Driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol or drugs in breath, blood or urine.

The offence

s.5 (1)(a) RTA
Driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol in breath, blood or urine.

The sentence

6 months imprisonment / Fine  Level  5
Mandatory Disqualification /
3-11 Points


A person arrested for ‘drink drive’ or ‘drug driving’ will be required to provide a specimen of breath both at the roadside and at the police station.  The most important provision of a sample of breath is the one which will be provided at the police station. The sample of breath is generally given on an authorised intoximeter.  It is important that the intoximeter machine is proved to be working correctly and calibrated.

A person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to provide a specimen when required to do so is guilty of an offence. If a reasonable excuse exists, for example medical difficulties leading to a shortness of breath or inability to blow, it is important that such matters are raised at an early stage.

The custody record can be of assistance to the defendant as well as any medical examination or any CCTV footage of the intoximeter procedure.

If a constable has a reasonable cause to believe that for medical reasons a specimen of breath cannot be provided or should not be required, he/she can require the person detained to provide a specimen of blood or urine.

Perhaps the most significant penalty with regard to such offences is the mandatory term of disqualification.  This will be a minimum of 12 months but may be more, depending on the circumstances of the case.

However, the disqualification may be avoided or reduced if special reasons can be applied to mitigate the offence.   This is a complicated area of law, in which our experienced advocates are often successful.


Need help with an offence?

Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

Please fill out the form and one of our team will be in touch to help.