Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Will Scottish drink-drive bans apply in England?

Click to enlarge chart.
On 1 June I wrote: "The Pub Curmudgeon has recently made an interesting point. If you lose your licence on a visit to Scotland because you have, say 65mg (illegal in Scotland, but not in the rest of the UK), you would not be able to drive on English roads even though you had not broken any drink-drive laws that apply in England. Logically, a ban imposed in Scotland for any level below 80mg should apply to Scottish roads only."

I put this question to the Department for Transport, and yesterday, after 23 days, sent them another e-mail stating that they had failed to meet their 20-day target for answers. To be fair, I've received a reply today:

"It is not a matter that the Department for Transport can answer so we have contacted the Scottish Government to see if they can provide the answer. They are not able to respond but have suggested that it is a matter that the Crown Prosecution Service can respond to and so it was sent to CPS on the 20 June. We have not received confirmation from them that they can provide an answer but hope to hear from them in the next couple of days."

I replied that I didn't see how the Scottish Government could adjudicate whether their ban for 50-80mg drink-driving would apply in the rest of the UK, seeing that their jurisdiction is confined to Scotland. I had thought they'd have had an answer ready to send to me - after all, we've had devolution now for 13 years - so I'm quite surprised it has caused this amount of confusion and activity. Still, I'll keep plugging at it and keep you posted.


  1. What happens if you are caught above the 50mg while driving say in France. Obviously you are fined and banned from driving in France, but does that driving ban apply in this country? If it doesn't, then the proposed lowering of the limit in Scotland shouldn't either.

  2. I don't claim to be an expert, but this is my opinion: such a ban in France would apply here. However, Scotland is part of the same nation state (the UK) as England, and Scottish law does not have the same status as the national statutes of EU member states, because Scotland is not an EU member state - the UK is - therefore its laws should apply only to Scotland. We'll see whether my view is correct.

    1. I had caught in Scotland with 0,67.....ok after trials...banned 1 year in Scotland and 1000 fine....the judge says twice i am,banned in Scotland....so....?!

    2. After writing this, I found that a ban in Scotland also applies in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, even if the amount you were over by Scottish rules was legal elsewhere in the UK.

  3. I think you'll find it applies in England Nev. Scots Law has equal status in the UK. It's jurisdiction applies equally too where an offence is committed in Scotland. Think of that News of the World guy that was arreated in London by Strathclyde Police and carted off to Glasgow to be charged with perjury.

    This is a point of practical application, not jurisidiction I opine, so goodness knows the actual outcome.

    As an aside, I remember once attending a court hearing in the Isle of Man where there was a debate whether an endorsement as a result of speeding could be applied to Jersey Driving Licence. The court clerk said it could, but I did wonder if that was correct.

  4. It may turn out you're right, Tandleman, but it's obviously not a clear cut issue, otherwise my enquiry wouldn't be subject to this paper chase. If I've got the Sir Humphreys confused - good!

  5. I don't believe drink-driving bans given to British citizens in other EU countries apply in the UK. Licence points certainly don't. To take an admittedly extreme example, would it be fair to put someone on the sex offenders' register for committing adultery in Saudi Arabia? Very much illegal there, certainly not here.

  6. Saudi Arabia wasn't in the EU last time I checked.

    Is the UK the only EU state where there are different drink driving limits depending on where you are?

  7. Is the UK the only EU state where there are different drink driving limits depending on where you are?
    This is not the case in the UK at present, of course. In the past, the US had different limits in different states, although I think they have pretty much standardised now at 80mg. Many were previously 100mg. I don't know off the top of my head to what extent driving penalties apply across different States.

  8. To Lewis Marshall and your pathetic law firm:

    I will delete your advert every time it appears, so don't bother.

    I don't approve of people driving over the limit, and I disapprove even more strongly of lawyers who nothing better to do than find legal technicalities to put unsafe drivers back on the road.

    I hope that's clear.

  9. Just returned from a hol in Scotland and pondered this question, is there any clarity now ? can't believe I could be banned in England N.Ireland, Wales and Cornwall (!) for driving with an amount of alcohol legal in these parts

  10. It has been made quite clear to me, although it took me some time and trouble to get an answer from the government: if you lose your licence in Scotland for an amount of alcohol that is legal elsewhere in the UK, you lose it for the whole UK.

  11. The lunatics have taken over the asylum


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