Have you been accused of drinking & driving?
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It is an offence to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle, on a public road or other public place whilst in excess of the prescribed alcohol limit.
In order to be charged with the drink driving offence the proportion of alcohol in your body must exceed the following limits:
- 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath
- 80 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood
- 107 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine
The minimum penalty you could receive is a 12 months disqualification and a fine dependant on your financial means. In some circumstances the court will consider a community order or prison sentence usually in cases where the reading was above 100 mg of alcohol in 100 of breath.
Will I lose my driving licence?
Being charged with a drink driving offence does not mean that you will automatically lose your license. It is important to carefully consider the circumstances of the offence to see if a special reason can be successfully argued.
Special reasons include:
- Spiked drinks
- Short distance driven
- The reason for driving was in a response to an emergency
Arguing special reasons can be difficult, therefore it is important that you obtain advice from an expert drink driving solicitor who will help you to protect your license.
It is also important to ensure that the police procedure was complied with correctly as there are potential issues which might invalidate the procedure and therefore the case against you. You should seek advice from an expert drink driving solicitor to ensure that the above has been explored and put in your defence.
Pleading guilty to drink driving
Many people do not think that having representation in court is necessary when pleading guilty to a charge of drink driving. However, being represented by a experienced solicitor is essential to advise you which circumstances can be used as mitigating to ensure that you receive the lowest sentence possible. It is also important to remember that the period of disqualification might double if it is a second offence in the period of the last 10 years.
Contact our expert criminal team today for an expert evaluation of your case.
Failing to provide a specimen for analysis – drink driving
It is an offence when a person refuses or is unable to provide a breath, blood or urine sample when requested at the police station in order to check the level of alcohol, unless that person can show a reasonable excuse for not providing the specimen.
The minimum penalty for this offence is the same as for the drink driving offence, namely 12 months disqualification and a fine. The magistrates are likely to give a disqualification of 18 – 24 months, unless strong mitigation is shown. In some circumstances the magistrates might consider a community or even custodial sentence. Therefore, it is important to seek legal advice at the earliest stage of the case.
It is important to ensure that the police officer warned the driver that failure to provide the specimen could result in a prosecution for a criminal offence as it is a requirement for such warning to be given. When no warning has been given to the detained the case can be challenged in court on that basis.
Is it a requirement for the person asked to provide a specimen to have driven the vehicle?
The police officer needs only to suspect that a person has driven the vehicle whist being over the prescribed limit of alcohol. If it is later proven that the detained has not driven or was not under the influence of alcohol but they have provided a sample for analysis, they will not be guilty of the offence of failure to provide.
If however, no specimen was provided and it is still proven that the detained person was not over the prescribed limit or never drove the vehicle, they might still be found guilty of the offence of failure to provide a specimen for analysis. It is possible to avoid disqualification if the case is correctly prepared and the legal argument is advanced and accepted by the magistrate.
If you have been charged with the offence of failure to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine, it is important that you seek advice from the outset. We will be able to discuss all options with you and prepare your case before the hearing. It is important to note that a prison sentence can be considered by the magistrates for a second offence (not necessarily for failing to provide) in the period of the last 10 years.
Contact our expert criminal team to discuss your case today.
Drunk in charge
It is an offence to be in charge of a motor vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit of alcohol. This type of an office carries endorsement of10 penalty points, disqualification or in certain circumstances a custodial sentence of up to 6 months.
In order to determine whether the offence has been committed the court will take into account the following:
- Where the keys to the motor vehicle were;
- Where was the accused sitting;
- What were they doing; and
- Any evidence of intention to take control of the vehicle and drive.
Defending a charge of being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle
A person charged with being in charge of a motor vehicle whist over the prescribed alcohol limit will have a defence to this charge if they can prove that there was no likelihood of driving the motor vehicle at the time of the offence.
IMD Solicitors criminal team will be able to review all the evidence and advise you of the strengths and weaknesses of both the prosecution case and your defence. The burden of proof is on the defence to prove that you had no intention to drive the vehicle; if this is proved we may be able to secure your acquittal. It is therefore vital that you seek advice from the outset of the case in order to fully prepare your case before hearing date.
If you have decided to plead guilty to the offence of drunk in charge, it is important to have an experienced solicitor who will ensue that the court imposes the lowest penalty in your circumstances.
Contact us to discuss your case today.
Drink Driving Rehabilitation Course
The minimum disqualification for drink driving offences is 12 months disqualification. Unless special reasons (please see above) are accepted, there is nothing you can say to the court to be more lenient or to allow you to keep your license when pleading guilty to this charge. However, we will always ask the court for an opportunity to attend a Drink Driving Rehabilitation Course. If the court agrees and makes the offer there will be a time limit on when the course must be completed.
The Drink Driving Rehabilitation Course will be offered to those convicted of drink driving, drunk in charge of a motor vehicle and those who were convicted of failing to provide specimen for analysis.
Successful completion of the course means that your disqualification will be reduced, often by 25%. This opportunity will be offered at the time of sentencing. Therefore, it is important that you do take the offer of reducing you disqualification and learning about road safety and the effects alcohol has on road users. The course will also teach you how to prevent future offending.
Once the course is successfully completed in the proposed time limit, the chosen course provider will provide you with a certificate to proof completion of the course and information on how and when to reapply for your license.
The course provider will also notify the court with the outcome and the reduction will be applied and your disqualification shortened.
This information is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the laws relating to drink driving may change. IMD Solicitors may be able to help you to defend a charge of drunk driving, reduce your fine or protect your driver’s licence..