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Drinking Banning Orders (DBOs)
Sections 1 - 14 Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006

Principles

A drinking banning order (DBO) is a civil order which is used to address an individual's alcohol misuse behaviour, and protect others and their property from such behaviour by imposing 'any prohibition ... which is necessary for the purpose of protecting other persons from criminal or disorderly conduct by the subject while he is under the influence of alcohol' (section 1 Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 [VCRA 2006]).

The DBO has been replaced by the Criminal Behaviour Order, which came into force on 20th October 2014 (sectiion 22-33 Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014). Separate guidance has been published about the Criminal Behaviour Order. 

Circumstances in which a DBO may be imposed

On Application

The police or a local authority may apply to the magistrates' court (civil jurisdiction) for a DBO on application if they are satisfied that the following conditions are met:

  • that the individual is aged 16 or over;
  • that the individual has, after the commencement of this section (31 August 2009), engaged in criminal or disorderly conduct while under the influence of alcohol; and that
  • such an order is necessary to protect other persons from further conduct by him of that kind while he is under the influence of alcohol.

The police or a local authority may also apply to the County Court for a DBO if the above criteria are met and a party to County Court proceedings is an individual in relation to whom it would be reasonable for it to make an application for a DBO.

Following a Conviction

Where:

(a) an individual aged 16 or over is convicted of an offence (the "offender"); and
(b) at the time he committed the offence, he was under the influence of alcohol,

the court must consider whether the following conditions are satisfied in relation to the offender:

(a) that the individual has, after the commencement of this section, engaged in criminal or disorderly conduct while under the influence of alcohol; and
(b) that such an order [DBO] is necessary to protect other persons from further conduct by him of that kind while he is under the influence of alcohol.

If the court considers that the conditions are met, it may make a DBO against him.

If the court decides that the conditions are satisfied in relation to the offender, but does not make a DBO, it must give its reasons for not doing so in open court.

If the court decides that the conditions are not satisfied in relation to the offender, it must state that fact in open court and give its reasons.

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Circumstances in which a DBO may not be appropriate

DBOs on application and conviction may not be appropriate in the following circumstances:

  • a ban of more than 2 years is needed
  • behaviour is related to attendance at a football match
  • the individual is subject to proceedings related to domestic violence or to non-molestation proceedings
  • an individual is vulnerable and suffering from drug or alcohol dependency, or mental health problems or
  • an individual's offending behaviour is solely related to drug use.

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Prohibitions

The prohibitions imposed by a DBO must include such prohibitions as the court making it considers necessary, for the purpose of protecting other persons from criminal or disorderly conduct by the subject, while he is under the influence of alcohol, on the subject's entering:

(a) premises in respect of which there is a premises licence authorising the use of the premises for the sale of alcohol by retail; and
(b) premises in respect of which there is a club premises certificate authorising the use of the premises for the supply of alcohol to members or guests.

Prohibitions could include, where both necessary and proportionate:

  • exclusion from an individual set of licensed premises or a number of licensed premises;
  • exclusion from consuming alcohol in public places. What 'public places' means will need to be carefully explained in the DBO. For example, it could be any place to which the public has access (whether as of right or by express or implied permission). It could also include places to which the person gains unlawful access;
  • exclusion from all licensed premises in a geographically defined area such as a street or town centre; and
  • exclusion from purchasing alcohol in a particular set of licensed premises or a number of licensed premises or any licensed premises in England and Wales.

A drinking banning order may not impose a prohibition on the subject that prevents him from:

(a) having access to a place where he resides;
(b) attending at any place which he is required to attend for the purposes of any employment of his or of any contract of services to which he is a party;
(c) attending at any place which he is expected to attend during the period for which the order has effect for the purposes of education or training or for the purpose of receiving medical treatment; or
(d) attending at any place which he is required to attend by any obligation imposed on him by or under an enactment or by the order of a court or tribunal.

Prohibitions should not be sought that could prevent an individual from being able to attend their normal place of worship (or, for example, taking wine as part of a religious service). Nor should they prevent individuals from meeting the need to fulfil any special dietary or medical requirements.

It should be noted that a prohibition on entering all licensed premises within a specific area would result in the individual being banned from entering all premises that hold a premises licence. This would include supermarkets, convenience stores, cinemas and other outlets that have a licence to sell alcohol.

Instead of banning the individual from named licensed premises, it may in some circumstances be preferable to ban them from specific streets or, should the circumstances warrant it, banning them from purchasing alcohol within a specific area.

Prohibitions should not be sought to ban individuals completely from entering supermarkets that sell alcohol (or other food outlets that sell alcohol), or garages that have a licence to sell alcohol, unless this proves to be absolutely necessary given the circumstances of a particular case. Factors to take into account if proposing such a ban would be whether such premises would be the only convenient and easily accessible food or fuel outlets within a locality to which the individual would have access to buy food or fuel.

When considering what prohibitions might be appropriate, relevant authorities and prosecutors at sentencing hearings will need to take into account the issue of possible displacement of alcohol-related problems from one area to another. If a small geographical area is considered as part of a DBO prohibition, the relevant authority will need to consider the possible effect on the surrounding areas. In some cases, it might be both necessary and proportionate to include a larger geographical area in order to take account of the risks of displacing the problem.

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Positive Requirements

A DBO may include provision for:

(a) the order, or
(b) a prohibition contained in it,

to cease to have effect before the end of the specified period or the prohibition period if the subject satisfactorily completes an approved course specified in the order.

Recipients of a DBO can be referred to an approved course aimed at addressing their alcohol misuse behaviour. The court will take the decision as to whether or not to refer an individual and to the length of the reduction in their banning order (if successfully completed).

A list of approved course providers can be found at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs/alcohol/drinking-banning-orders/DBO-approved-courses/

The court must fix the time at which the order or the prohibition will cease to have effect if the subject satisfactorily completes the specified approved course as whichever is the later of the time:

(a) specified in the order [a time after the expiry of at least half the specified period or (as the case may be) the prohibition period] and
(b) when he does satisfactorily complete that course.

The court may only make provision for the DBO or a prohibition contained in it to cease to have effect following completion of an approved course if the:

(a) court making the order is satisfied that a place on the specified approved course will be available for the subject; and
(b) subject has agreed to the inclusion of the provision in question in the order.

Before making such provision, the court must inform the subject in ordinary language (whether in writing or otherwise) about:

(a) the effect of including the provision in the order
(b) what, in general terms, attendance on the course will involve if he undertakes it
(c) any fees he will be required to pay for the course if he undertakes it and
(d) when he will have to pay any such fees.

Where a court makes a DBO which does not include such provision, it must give its reasons for not including such provision in open court.  

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Duration

A DBO has effect for a period specified in the order ('the specified period'), which must be not less than 2 months and not more than 2 years.

A DBO may include provision for the order, or a prohibition contained in it, to cease to have effect before the end of the specified period or the prohibition period if the subject satisfactorily completes the approved course specified in the order (see Positive Requirements).

Different prohibitions within a DBO can take effect for different periods within the overall period of the DBO, subject to the requirement that each prohibition is no less than 2 months and no more than two years.

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Procedure

While it is for the court to decide whether or not it is going to make a DBO, the prosecution will need to decide whether to represent that a DBO should be made as an ancillary order upon conviction, and if so whether to present further evidence in support.

The procedures to be followed are set out in Part 50 of the Criminal Procedure Rules (CPR) (civil behaviour orders after verdict or finding):

http://www.justice.gov.uk/criminal/procrules_fin/contents/rules/part_50.htm

For the purpose of deciding whether to make a drinking banning order following a conviction, the court may consider evidence led by the prosecution and evidence led by the defence. It is immaterial whether the evidence would have been admissible in the proceedings in which the offender was convicted.

If the prosecution wants the court to take account of any particular evidence before making that decision, then pursuant to Rule 50.4 CPR it must:

a. serve notice in writing on -

i. the court officer, and
ii. every other party,

as soon as practicable (without waiting for the verdict); and

b. in that notice identify that evidence and attach any written statement that has not already been served.

If any additional evidence contains hearsay, then the procedures in Rules 50.6-50.9 CPR are applicable.

The court may adjourn any proceedings in relation to a DBO following conviction even after sentencing the offender. Where the offender does not appear for any adjourned proceedings, the court may further adjourn proceedings or consider issuing a warrant for the defendant's arrest. A DBO on conviction can not be made in the absence of the individual.

It is a matter for the courts to determine whether the offence was committed by the individual while they were under the influence of alcohol, based on the circumstances of each individual case.

Where the court decides not to impose a DBO in relevant cases it must give its reasons in open court.

A DBO granted following conviction takes effect on the day on which it is made or, if the offender is in custody at that time, the day on which he is released from custody.

A drinking banning order imposed following a conviction must not be made except:

(a) in addition to a sentence imposed in respect of the offence; or
(b) in addition to an order discharging the offender conditionally.

In relation to proceedings in which a drinking banning order is made following a conviction against a young person, in so far as the proceedings relate to the making of the order:

(a) section 49 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (c. 12) (restrictions on reports of proceedings in which children and young persons are concerned) does not apply in respect of the young person against whom the order is made; and
(b) section 39 of that Act (power to prohibit publication of certain matters) does so apply.

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Interim DBOs

Where either an application is made for a DBO or where the court is required to consider whether the conditions for making a DBO following a conviction are satisfied, then before:

(a) determining the application, or
(b) considering whether the conditions are satisfied,

the court may make an interim order if it considers that it is just to do so.

An interim order:

(a) may contain any provision that may be contained in a DBO; but
(b) has effect, unless renewed, only for such fixed period of not more than four weeks as may be specified in the order.

An interim order:

(a) may be renewed (on one or more occasions) for a period of not more than four weeks from the end of the period when it would otherwise cease to have effect;
(b) must cease to have effect (if it has not previously done so) on either the determination of the application or on the court's making its decision whether to make a DBO following the conviction (whichever is relevant in the circumstances).

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Variation or discharge

An application may be made to the court which made the order by the subject, the DPP or a relevant authority for it to be varied or discharged by a further order by either the subject or the relevant authority on whose application the order was made.

An order may not be varied so as to extend the specified period to more than 2 years.

No order made following a conviction may be discharged unless it is discharged from a time after the end of the period that is half the duration of the specified period unless the DPP has consented to its earlier discharge.

Rules governing variation and discharge applications in respect of a DBO made following a conviction are set out in Rule 50.5 CPR   

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Appeals

An appeal lies to the Crown Court against the making by a magistrates' court of a drinking banning order made following an application or following a conviction.

On such an appeal the Crown Court may:

(a) make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to its determination of the appeal;
(b) also make such incidental or consequential orders as appear to it to be just.

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Breach of a DBO

A person commits an offence pursuant to section 11 of the VCRA if, without reasonable excuse, she or he does, anything that she or he is prohibited from doing by the DBO (including an interim DBO).

The offence is summary only and is punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding level 4. It is not open to the court by or before which he is convicted to impose a conditional discharge.

Paragraph 4.12b) of the Code for Crown Prosecutors concerns the level of culpability of the suspect.  The greater the suspect's level of culpability, the more likely it is that a prosecution will be required.  Culpability is likely to be determined by a number of factors, including the fact that the suspect is alleged to have committed the offence whilst subject to a court order.

In relation to proceedings brought against a young person for breach of a DBO:

(a) section 49 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 (restrictions on reports of proceedings in which children and young persons are concerned) does not apply in respect of the young person against whom the proceedings are brought; and
(b) section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (c. 23) (power to restrict reporting on criminal proceedings involving persons under 18) does so apply.

If, in relation to any such proceedings, the court does exercise its power to give a direction under section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, it must give its reasons for doing so.

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