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Drink Driving: What Is The Hip Flask Defence?

If you’ve been charged with drink driving, you may think that you have no option but to plead guilty, as you were over the alcohol limit when you were breathalysed.

However, there are several drink driving defences that can be used successfully under UK law.

These include faulty breathalysers, procedural issues, and the dispute that the incident occurred on private premises (as you can only be found guilty of drink driving if you were on a public road at the time).

One of the less frequently used arguments is colloquially known as the ‘hip flask defence’. In this blog, we discuss how this drink driving defence works and when it can be used effectively.

Hip Flask Defence Definition

The hip flask defence is defined as drinking alcohol after driving, but before you were asked to provide a sample of breath, urine, or blood.

If you were not over the alcohol limit whilst driving a vehicle, but you were by the time the police arrived, this is usually the best drink driving defence to use.

Hip Flask Defence Example

Imagine you’re driving along a country lane at night. You take a corner a little too sharply, or perhaps you hit some standing water. Your car spins out of control and hits a tree. Thankfully, you’re unharmed, and no other vehicles were involved. Feeling rather shaken up, you call the emergency services.

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You have a bottle of whisky in your car, which you purchased earlier, with the intention of consuming a glass or two when you arrived home. As the incident has, understandably, left you feeling on edge, you take a few sips whilst you wait for the police to arrive.

It’s standard for the police to breathalyse the driver when attending an incident such as this. They inform you that you’re over the legal alcohol limit, but you know you hadn’t had anything alcoholic to drink before you got into the car.

This is a classic instance of where the hip flask defence can be used successfully.

Another example is if you were allegedly seen driving erratically, but had not consumed any alcohol. You got home and had a couple of drinks. The police knocked on your door and asked to breathalyse you. The results may show that you were over the legal drink drive limit, but you know that you didn’t have a drink until you arrived home.

Hip Flask Defence Law

UK law states that the hip flask defence can be used if the person accused of drink driving can prove that:

  • They consumed alcohol before providing the specimen of breath, blood, or urine, and after the time of the alleged offence; and
  • After they were no longer driving, attempting to drive, or in charge of a vehicle in a public place; and
  • If they had not had a drink after driving, the amount of alcohol in their system would not have exceeded the drink drive limit.

Drink Driving Solicitors

If you’ve been charged with drink driving, it’s vital that you get in touch with specialist drink driving solicitors as soon as possible.

MAJ Law have years of experience in successfully defending drink driving charges. They specialise in motoring law and can provide you with expert representation throughout your case.

For more information on possible drink driving defences, including the hip flask defence, contact their knowledgeable team today. You can give them a call on 0151 422 8020 or send them a message using the contact form on their website.

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