How are drink driving fines calculated?
We frequently represent clients facing prosecution for driving with excess alcohol, more usually known as drink-driving, and are often asked: 'How are drink driving fines calculated?'
Upon conviction for an offence of drink-driving, a period of disqualification will almost always be imposed. A period of disqualification is mandatory in all such cases unless the court is persuaded that 'special reasons' exist for not disqualifying at all, or disqualification for less than the mandatory minimum term of 12 months. The exact length of the disqualification will depend upon how much alcohol was in the driver's system at the time of driving, consideration of any other aggravating and mitigating features of the offence and the personal circumstances of the offender. To examine whether you may be able to avoid a period of disqualification, or to enquire how to limit the length of such a ban, simply call us to discuss your case.
In addition to a period of disqualification, the court will also look to impose a financial penalty - a fine. But how does the court decide upon what the fine should be?
In short, deciding upon what level of fine to impose, the court will look at both how serious the offence was as well as the means of the defendant i.e. what his or her earnings are, as well as their usual expenditure.
Determining how serious an individual case is will depend on so many factors. Once that is established by reference to the magistrates guidelines applicable to the offence of drink driving - found here (page 124) - the court will determine the level of fine by reference to the offender's means. The court guidelines have a number of means-based bands. These are designed to ensure that financial penalties are fair and not disproportionate to an offenders income. The courts will impose a considerably higher fine for a professional footballer or wealthy celebrity than it would for an offender on benefits or a low income.
There are 6 bands, A-F. They are applied as follows:
Fine Band A: 50% of relevant weekly income (between 25 - 75% of relevant weekly income)
Fine Band B: 100% of relevant weekly income (75 - 125% of relevant weekly income)
Fine Band C: 150% of relevant weekly income (125 - 175% of relevant weekly income)
Fine Band D: 250% of relevant weekly income (200 - 300% of relevant weekly income)
Fine Band E: 400% of relevant weekly income (300 - 500% of relevant weekly income)
Fine Band F: 600% of relevant weekly income (500 - 700% of relevant weekly income)
Most fines fall within bands A to C. Bands D-F are reserved for the most serious of cases. The more aggravating features of an individual case (accident, high alcohol reading, injury to others, or similar convictions for example), the higher the band an offender will be placed in.
If you have been arrested or charged with an offence of drink driving and you require some general advice on what to expect, and in particular for a better understanding of what length of disqualification you are likely to receive at court and what fine you may receive, simply call us to discuss the matter.
Please contact us in London (West Drayton) on 01895 449288 or in Hertfordshire (St Albans) on 01727 840900 or by email via our contact page.