Drinking in my camper & turned on ignition to charge & heat my diesel heating up as cold . Police caught me with alcohol in my system.

Convicted Driver Insurance

GH GL

Member
Hi I was parked up in my camper van with my mate drinking . We were sitting at front seats listening to music . We decided that I should turn on ignition to charge up my diesel heating for 10 mins . As it was cold . Then turn of ignition to head to sleep . I Lost track of time a little with ignition on & police knocked door . They told me you should not have ignition on while alcohol in system. I told them I was only heating my camper , to go to bed . Wasn’t planning to drive it . My camper wasn’t in gear . Handbrake on . No seatbelt on . My mates car was in front of camper . No plans to attempt to drive it . My mate is a witness too . They told me to go to station . Took a breath test & just failed over the limit . Going to court in 3 weeks . I have a solicitor. Pleading not guilty . What’s the chances of losing my license or, getting a fine & points . I have no convictions or no points on my license. Very worried. As don’t want to sell my camper van that I self built & lose work & more . I live in Glasgow & this happened in drymen, Stirling. Thank you ..
 

GH GL

Member
30 I think . I was pretty shocked on day & felt I could not remember actually but police says your just over limit. Wasn’t planning in driving .
 

price1367

TTC Group
I take it you have been charged with being ‘in charge’ of the vehicle, rather than drink driving.
 

GH GL

Member
Not very sure what I was charged for . But I think it was to do with attempting or drink driving with alcohol in system. Would I be able to find those questions if I call up the police station were my details are to find out ? Or do I go into station .
 

price1367

TTC Group
OK, lets go with you being in court for being ‘in charge’ of a motor vehicle whilst over the legal limit.
It is a defence to that charge to show that there was ‘no likelihood of driving the vehicle whilst still over the limit.
In gear, handbrake on, no seat belt, don’t really matter, as you could have started the camper van in seconds and driven away. You say the ignition was on, do you mean the engine was running?
You can argue that you would have been under the legal limit in just over an hour. So what time of day / night was it? If it was late and there were no parking restrictions meaning that you needed to move the car you just have to show to the court your intentions for the next, say, 90 minutes. If you can satisfy them, on the balance of probabilities, that you had no intention of driving whilst over the legal limit then you will be found not guilty.
You can expect the prosecutor to ask: “well if you were parked up for the night in a camper van, why were you not comfortable in the back?” And possibly make a big point of things like another 8 cans of lager in the cab indicating that you were going to continue drinking. (if applicable)
 

GH GL

Member
It was 11 at night . Was drinking in camper . My mate said it’s cold . Can you turn heating on . I said yes . We swivel the double seat round & I sat on drivers seat . As I needed to turn engine on for a wee while to heat my diesel heater from behind on , so my leisure battery doesn’t go flat . I have a pic of the diesel heater . It also makes a noise from outside indicating that it’s heating up & soon can turn engine off . I told my friend , we’ll get a heat from main van blowers at the front . Because the back was cold. That’s why we had wine bottles & cans at front .
 

price1367

TTC Group
the engine running and the booze in the front hits at your credibility a bit, so done rely on the “not driving for at least 90 minutes..... because it appears you were going to drink some more.
But the same issue applies about ‘not likely to drive while still over the limit’ ... just extend the ‘likely’ time.
Your reason for the engine running is reasonable.
 

GH GL

Member
I had booze bottles side of door from night before. They checked that out . The cans on my friends side was his .. I never had any booze on my hand while police saw me . Apart from camper van . What’s more likely to happen to a driver on drivers seat with engine on to get warm & over the limit . Looking for people that’s been in same like situation.
 

GH GL

Member
i had no attention to drive . Needed engine on to heat up camper . Mates car was in front . We were heading to sleep . I have a breathalyser with me for morning. Handbrake up no hands on steering wheel in neutral. Lights out . Police officer knocked on door , just when I was heading to sleep . My mate was a witness of heading to sleep . Police officer said they were waiting for a while . Then told me you could attempted to drive . Which is a no from me & mate . Very young cops . Was just waiting to hear camper for bed .
 

Luna2000

Well-known member
This is a timely piece as I was thinking about exactly the same thing last night.

Is it the case that if you are in the rear of the Camper Van and over the limit, even though you have your keys on you, then you are not in charge of the vehicle?

Do you need to sit in the drivers seat to be in charge?

Or is it the case that you are still in charge of the vehicle and therefore shouldn't drink?

I cannot imagine you are the only one to have fallen foul of this or similar.
 

GH GL

Member
Mate I was just heating my camper with engine on from behind. Was a mistake & just have to see what happens. Spoke to friends which 15 years in service & solicitor. This can go on for long time . So will just enjoy mean time
 

price1367

TTC Group
This is a timely piece as I was thinking about exactly the same thing last night.

Is it the case that if you are in the rear of the Camper Van and over the limit, even though you have your keys on you, then you are not in charge of the vehicle?

Do you need to sit in the drivers seat to be in charge?

Or is it the case that you are still in charge of the vehicle and therefore shouldn't drink?

I cannot imagine you are the only one to have fallen foul of this or similar.
You can be classed as ‘in charge’ of the vehicle if you are stood by it with the keys in your pocket.
You can even be classed as ‘in charge’ of the vehicle if you are asleep in the back.
The question of if either of those is based on the likelihood of driving, but it is for the accused to put forward the reasons for why there was no likelihood, as the presumption in law is that you are going to drive while still over the limit.
 

Luna2000

Well-known member
You can be classed as ‘in charge’ of the vehicle if you are stood by it with the keys in your pocket.
You can even be classed as ‘in charge’ of the vehicle if you are asleep in the back.
The question of if either of those is based on the likelihood of driving, but it is for the accused to put forward the reasons for why there was no likelihood, as the presumption in law is that you are going to drive while still over the limit.
I thought that perhaps camper van's with their in built and customised sleeping facilities may be treated slightly differently in that you could drink in them provided you were not in the driving seat. If for example, you were in a tent outside your car, drank until over the limit and then went back to the car to get e.g. a rucksack from the boot, is this also classed as being in charge of the vehicle?
 

price1367

TTC Group
In a pure legal sense it is still in charge.
The question revolves what your actions were. If someone walked to a car, opened the rear door, took a rucksack out, closed the door and walked away, no reasonable person could say that you were likely to drive.
But I dealt with people who went to their car, got into the drivers seat, claimed they had no intention to drive.... but they had switched the engine on (only to listen to the lottery results officer) and put their seat belt on (just our of habit officer) then it is likely that they will have been guilty of an ‘in charge’ offence.
Then there are shades in between.........
 

Luna2000

Well-known member
In a pure legal sense it is still in charge.
The question revolves what your actions were. If someone walked to a car, opened the rear door, took a rucksack out, closed the door and walked away, no reasonable person could say that you were likely to drive.
But I dealt with people who went to their car, got into the drivers seat, claimed they had no intention to drive.... but they had switched the engine on (only to listen to the lottery results officer) and put their seat belt on (just our of habit officer) then it is likely that they will have been guilty of an ‘in charge’ offence.
Then there are shades in between.........
So to be safe in a camper van, if you are the driver, don't drink.
 

price1367

TTC Group
I would still be careful in case you came across a ‘jobsworth’ police officer. You may well be found not guilty at court but face a lot of heartache in the meantime.
The advice I used to give on the drink drive courses on this subject was if theee were 4 in the back of a camper van, 3 had badges on saying “pi**ed up and passenger” while the 4th said “sober and the driver”.....
 

Luna2000

Well-known member
I would still be careful in case you came across a ‘jobsworth’ police officer. You may well be found not guilty at court but face a lot of heartache in the meantime.
The advice I used to give on the drink drive courses on this subject was if theee were 4 in the back of a camper van, 3 had badges on saying “pi**ed up and passenger” while the 4th said “sober and the driver”.....
You'd probably all get arrested for taking the piss :")
 
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