Tulisa gets 15 month ban for Drink Driving

Tulisa gets 15 month ban for Drink Driving

Photo from the BBC


Tulisa Contostavlos, the popular singer, N-Dubz member, and lately Judge of X-Factor, was driving her Ferrari near Southgate Station last September when she collided with another car.

It seems that she “drove “on the wrong side of the road” and hit a vehicle which was carrying two people“. Police were called and Ms Contostavlos was breathalysed, being over the limit at the time.

For reasons which aren’t clear, Ms Contostavlos was not charged until 7th March 2016. Although she was originally charged with Dangerous Driving as well as drink drive, that first charge is not being pursued.

She was sentenced on 4th April 2016 to be disqualified from driving for 15 months, and was ordered to pay a total of £1,185 in ‘fines and costs’.


Comment – did she get special treatment?

It’s often the case that when celebrities get prosecuted, the general public think that they get more lenient treatment than others.

In our experience the opposite is, if anything, the truth. What do we make of the sentence here?

In the first draft of our post we said (sorry, too busy work-wise to do a full re-write):

The problem is that we don’t know the amount by which Tulisa was over the limit – this is the crucial factor in deciding the sentence (see page 124 Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines). The fact of a collision is a strong aggravating factor.

There is a wide range of sentencing options, from a Fine to Prison. Working backwards (as it were), from the level of ban and fine, it looks like the reading was around the 50-60 in breath.

The BBC report confirmed that the actual amount was 54mg, so (thankfully) this seems to work out.

We then said :

There would have been a victim surcharge (10% of the fine) and an order for costs. The CPS have a standard rate of costs.

A possible breakdown would be a fine of £1,000, which gives a Victim Surcharge of £100, and £85 costs.

We’re pleased to say that, as the later versions of the BBC report confirmed, we got this spot on.

The starting point would be a Band C fine, a starting point 150% of the weekly income. With credit for a plea of guilty, this puts her income in the region of £1,500 a week. There is the obvious caveat that this is not a mathematical exercise however.

But, looking at this it seems that Tulisa was, as we would expect, treated as any other defendant who graced Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.

Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.


  1. The defendant was driving a new Ferrari, was surrounded by heavies at court, and employed a QC to represent her.

    I would like to have seen the means form that she produced for DJ Allison, and have heard what enquiries were made about that.

  2. “The problem is that we don’t know the amount by which Tulisa was over the limit”

    Yes we do: it’s in the BBC article you linked to (though to be fair, it could have been edited after the version you saw).

    Anyway, it says: “The 27-year-old admitted driving over the limit with 54 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms.” So your estimate was spot on.

  3. Oh and the article also (at least as of now) confirms your breakdown: “The singer was also ordered to pay a £1,000 fine, £85 costs and a victim surcharge of £100.”

  4. Why a DJ? Why not three JPs?

    JPs usually disqualify in multiples of four months to make the calculation easy if a driver does the course and gets a quarter off. But of course She may not have been interested – it would mean mixing with the masses with no heavies around to protect her. She’d rather pay a chauffeur for a bit longer.

    Full marks for trying to counsel who asked for a CD and mitigated about the damage to her career in the USA – but I don’t think so!

  5. I notice also that she was difficult about giving her address – but was made to. None of the newspapers have printed it. So apart from being tired by a DJ, yes, she got the same treatment as anyone who is not well-known.

    If being arrogant carried a custodial sentence the Prison Service would be throwing the key away!

  6. No explanation of her means;
    Perhaps DB could now venture an explanation of the £1k fine?

    Where are you, DB?