffiths on 01843 799121 or email msg@kentcriminallaw.com

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Kent Criminal Law

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