A law firm is warning of the “devastating consequences” of getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol over the festive period – as Thames Valley Police launches its anti-drive drive campaign.

Thames Valley Police has joined forces with Hampshire Constabulary to launch Operation Holly in a bid to deter and catch drink-drivers during December.

As the campaign marked its official launch on December 1 to coincide with the nationwide police anti-drink drive campaign, Daniel Martin, head of criminal defence at High Wycombe-based firm Blaser Mills Law, has warned of the shocking consequences of drink driving convictions.

Mr Martin said: “During the month of December, motorists should expect to see more police cars and traffic officers on the road so should be alive to the dangers of getting behind the wheel after indulging in festive cheer at office Christmas parties or holiday get-togethers.”

Serious long-term consequences of drink driving convictions

Mr Martin, who regularly represents clients charged with motoring offences, advises: “While drink-driving may not seem particularly serious when viewed against other criminal offences that are reported in the news, what is not often understood is the real impact that these types of convictions can have.

“A driving disqualification often leads to loss of employment, which in turn can have severe consequences.

“Whether it is loss of accommodation as bills cannot be paid, the impact upon family life and children, or the breakdown of a relationship, the long-term impact of a drink driving conviction can be devastating.

“Convictions, however minor, can also lead to problems with employability because employers are increasingly sensitive to Disclosure and Barring Service testing.

“The financial costs will also continue to be felt for many years, as insurance premiums will be greatly increased.

“There is also the obvious impact on a person’s employability in regulated areas, which can significantly limit future earnings.”

What is a safe level of drinking if I want to drive?

Mr Martin said: “Urban myths such as ‘two pints are okay’ have long since been disproved, as have guesses as to how long it takes alcohol to leave the body.

“The simple science is that everybody’s physiology is different and the rates of alcohol absorption depend on a number of different factors.

“We will often need to instruct an expert toxicologist in order to accurately calculate likely alcohol absorption in cases where someone has consumed alcohol after having driven, but before being arrested.

“If it takes an individual with a medical degree and years of experience to get an accurate picture, then the average person stands very little chance of being able to judge how close to the limit they are after drinking.

“We can also investigate issues such as ‘laced drinks’ and ‘special reasons’ and advise you on the prospects of successfully defending cases of post-driving consumption.”