The rules on sentencing for drink driving

When Ant McPartlin was sentenced for drink driving, a lot of people were asking why he received the penalty that he did.

Well the answer is that the Magistrates follow national Sentencing Guidelines to help a court to decide what penalty a person should face for an offence. There is a “range” of penalties for most types of offences.

In Ant’s case, two readings would have been taken from him to find out the level of alcohol in his blood at the time that he was stopped. The limit is 35 units and only the lower of the readings is used. Ant’s lower reading was 75 in breath, the Sentencing Guidelines say that for this reading, a first time offender pleading not guilty would be sentenced a fine or a community order.

So why did he not receive a community order ?
Well there were 4 aggravating factors and 3 mitigating factors in relation to Ant’s case. The court took into account the fact that Ant entered a guilty plea at the first time of asking, which always reduces the sentence. That is why the Court imposed a fine, rather than a community order. The amount of the fine that Ant had to pay is calculated as a straight proportion of his weekly income.

One question that we have been asked, is why did Ant have to give information about his income. The answer to this is very straightforward – it is a criminal offence to refuse or to provide false information.

Of course, Ant was also disqualified from driving for 20 months. This is lower than expected because the Court offered him a rehabilitation course, which reduces his ban by 25%.