With an increase in people choosing staycations since the start of the pandemic, motorhomes have become far more popular than ever before in the UK.
There’s nothing quite like pitching up your motorhome and treating yourself to a cold beer or two. But it’s important to know that since a motorhome is a vehicle (unlike a touring caravan, which requires towing) it’s easier to be prosecuted for being drunk in charge of a motorhome than you might think.
In this blog, we’ll talk you through the things you need to be aware of if you’re planning on drinking alcohol whilst in your motorhome.
Drunk in charge of a motorhome
Being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle is an offence that you can only be charged with if you’re parked in a public place, but this can be a rather grey area.
The term ‘public place’ generally encompasses anywhere that the general public has access to. So, a private campsite is not a public place, but a pub car park after hours could be open to interpretation.
Obviously, any road is a public place, so if you’re parked up on any road it’s advised not to consume any alcohol, even if you have no intention of going anywhere.
It’s difficult for any court to prove that you were drunk whilst ‘in charge’ of a motorhome. Simply having alcohol on your breath or in your blood whilst in your motorhome isn’t enough to put you on the wrong side of the law. However, if you’re sitting in the driving seat, fully clothed, with the keys in the ignition, you’re going to be on shaky ground.
Therefore, if the place you’re planning on parking up is one that is open to interpretation (as in the case of a pub car park) then you should ensure that you don’t look as though you have any intention of driving.
Deploy any levelling struts and rotate the seats if your motorhome has these features. Put your keys away in a drawer, take your shoes off and maybe even put your pyjamas on, too.
You should also ensure that your motorhome isn’t causing an obstruction. If you’re asked to move it, even a short distance, you could be found guilty of drink driving.
Drunk in charge of a motorhome sentence
If you are found guilty of being drunk in charge of a motorhome, the drink driving sentencing guidelines are the same as if you were drunk in charge of any other vehicle. The minimum penalty is 10 points on your driving licence, with fines of up to £2,500 often imposed.
You could face a driving ban if you already have points on your licence. Also, if your blood alcohol reading is particularly high when you are found to be drunk in charge of a motorhome, you could be imprisoned for up to three months.
Speak with expert motoring defence solicitors
As the penalties for being drunk in charge of a motorhome are so severe, it’s essential that you seek expert legal representation as soon as possible.
As the UK’s leading motoring defence solicitors, we specialise in drink driving and drunk in charge cases here at MAJ Law. If you’ve been charged with being drunk in charge of any vehicle, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our highly experienced team.