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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about policing or the law? You may be able to find the answer here.

Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.

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Depending on the amount of alcohol you consumed you could still be over the limit the following morning, even afternoon. Even if you feel fine and 'sober' it does not mean that you are not still over the legal limit.

There is no definitive answer as to when you would be under the legal limit as it depends on a lot of factors. Your body size and other factors in your genetic makeup affect this.

As a very rough guide for a healthy adult, ignoring the first hour you should deduct an hour for each unit of alcohol you consume. A unit is half a pint of normal strength lager/beer, a single measure of spirits or a standard glass of wine.

This is not a rule that should be relied upon but a warning as to how long alcohol can linger in your system and the possible consequences of driving the following day.

If you eat a meal whilst consuming alcohol this does help to soak up the alcohol and release it at a much slower rate (but eating much later after an evening of heavy drinking does not generally help).

However, lack of sleep and feeling unwell can affect your driving and there are other offences that you could commit if you drive after a heavy night out even if you are not over the limit.

You can purchase breathalysers but we cannot recommend any brand or comment on how reliable they are.

If you are stopped the day after and are over the limit, you are classed as a drink driver and will face the same penalties. Ignorance of the alcohol level in your system is no defence.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.