Top prosecutor sets out six key facts about alcohol and the law


Martin Goldman, Chief Crown Prosecutor, CPS Yorkshire and Humberside warns about the potential legal consequences of excessive alcohol consumption.

  1. If you're under the influence of drink or drugs the chances of committing a much more serious offence are dramatically increased.
  2. If there is evidence that alcohol or drugs have been involved in any crime,  you'e very likely to be facing a steeper sentence if you're convicted.
  3. The results of a drink drive conviction can be severe. There are a range of sentencing options, from  prison, to community orders, fines and driving bans. As well as having a criminal record and increased insurance premiums, a driving ban can have a significant impact on your life especially if you rely on driving to do your job.
  4. A conviction for causing death by dangerous or careless driving where drink or drugs have been taken by the driver will almost always result in a prison sentence.
  5. The maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving or causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs is 14 years. The maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving alone is five years in prison.
  6. About a million criminal cases a year - between 40% and 50% of all violent crime - is alcohol related.

Martin Goldman, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Yorkshire and Humberside said: "We all want to have a relaxing holiday and a Merry Christmas. We're not saying that people shouldn't enjoy themselves.


"Happily, the majority of drinkers drink responsibly and do not engage in criminal behaviour. But for those who do, it's an unfortunate but inescapable fact that alcohol and crime can go hand in hand.


"At the CPS we know only too well the catastrophic consequences to victims that can be caused, for example, by drink driving. Over the years, we have seen many tragic cases in Yorkshire and Humberside where drink driving has led to a death or really serious injury. The impact on victims and their families lasts a lifetime and is always devastating.


"The relationship between alcohol and other types of crime such as domestic violence, assault, sexual assault, murder and manslaughter is also clear. In over twenty years as a prosecutor, I have, sadly, heard enough to know that alcohol is very often a factor in many of the cases we put before the courts.


"Nobody wants to see another shattered life or family ripped apart. Drinking to excess could lead to a criminal conviction, with all the emotional and practical costs that entails. So please, enjoy yourselves, but drink responsibly this Christmas."