Criminal offence ?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Angus dog, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. Angus dog

    Angus dog

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    It is a criminal offence to be in your stationary car with your keys ,whilst over the limit---drunk in charge.Is it an offence to be in your mh,with the keys and over the limit?
     
  2. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    The simple answer I believe is yes.

    But it can get complicated depending on circumstances...

    There are several threads around on this topic...

    JJ :Cool:

     
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  3. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    technically yes its still an offence if you are over the legal limit in a motorhome. its more of an issue if youre in a layby at the side of the road and the police could order you to move on. on a campsite it could be argued the van is no different to a caravan and you have no intention of driving

    personally I think its more of a problem when people have a good drink then drive the next morning. that holiday attitude tends to cloud some peoples judgement and they forget that alcohol stays in the blood for 24hrs and more in some cases. thats why the police will breathalise you if stopped in the morning as well as in the evening.

    locally a woman ran a child over on her way to work and despite her feeling ok and in control she was still way over the drink drive limits. she tried arguing in court that she only had a bottle of wine with dinner the night before so wasnt drunk. didnt do her any good though as she still was found guilty, lost her licence and her job plus a holiday in hmp
     
  4. Campercaillie

    Campercaillie Read Only Funster

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    It is very unlikely that you would be arrested for being drunk in charge of a motorhome... providing of course that you gave no reason for the police to question whether you were. (The bobbies are not going to be knocking on your door WITHOUT reason) You would not be found guilty of the offence providing that you are able to show that you had no intention of driving whilst you were above the prescribed limit.

    (In respect of the previous reply: You can only be "in charge" on a road or in a public place: Camp sites are not "public places.")
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2013
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  5. ourcampersbeentrashed

    ourcampersbeentrashed Funster

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    Yes and No

    Yes it is a criminal offence ONLY IF if the vehicle is in a public place and/or on a road


    The points to prove are

    a) the amount of alcohol in your blood was above the legal limit
    b) that the person was "in charge of a vehicle" ie motorhome in this case
    c) that the vehicle (motorhome) was in a public place and/or on a road
    d) that the vehicle (motorhome) was capable of being driven (see 2 below)

    Myths include

    There is no need for the prosecution to prove that a person was likely to drive whilst unfit or over the limit.

    You can only be prosecuted for being drunk in charge if you are sitting in the driving seat.

    You have to have the keys in your possession to be found guilty of drunk in charge.

    Key points if accused

    It is for the Defendant to prove that there is no prospect of using the vehicle.

    Key considerations when deciding whether you were ‘in charge’ of the vehicle include


    1) your position in relation to the driving area and the keys


    ie if you were in bed and the keys were in a cabinet would be different to being in the drivers area passenger seat with the keys in the ignition.


    Most police are sensible when it comes to motorhomers and knowing whether an offence is being committed or whether the person is just enjoying an evening as they would in their home lounge kitchen.


    Police will look at where the keys were, what you were doing and if there was any evidence that you intended to drive the vehicle.


    As a simple example, if you returned back to a motorhome a little worse for wear and opened the driver or passenger door of the cab, that could easily be construed as drunk in charge and it is highly likely you could be arrested and charged.



    If you returned to a motorhome a little worse for wear but entered via the habitation door most sensible police officers would determine that you were not looking to drive the vehicle.


    2) Drunk in Charge cannot be used if the vehicle is unable to be driven (ie, been clamped including you putting on a wheelclamp, up on bricks, engine removed, starter motor removed etc....) This relates to item (d) in points to prove listed above


    3) Having the keys to a vehicle on your person does not automatically prove drunk in charge.


    As an example a husband and wife could both have a set of keys on them.


    Note - a person can be found guilty of being drunk in charge of a vehicle if it has a "keyless" ignition


    4. consideration needs to be given to all of the circumstances


    The information above is only correct providing Section 5(1)(b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 has not been superceded

    Hope this has been of some help
     
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  6. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

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    i aint got no chance even on a pitch my alcohol stays in my system for around a week :Rofl1:
     
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  7. ShiftZZ

    ShiftZZ Funster Life Member

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    Strange question for a Retired solicitor :Wink:


    The offence of drunk in charge of a vehicle

    Sections 4(2) and 5(1b) Road Traffic Act 1998 deal with the position of being drunk in charge of a vehicle.

    Section 4(2) provides that it is an offence for a person to be in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place when unfit to drive through drink or drugs, whilst section 5(1b) states that “If a person …. is in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in his breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit he is guilty of an offence”

    Defence

    You should note that so far as section 4(2) is concerned, a person is not regarded as being in charge of the vehicle if he or she can prove that, at the material time, the circumstances were such that there was no likelihood of them driving the vehicle for so long as they remained unfit to drive through drink or drugs. However, in order to use this as a defence, you will have to show the court that factors existed which would point to this conclusion being drawn. Thus for example, if the keys were in the ignition or the engine was running it will be more difficult to prove this than if the person had, for example, given the keys to someone else to look after and was simply sitting in the car.

    It is worth bearing in mind that the vehicle does not have to be moving for this offence to have taken place. It is enough that the person was about to drive or had been driving the vehicle.

    What does “in charge” of a vehicle mean

    Whilst there is no precise legal definition of “in charge” usually the court will view you as being “in charge” if you were the owner of the vehicle, or it was in your possession or you had recently driven it. If someone else was driving the vehicle or you were some distance from the vehicle at the appropriate time then you would generally not be regarded as being in charge. However, if the person driving the vehicle held only a provisional licence then you would be regarded as being “in charge”.

    Often it is not clear whether or not you were “in charge” at the relevant time – for example if you were sitting in the car but had no intention of driving it.

    Penalties

    The penalty which you are likely to incur on being found guilty depend upon the precise nature of the conviction and the circumstances surrounding the matter.

    The maximum penalty is a 3 months prison sentence and a fine of either £2,500 or £5,000 depending upon the offence charged. However, if you are convicted you can expect to receive a minimum of 10 Penalty Points with the possibiity of a discretionary driving ban of between 12 and 36 months.


    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/52/contents
     
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  8. ukbill

    ukbill Funster

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    ok so next time im about to pass out in a lay-by i will give my keys to a suspected gas engineer :Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
  9. Campercaillie

    Campercaillie Read Only Funster

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    As can be seen, the law with regard to being "in charge" as with many laws, is anything but straightforward...."Where are the keys ....?" ..."What is a public place...?" etc.etc. :Doh:
    If you fall into the category of a responsible mothorhome owner who partakes in a glass or two of wine at the end of a day's driving, and doesn't drink to excess ...simply FORGET IT!!!
    The most important thing to remember, indeed perhaps the only thing to remember was included in my first post ..... "The bobbies are not going to be knocking on your door WITHOUT reason" .... don't give them one.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2013
  10. cmcardle75

    cmcardle75 Read Only Funster

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    Not normally, provided the motorhome is clearly set up to be stationary (i.e. screen cover on/steadies down) and you're not sitting in the driving seat and it is parked somewhere where it is permitted to stay overnight.

    However, it is still a very bad idea to drink when wild camping on a public road or car park as you may need to move on at short notice. You never know who will turn up later. Doggers/unsavoury types/irate neighbours etc.
     
  11. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    Unless she is very young and very pretty:Rofl1::Rofl1:

    There are a number of misconceptions at to what is a public place, a pub carpark is a public place, what about a campsite, the public have access and are likely to be walking around or are people who frequent caravan sites some other order of life???????????:Rofl1::Rofl1:

    These and other questions will be answered in the next thrilling instalment of retired solicitors and current/ex coppers question time.:RollEyes:
     
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