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  #11  
Old 01-04-14, 19:29
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DubDick DubDick is offline
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Default Re: Rules about 'drunk in charge' in a camper

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Originally Posted by chip-t4 View Post
The road traffic act covers anywhere that is a "public place" which means anywhere that the public have right of access to by vehicle or on foot.

So a pub car park, is legally the same as the road as far as I am aware from the point of view of intention to drive or not.
Ouch... I often drink and sleep in my van/camper, with the keys on the shelf within easy reach... in a public place...

Generally on a campsite.
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  #12  
Old 01-04-14, 19:36
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Van-Blanc Van-Blanc is offline
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Default Re: Rules about 'drunk in charge' in a camper

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Originally Posted by chip-t4 View Post
The road traffic act covers anywhere that is a "public place" which means anywhere that the public have right of access to by vehicle or on foot.

So a pub car park, is legally the same as the road as far as I am aware from the point of view of intention to drive or not.
Interesting point so what about a proper camp site?

Another thought if there are 2 of us, me and her, the van is set for the stop, so for example roof up and seats swivelled, and neither of us has the keys about our person (although they may be in the ignition to power the sound system) - what then?
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  #13  
Old 01-04-14, 19:43
David Sissons David Sissons is offline
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T4 Post Icon Re: Rules about 'drunk in charge' in a camper

In the UK in general (Scotland being the exception) parking up overnight in a layby or any public place is deemed illegal. Rough camping is only allowed in Scotland.

Obviously anyone with a camper van does rough camp or overnight from time to time and mostly the Plod ignore it if you are just parked up and pulling off the next day. However if you are over the limit for drinking, they can breath test you and detain you as drunk in charge.

If you are parked up in a camp site for which you have paid. You are deemed to be off the public road and camping so the rules do not apply. In France you pay to use the Aires / Service areas and motorhomes are then deemed parked for the night, so a drink can be had. But as here if you just pull into a layby, they can ask for breath test.

So unless you are in paid for camping plot. Do not drink anything harder than a diet coke.
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  #14  
Old 01-04-14, 20:19
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Rooster Rooster is offline
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Default Re: Rules about 'drunk in charge' in a camper

You are taking a risk. Have a look at http://www.policespecials.com/forum/...le-camper-van/ These is a thread by Police officers on this very subject.
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  #15  
Old 01-04-14, 21:08
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paul20v paul20v is offline
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Default Re: Rules about 'drunk in charge' in a camper

Heres one for you and true story ,
A friend of mine had been out on the lash
He left it too late too get a cab so he went back to his car locked himself in and went too sleep
This didnt go well as it was a very frosty night and the temp was well below freezing so in his wisdom he started the car and turned on the heater
Couple of hours later he gets woken up by a knock at the window yep you guessed it a friendly policeman
He unlocked the car and the policeman turned off the car and took the keys and arrested my friend where he then slept in the cells .

Sometime later the court appearence came but in the meantime my mates solicitor had told him to contact the met office and get a report on the temprature that night it it turned out to be -10 this cost a few quid but it turned out to be worth it as the judge said normally that just having the keys in your possesion while drunk in a motor vehicle was an offence , but in this case the night was so cold that the judge said that this was extenuating circumstances and could have resulted in my friend getting ill or worse due to the extreme temps that this time he would let the charges go but that this was not normally the case in such an event so think yourself extremely lucky

So i would hide the keys if i was sleeping in a vehicle while worse for wear
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  #16  
Old 02-04-14, 00:15
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alan.surry alan.surry is offline
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Default Re: Rules about 'drunk in charge' in a camper

It's my understanding that you need to be in possession of the keys (I.E. capable of driving, even if incapable through drink) for the police to be able to charge you. Personally, I'd hide the keys very carefully if I was sleeping it off on public land. It's all subject to interpretation, but I can't see how you can be guilty if you have no means to start the vehicle. If there were 2 vans wild parking, the obvious answer would be to swap keys before going to sleep, or hide them outside the van (Under the bonnet perhaps?)

Just my thoughts
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  #17  
Old 02-04-14, 10:42
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Abyss Abyss is offline
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Default Re: Rules about 'drunk in charge' in a camper

As some one who wild camps a lot, heres a couple of easy ways around this.

pub scenario: if it has a field, with a gate, go on the field/track, close it, no public access then. sorted.

lay by: set the bed up (well down i guess) have blinds up, have a drink, get in van, go sleep. leave keys outside on a magnet under van, or hidden someplace,,yes ok you may not like that but deal with it. OR leave immob fob outside only. either way its not on your person. the bed shows intent to stay in a camped position, no intent to drive.

Police come and breathalyse you: you maybe over the limit, you maybe in your jim jams, they may arrest you,,,,but no reasonable court in the land will prosecute you.

OR there are these scenario's:

pub scenario: go the pub, have fun drink some beers/wine/vodka/whatever...go to the van, have a fiddle, pass out, no blinds up, keys in pocket, or in ignition. police come. your screwed.

lay by: have some tinnies, get in bed, keys in pocket, on the side, or in the ignition, go sleep, police come, your done for drunk in charge.

So its the small things that matter with regards to being prosecuted. In many of the above scenarios you could still get arrested, but not prosecuted, thats the key. Maybe take pictures for evidence incase they dont gather it.
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  #18  
Old 02-04-14, 10:51
chip-t4 chip-t4 is offline
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Default Re: Rules about 'drunk in charge' in a camper

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Originally Posted by David Sissons View Post
In the UK in general (Scotland being the exception) parking up overnight in a layby or any public place is deemed illegal.
I do not believe that to be accurate, can you tell me which law it actually breaks, as for it to be "deemed illegal" there has to be a law that it goes against, and I do not know of one, and my experience of interactions with the police when I have been wild camping is that they dont view it as illegal either.


Quote:
Obviously anyone with a camper van does rough camp or overnight from time to time and mostly the Plod ignore it if you are just parked up and pulling off the next day. However if you are over the limit for drinking, they can breath test you and detain you as drunk in charge.
Yes its certainly a risk if you are in a car in a public place.


Quote:
If you are parked up in a camp site for which you have paid. You are deemed to be off the public road and camping so the rules do not apply. In France you pay to use the Aires / Service areas and motorhomes are then deemed parked for the night, so a drink can be had. But as here if you just pull into a layby, they can ask for breath test.
With regards to a paid plot on a campsite, I dont know if that is still classed as a public place as it depends on if the public are allowed to wander around the campsite freely or if that is only for people who have paid to gain access to it.
But one thing I would be VERY confident of is that if it went to court then your ability to prove that you were not intending to drive would be very good, I cant imagine there is a court out there that would take someone who was paid to camp on an official site and say they werent planning on sleeping but planning on driving instead.



Quote:
So unless you are in paid for camping plot. Do not drink anything harder than a diet coke.
Good advice.
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  #19  
Old 02-04-14, 10:53
chip-t4 chip-t4 is offline
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Default Re: Rules about 'drunk in charge' in a camper

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abyss View Post
As some one who wild camps a lot, heres a couple of easy ways around this.

pub scenario: if it has a field, with a gate, go on the field/track, close it, no public access then. sorted.

lay by: set the bed up (well down i guess) have blinds up, have a drink, get in van, go sleep. leave keys outside on a magnet under van, or hidden someplace,,yes ok you may not like that but deal with it. OR leave immob fob outside only. either way its not on your person. the bed shows intent to stay in a camped position, no intent to drive.

Police come and breathalyse you: you maybe over the limit, you maybe in your jim jams, they may arrest you,,,,but no reasonable court in the land will prosecute you.

OR there are these scenario's:

pub scenario: go the pub, have fun drink some beers/wine/vodka/whatever...go to the van, have a fiddle, pass out, no blinds up, keys in pocket, or in ignition. police come. your screwed.

lay by: have some tinnies, get in bed, keys in pocket, on the side, or in the ignition, go sleep, police come, your done for drunk in charge.

So its the small things that matter with regards to being prosecuted. In many of the above scenarios you could still get arrested, but not prosecuted, thats the key. Maybe take pictures for evidence incase they dont gather it.

Yes I think some form of external access only to something required to drive like the key or immobiliser fob, would really help your case, although I am not convinced its 100% a get out of jail free card as ultimately you still have it with you, even if its in a magnetic box in the wheel arch etc.
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  #20  
Old 02-04-14, 11:01
chip-t4 chip-t4 is offline
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Default Re: Rules about 'drunk in charge' in a camper

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Originally Posted by Van-Blanc View Post
Interesting point so what about a proper camp site?

Another thought if there are 2 of us, me and her, the van is set for the stop, so for example roof up and seats swivelled, and neither of us has the keys about our person (although they may be in the ignition to power the sound system) - what then?
Then they ask the registered keeper who is the driver I guess.
At which point you say "we dont know till we wake in the morning and see who fancies driving"



One amusing little point, its a strange situation that if you are napping in the back of your car, and (just to make it very black and white) lets say the keys are in the ignition so the radio is then you are deemed to be in charge of the car.
If however I come and sit in your drivers seat, you then arent in charge anymore, I am.

So if I am giving you a lift home, and I get out at a petrol station to go for a or pay for fuel, but leave the radio on with the keys in the ignition then dont stay in the back of the car drunk or technically you are now in charge of it

Strange, but IMHO true!

Now when it got to court, the fact that someone else drove to the petrol station and is willing to state they were the one in charge of the vehicle would no doubt get it thrown out in your favour, but does the person need to actually be there to say the same?
If I text my mate and say "im at the pub carpark in my car keeping warm, but am over the limit so can you come and fetch me please" then would that be enough for a court?

If it would then what about instead of a text, simply a notice that says in the window "I am not intending to drive this vehicle, I am merely sleeping in it until sober enough to drive, and I have a breathalsyer in the glvoebox to check when that is the case", would a court take note of such a notice?


Its an interestingly grey area with not a huge amount of case law that I am aware of.
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