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Alcohol and your motorhome - know the law


At this time of year pitching up in your motorhome and having a tipple is a treat many of us enjoy. But be warned, it's easier to be prosecuted for being 'drunk in charge' than you think...

We ask Philip Somarakis, an expert motoring lawyer with Davenport Lyons, what the legal implications are of parking into a pub car park, having a few alcoholic drinks and then getting back into your motorhome to sleep it off.

On the face of it, driving your “home” to a public house is a pretty good idea to avoid drinking and driving as you now have a pub on your doorstep.

Motorhome owners should however be cautious about the risks of being "drunk in charge" of a motorhome if they are staying overnight in the car park.

If you are drunk “in charge” of your motorhome on a road or “public place” you can be arrested by the police and could lose your licence if convicted.

This article looks at whether a parking area for motorhomes next to a pub amounts to a “public place” and also what being “in charge” of a motorhome means. We also focus on the scenario where you have evening dinner and drinks.


Before you start drinking alcohol, you must:
• Make sure your motorhome is already parked up for the night. Do not take the risk of having to move it later to the right place, even if it's just a short distance within the car park or into an adjacent field
• Ensure your motorhome is not causing an obstruction. You should always consider whether you might be asked to move it later so
• Have some evidence if possible of the duration of your stay, so that you could prove your intention to sleep overnight in the car park

After you've had a drink of alcohol, you must:
• Never start up the engine in your motorhome
• Never place the key in the ignition
• Never sit behind the steering wheel or in the driver’s seat if it is facing forwards

Any or all of the above could be taken as indicators that you may be contemplating driving the motorhome and are more likely to attract attention from the police.
And always remember that if you've had a lot of alcohol to drink, you may still be over the legal limit the following morning.


The rules related to being in charge of a vehicle and alcohol are covered by The Road Traffic Act 1988.
You can view it here www.legislation.gov.uk


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