Newbie Question on Wildcamping & Drinking

Discussion in 'Wild Camping' started by Janeyjane, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. Janeyjane

    Janeyjane Deleted User

    Hi

    I've read through the posts on this forum and not sure I got the answer to the specific question: if I parked in a car par where local bye-laws prevent sleeping in vans overnight, (but is usually tolerated), and the police came and asked me to move on, but I was over the drink-drive limit, what would happen???

    Jj
     
  2. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Messages:
    15,458
    Likes Received:
    8,598
    Location:
    Ilfracombe, Devon
    you would be charged with being in charge of a motor vehicle whilst intoxicated, unless you could prove you were not about to drive, IE bed made up in PJs keys not in ignition etc (maybe swap keys with another camper on site), but even then it is a public place and counted as a highway so even then still liable to get done. If you drive DONT drink, common sense really. Or if you have a partner, take turns day and day about. providing you are both able and insured to drive. Remember wild camping is illegal in England, even though tolerated in many places. (I always wild camp)
    If you need an excuse not to move on rather than actually having had a drink then the fact that you are too tired to drive safely will usually work. Should the police insist have them sign a document exonerating you from liability in event of an accident caused because you were too tired to drive. they will usually tell you to move on in the morning.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  3. vicdicdoc

    vicdicdoc Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Messages:
    120
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North Wales
    You also leave yourself vulnerable to robbery or worse !
     
  4. Janeyjane

    Janeyjane Deleted User

    For clarification, I never drink and drive, not even a single drink, but as I'm travelling alone that leaves me with a predicament when I'm going to vist some friends in Whitby, (hence I'd like to have a few beers with them). Either I park in a car park 100 yards from where we're meeting, where I expect there will be other motorhomes parked, but have the problem with not being able to move off if the police turn up. Alternatively, I use a camp site a couple of miles up the road, have to get a taxi back, then have to stumble across a field of tents/caravans, presumably in pitch blackness, in the early hours of the morning. As a lone female, the former seems 'safer'.

    Jj
     
  5. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Messages:
    15,458
    Likes Received:
    8,598
    Location:
    Ilfracombe, Devon
    I did not for one minute suggest that you did drink and drive, being in charge of a vehicle whilst under the influence of drink is considered the same in the eyes of the law and that is what I was trying to alert you to. No offence intended. Why not leave the van in the car park and crash with friends, no problem then is there.
     
  6. Janeyjane

    Janeyjane Deleted User

    No offence taken. But the whole idea of having a van was to have slightly more home comforts than crashing on friends' floors/sofas!!

    Jj
     
  7. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Messages:
    15,458
    Likes Received:
    8,598
    Location:
    Ilfracombe, Devon
    normally having the home comforts would apply but in this case it could pose a problem. How about leaving the ignition key with the landlord of the public house where you are meeting so you can collect it the next day, he then technically would be in charge of the vehicle. worth a try. Phone in advance and ask, you may even be able to park in the pubs carpark overnight with his permission and legally.
     
  8. paulejw

    paulejw Deleted User

    Hope helpful

    1) The Police cannot ask you to commit a criminal offense.

    2) However if you cannot move the vehicle and that vehicle is illegally parked then they can take the prescribed action.

    3) Maybe you should consider a camp site.

    4) You may find that if you put the key in the ignition or they consider that you are going to drive the vehicle still breathalyse you. I would suggest that drinking alcohol in a motorhome (being a vehicle) is a Big NO NO.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2008
  9. paulejw

    paulejw Deleted User

    WildMan said - wild camping is illegal in England - is it.

    I'm interested that you say Wild Camping is illegal. Can you please quote me the exact law; I would be interested to read it.

    I'm not saying your wrong I'm just interested in having the exact law on this.

    Best Regards

    Paul
     
  10. Janeyjane

    Janeyjane Deleted User

    The pub is in the centre of Whitby so doesn't have any parking, unfortunately.

    Jj
     
  11. ourcampersbeentrashed

    ourcampersbeentrashed Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    7,652
    Likes Received:
    4,284
    Location:
    East London
    Hi Janey, have a look at the thread in the motorhome chat forum headed Drink dont drive or something like that, I think its on page 2 or 3 of that forum.

    The road traffic act clearly states:

    “5.- (1) If a person-

    drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place,
    or
    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.”


    There are many defences against being "Drunk in charge" and any person who is accused of being in charge of a motor vehicle while unfit through drink or drugs will have a defence to the charge if he can show that at the time of the offence there was no likelihood of his driving the motor vehicle. The court will look at various factors to decide whether this was the case or not, including whether the keys were in the ignition, whether the car was running etc. These do not conclusively prove that the person was in charge of the vehicle for the purposes of the law, because the intention to drive must be proven according to the facts.


    Here is a tip

    If you are staying overnight at e.g a pub car park - lock the ignition keys away in the safe in your mh. That way if approached by the police, you only have the door entry keys to your motorhome on you, therefore you are using it as a home rather than a vehicle at that time.

    I dont know whether they still do it, but some landlords used to look after vehicle keys if asked. If the landlord has the ignition keys (presuming you trust him/her) again you are using the "home bit" as opposed to the "motorbit".

    Hope this helps
     
  12. Detourer

    Detourer Trader - Tour Operator

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Messages:
    223
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Spain and Morocco
    This is absolutely true……I was there!

    Out with friends last week………His wife was in the usual state after meal, wine, gin etc…..he as arranged didn’t drink as was driving……

    2.30am and we left for home and met the regular Guardia roadblock on the road out of Alhaurin El Grande…..I was in my car following, they know me and waived me past. I waited along road for 10 mins until my mate came along with the WIFE driving……He got back into driving seat and we carried on with tears of laughter…….Why…..

    Papers, said the Guardia officer………..
    Whoops…I have left them at home said mate…….
    No driving said officer………
    But I live miles away…….
    No driving……….
    She drive car said officer…….
    But she is pi##ed etc etc etc
    She drive said officer……….

    They swapped drivers and did the 500 mtrs ‘till out off sight.

    Now there could have been a bit of “lost in translation” but…………

    Spain………….I love it!!!!!!!

    ..
     
  13. Janeyjane

    Janeyjane Deleted User

    Hi

    I appreciate the efforts and those are good tips. I guess my 'angle' was, if I refuse to move on immediately, when asked by the police, because I would be committing a drink-driving offence by so doing, what's the come back? That seems to be, worst case, being held to be 'drunk in charge'. I realise there are side issues of making it clear that you have no intention of driving, by having the bed made up, ignition keys hidden/elsewhere etc, and sweet-talking that can be done about how tired you are and not safe to drive, but, what's are the risks if the police don't 'buy' the excuses? If you've left the ignition key with somebody else, is it then just a parking offence? Could they tow my motorhome away?

    I read up the actual legislation this afternoon and it says, if requested, you must move on 'as soon as practicable'. In my naive mind, I'd like to think that being drunk and obviously having no intention of driving would lead to an interpretation of 'as soon as practicable' as being when sober. I can see that, as the legislation was passed, for example, to prevent protesters congregating, that it might be perceived as a poor excuse, so unlikely to get much sympathy with the police :-( But then again, where I want to stop is a seaside town and motorhomes stopping overnight is common, so presumably the police will have heard it all before?

    I think I'd have been prepared to 'risk' getting a parking ticket, if that was worst case, but can't afford to jeopardise my driving license :-(

    Guess it's back to plan B - I'll just have to find a campsite where I can get a plot near the entrance and get a taxi back at the end of the night.

    Jj
     
  14. ourcampersbeentrashed

    ourcampersbeentrashed Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2008
    Messages:
    7,652
    Likes Received:
    4,284
    Location:
    East London

    You need to put it all into context and stop worrying so much. Police Officers are ordinary human beings after all and most have some common sense and can tell for example between people deliberately being obstructive and refusing to move on and those with genuine reason.

    A police officer cannot by law ask a person to commit an offence, so if you were over the limit and asked to move on, you have to refuse and explain that by following his/her instructions you would be breaking the law. Police can also usually tell the difference between motorhome funsters and travellers. Police can also with a qualified police driver, move your vehicle for you. e.g if there was a fire in the pub and you were drunk and couldnt drive the motorhome to safety, they could do that for you.

    Providing you are legally parked and not causing any obstruction, there would be no reason for anyone to tow your vehicle or issue you with a fine.

    Seriously go and enjoy yourself and stop worrying. In the unlikely event that you are asked to move on, be polite explain the situation and get the police to work with you towards a mutually agreeable solution.

    Good luck and go have fun
     
  15. Janeyjane

    Janeyjane Deleted User

    LOL, I know, I know...... :)

    Should get my van later this week and then hopefully I'll be spending more time 'doing' and less time 'agonising'!! :)

    Jj
     
  16. Sunty

    Sunty Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Preston
    Wild camping is illegal in England! what rubbish!

    I cannot imagine where anyone gets the idea that wild camping is illegal in England. A motorhome is a vehicle which is subject to all the same legislation as any other vehicle and can then be driven and parked legally on a road or other public place. Vehicles can be driven or parked on roads and parking places unless prohibited by legislation (including bye-laws) I regularly park my car on the road in dozens of places and invariably leave it overnight - my campervan is no different; the fact that I sleep in it makes no difference whatsoever. Having spent over 30 years as a police officer including several years training traffic officers I believe that if motorhomes are parked with consideratrion for others and within appropriate legislation the police will not be interested. Consuming alcohol whilst parked is down to a question of the police believing (from appropriate signs and circumstances) that you have no intention of driving whilst still under the influence of alcohol; excellent comments and advice has been offered in this thread but there is no single piece of advice which would automatically preclude prosecution. This includes parking on roads or places to which the public have right of access. Please be careful!
    Sunty.
     
  17. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    27,232
    Likes Received:
    34,420
    Location:
    Acklam, Teesside, originally Glossop
    I did some checking a few months ago to try and find out for definite about the legality or otherwise of sleeping overnight in a vehicle parked on a public road.

    The results are published Here.

    Basically it echoes what Sunty says. There is no national legislation preventing it but there may be local by-laws.

    Graham
     
  18. estcres

    estcres Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    1,301
    Likes Received:
    766
    Location:
    Sunny Bournemouth
    Hi there,

    Regarding the drink drive question, has anyone seen the August edition of Practical Motorhome, arrived on my doorstep in this mornings post. very interesting article on page 21/22.

    Basicall. a person is considered to be in charge of a motorised vehicle at any time and in any place including a caravan site which admits members of the public, technically, any person who is discovered to be over the drink drive limit can be charged with an offence.
    However, a degree of commen sense should prevail.

    I am not here to promote Practical Motorhome or any other publication but I think this article would help a lot of funsters.
     
  19. duetto owner

    duetto owner Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    Messages:
    216
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    north surrey
    If a policeman makes you drive on knowing you might be over the limit he is aiding and abeting the same offence and liable to the same penalty as the driver.
     
  20. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    27,232
    Likes Received:
    34,420
    Location:
    Acklam, Teesside, originally Glossop
    Surely the sensible thing - wherever one is parked/pitched - is to make sure that at least one occupant of the van is fit to drive.

    Works for me - I drink, Jill drives :Laughing:

    Graham
     

Share This Page