Drink Driving Law Change – Statutory Option for Drink Drivers Removed

From the 10 April 2015 onwards, the option of replacing an evidential breath specimen with a blood or urine specimen where the breath test has exceeded the legal limit by just under 50% has been abolished.

Replacing the breath specimen with a blood or urine specimen was known as the statutory option.  It allowed suspected drink drivers the opportunity of having a specimen taken at the police station of between 40 – 50 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath replaced with an alternative specimen of blood or urine for analysis.

The statutory option was introduced by the Road Traffic Act 1988 at a time when there were doubts about the accuracy of evidential breath testing machines.

The Government has now concluded that the machines are accurate and the statutory option is not necessary.

The legal maximum alcohol limit is 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath, but the police only charge motorists who provide readings in excess of 40 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

The Deregulation Act 2015 came into force on the 10 April 2015 to remove the relevant sections of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

There will still be occasions when the statutory option is offered, including, but not exclusively:

  • There is no device available
  • The device available is not functioning correctly
  • The motorist has a medical condition which prevents him/her from providing a specimen of breath
  • Hospital cases

Where blood or urine samples are provided, it is vitally important that motorists take advice from legal and forensic experts as soon as possible, rather than wait to see if they are charged.

For more information, please contact Brian Koffman on 0161 832 3852 or admin@briankoffman.co.uk

The firm and Brian Koffman have been long regarded as leaders in the field with recommendations from independent guides.

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