What is Drunk in Charge?
The offence of being drunk in charge is most commonly used in circumstances when you are found parked in your vehicle, with the keys in your possession while in excess of the drinking and driving limit.
It is not unusual for people to choose to sleep in their cars in preference to driving after consuming too much alcohol, but this is fraught with difficulties, because if you have the keys on you, you are technically in charge of the vehicle and therefore guilty of the offence.
If you don’t have the keys then it is not an offence however.
Possible Drunk in Charge Defence
You can defend a drunk in charge accusation if you can demonstrate to the court that you were not going to drive anywhere until your alcohol level had dropped below the legal limit.
To do this you will require a report from a pharmacologist to show how long that period of time would have been.
The penalty for being drunk in charge is 10 penalty points on your licence but magistrates also have the power to impose a discretionary ban if it is deemed appropriate.
While it is always better to sleep in your car in preference to driving, doing so can also potentially cost you your licence.
If you do not have your car keys in your possession then you are deemed safe to do so.