Drink Driving Offences
Drink driving offences include driving with excess alcohol, being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle, failing to provide a specimen, driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs and causing death by driving whilst over the legal limit.
We are drink driving defence experts.
We will consider the evidence and your personal circumstances and see what can be done to avoid a drink driving ban. If you plead guilty to an offence of driving whilst over the legal limit of alcohol, it is only in very limited circumstances that the court has any discretion not to disqualify you from driving. The court would have to find 'special reasons' not to disqualify you from driving. If special reasons are not found the court MUST impose a period of disqualification and the minimum period of that disqualification is 12 months. Before any plea is entered, however, our specialist lawyers will consider the evidence carefully and provide you with accurate and honest advice in relation to your options.
DRIVING WITH EXCESS ALCOHOL
The offence is committed when you have been driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle after consuming so much alcohol that you are over the prescribed limit. You cannot be convicted of the offence unless it can be proved that you were over the limit at the time of the offence. This is proved by measuring the proportion of alcohol in breath, urine or blood. The sample is taken whilst at the police station or at the hospital if you have been injured as a result of a road accident. The reading must be taken by a government approved device such as a breathalyser. The roadside testing device is not an approved device and merely used by police officers to determine whether you should be arrested and taken to the police station to provide the sample.
Maximum sentence 6 months imprisonment, £5,000 fine and driving disqualification.
FAILING TO PROVIDE A SPECIMEN OF BREATH
This offence is committed when you fail to provide a specimen of breath, urine or blood without a reasonable excuse. Our expert lawyers will give you advice on what amounts to a reasonable excuse and whether your personal circumstances give you a defence to the charge. Refusing to provide a sample at the police station without a reasonable excuse can lead to more severe penalties being imposed by the court, than those imposed for driving with excess alcohol. Expert advice is always needed to ensure you are dealt with fairly by the court.
Maximum sentence: 6 month’s imprisonment, £5,000 fine and driving disqualification.
BEING DRUNK IN CHARGE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE
This offence is committed when you are in or around a motor vehicle whilst over the limit and you have the INTENTION to drive the vehicle. Our expert lawyers are often successful in persuading the court that there was no intention to drive the vehicle at the relevant time and many clients are found NOT GUILTY of the offence and so avoid disqualification or points on their licence.
Maximum sentence: 3 month’s imprisonment, driving disqualification or 10 points on your licence and £2,500 fine.
DRIVING WHILST UNFIT THROUGH DRINK OR DRUGS
This offence is committed in the same way as driving with excess alcohol but charged when the police have not obtained a sample of breath, blood or urine that they can rely upon. The prosecution would rely upon evidence that your ability to drive has been impaired and this would be evidenced by the opinion of a doctor or a police officer.
Maximum sentence: 6 months imprisonment, driving disqualification and a £5,000 fine.
CAUSING DEATH WHILST DRIVING OVER THE LEGAL LIMIT
This offence is committed when you drive whilst over the legal limit and a death occurs as a result of the driving.
Maximum sentence: 14 year's imprisonment
Our experts will consider the circumstances surrounding your arrest and detention and all the evidence in your case. There are many defences available and our experts will consider them all. The following is a list of some of the more commonly used drink driving defences but this list is not exhaustive.
THE INTOXILIZER MACHINE
The police rely on a number of machines to detect your alcohol level. All machines can go wrong and we look at the reliability of the machine used in your case and see whether the machine can be shown to be unreliable.
POST DRIVING CONSUMPTION
In some cases after having driven people drink extra alcohol and are then arrested for drink driving. The relevant amount of alcohol is the amount of alcohol that was consumed at the time of the driving. A calculation can be made that shows that at the time of the driving you were under the legal limit to drive. We have forensic experts who can carry out that calculation and provide scientific evidence for the court. This defence is commonly known as “The Hip Flask Defence”.
DURESS OF CIRCUMSTANCES
The defence is available to anyone who drives whilst over the legal limit due to circumstances beyond their control incorporating an element of duress. If this is accepted to the satisfaction of the court it is open to the court to make a finding of NOT GUILTY.
When at a police station or hospital the police have to follow a procedure accurately and failure to follow the procedure accurately can lead to a NOT GUILTY finding. The procedure needs to be properly scrutinized by a specialist lawyer before you can be sure the police have acted properly and fairly and within the law.
SPECIAL REASONS NOT TO DISQUALIFY
Under certain circumstances the courts do have discretion to impose a shorter period of disqualification or not impose a disqualification at all following a guilty plea or a guilty verdict following trial.
If the court accepts that there has been a real emergency they can consider not imposing a disqualification. Our specialist lawyers will advise you as to what amounts to a real emergency.
If you have consumed more alcohol than you were aware of because someone had laced your drink with additional alcohol and you go on to commit the offence of driving with excess alcohol the court may consider not imposing a period of disqualification for the offence. Specialist advice is required because the level of intoxication at the time of the driving will have significant impact upon the outcome as the court will consider that there is a point at which a reasonable person would become aware that he or she is too far over the limit to drive regardless of what they think that they have consumed.
SHORTNESS OF DISTANCE DRIVEN
If whilst intoxicated you drive your vehicle a short distance the court can reduce or completely remove any disqualification. The court will consider criteria set down by law as to whether the distance driven is sufficiently short to enable the court not to impose a period of disqualification for the offence of 'Driving with Excess Alcohol'. Our experts will give you accurate and honest advice as to your prospects of achieving a successful outcome.