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Stewarts Solicitors

Law Reform – Drink Driving Solicitors – Newtownards, Comber, Belfast, Ballymena, Holwyood

A Scottish court report which will be relevant to Northern Ireland when the drink driving laws are changed. The Northern Ireland Assembly passed a Bill in January which will amend the Road Traffic legislation with the changes expected to take effect in 2018. Drink-driving http  (Stewarts (motoring and criminal solicitors)
Commenting on drink-driving, Mark Durkan, Northern Ireland’s environment minister, said: “What I have done in this Bill is to get to the root causes of the problem. That means tougher drink drive laws. It remains an unfortunate fact that some people think that they can continue to drink and drive.” In relation to drink driving, the Bill provides for: * Two new Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limits: 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (i.e. 50mg/100ml) for most drivers and 20mg/100ml for learner and novice drivers and professional drivers. * The current drink drive limit in Northern Ireland is 80mg/100mls. This is a common limit applicable to all drivers, regardless of their licence status. * A new graduated penalty regime that will provide for fixed penalties for first offences at lower limits and continued court prosecution for high level first offences, or any second or subsequent offences. * Removal of the right for a driver to opt for a blood or urine sample to replace a breath sample in cases where the breath sample is marginally above the prescribed limit (commonly referred to as ‘the statutory option’). * Powers to enable police to establish, under “controlled circumstances”, roadside check-points where an officer can require a driver to take a breath test. * Automatic referral of offenders to a course for drink drive offenders unless a District Judge decides that attendance would be inappropriate. While an offender may be referred automatically, attendance will remain voluntary.
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