Drink Driving: The Morning After the Night Before

When it comes to drink driving, many of us would immediately think of the person who, having been to the pub, or a party, gets into their car, and drives home, knowing, or at least being aware that they have had a drink and that they may be over the legal drink drive limit.

But how many of us have ever thought about drink driving the next day? How many of us have had a late night and an early start? On how many of these occasions has the late night involved the drinking of alcohol? Sleeping for a few hours will not mean that all of last night’s drink will have dissipated from the body – and this is exactly the time when we may be caught out under the UK Drink Driving Law. When our alcohol levels remain above the legal limit, even though we stopped driving a few hours earlier?

Whilst awareness of drink driving has meant that far fewer people are getting behind the wheel on their nights out, the number of people risking the severe penalties of drink driving the morning after, is actually rising.


Looking at the limits, you should keep in mind that the legal drink drive limit in Scotland is lower than the rest of the UK, by about a third. That means you can actually consume less alcohol and yet be over the limit. Scotland acted to bring their laws into line with the rest of Europe, whilst the rest of the UK maintained their old levels. Any penalties however, apply nationwide across the UK, regardless of the jurisdiction used to convict you.

The Power of Sleep

We all know that sleep is good for us. But far too many people are assuming that sleep has special powers when it comes to the issue of alcohol. Whilst the effects of alcohol varies between each individual, based on gender, size, food intake and metabolism etc. there are some basics that we should consider when it comes to sleep.

Whether you are ok to drive the next morning depends on the amount of alcohol you consumed and when in the course of the night before you actually drank it. We should look therefore at intake in terms of volume, in terms of timespan and the ability of your body to get rid of it.

Generally, the rule of thumb is that alcohol dissipates from the body at a rate of 1 unit per hour. So if you have had 10 units, it would take 10 hours to get it out from your body. Men tend to be able to process alcohol quicker than women, but size, and metabolism, again come into play.

If for example your night is late and you have had 10 units of alcohol, and then get up 5 hours later for work, chances are pretty strong that you will still be considerably over the UK Drink Driving Legal Limit. At this point, if tested, you would want to consider contracting drink driving solicitors. Penalties include a none discretionary ban, fine and even prison, so their retention makes sense.


You cannot speed up the body to process the alcohol any quicker than you would normally. A cold shower, coffee, or food first thing will not help, other than to make you feel better in yourself. You may feel fit to drive, but you should really think twice about exactly what you had the night before.


Knowing UK Drink Driving Law may not help, but understanding the severity of the penalties might help clarify your decisions. Also, be aware of your actual alcohol intake. Think about what you are drinking and when, and how long it will take before you are no longer affected by the intake of each drink. If you do have an early start, try not to have a late night, or limit your intake of alcohol to less drinks and earlier in the night. If you cannot do this, then make alternative arrangements for the next day.

Always remember that help is there if you need it, from a drink driving Solicitor. But also remember that most people only ever need a Solicitor when they have a problem, and in life it is better to avoid the problem in the first place rather than seek to sort it out after it arises.

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