Drink Driving Solicitors
Specialist drink driving solicitors and barristers
Our Drink Driving Solicitors have achieved excellent results in defending motorists who are being investigated or prosecuted for Drink Driving. If you are being investigated or prosecuted for such an offence, call our specialist Motoring Solicitors on 0345 222 9955 or send us a message via our Contact Form at the bottom of this page.
What is the Drink Driving Law?
There are two main offences when dealing with ‘Drink Driving’ and the starting point for any specialist motoring lawyer is to identify the charge, as the sentence the Court can impose differs.
The offences associated with ‘Drink Driving’ are:
- Driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in the person’s breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit. Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 5(1)(a)
- Being in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or public place after consuming alcohol so that the proportion of it in the person’s breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit. Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 5(1)(b)
A Police Constable who must be in uniform may require a person to co-operate in a preliminary test where he reasonably suspects that person to be driving or attempting to drive or in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place with alcohol in his body.
A preliminary roadside breath test will usually take place if the test is failed and indicates that the alcohol limit is above the legal limit, the police constable will arrest and take the suspect to the Police Station to provide an evidential sample.
Venue – Where the trial will be
The offence of Drink Driving or Drunk in Charge are only triable summarily, this means that a trial could only take place in the Magistrates’ Court.
The Drink Driving Limit
There are strict alcohol limits for drivers and if a person is found to be above these limits, they are likely to be prosecuted for a drink driving offence;
- Breath – 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
- Blood – 80 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of blood
- Urine – 107 milligrammes per 100 millilitres of urine
If a defendant is convicted or pleads guilty to drink driving, they will be disqualified from driving for at least 12 months and up to 36 months, if this is the first offence of drink driving. The Magistrates’ Court can also impose a custodial (prison) sentence of up to 26 weeks.
If a defendant is convicted or pleads guilty to drunk in charge, they could be disqualified from driving for up to 12 months. The Magistrates’ Court can also impose a custodial (prison) sentence of up to 6 weeks.
Best Rated Driving Offence Solicitors
Due to our skill and expertise in successfully defending motorists throughout England & Wales, we are regarded as one of the Top Ranked Motoring Defence Law Firms in Birmingham and Milton Keynes.
Our solicitors are dedicated towards providing our clients with the best possible chance of a successful outcome and we frequently receive 5 Star Reviews and positive feedback from our clients on Google Reviews, Trustpilot and Yell.
If you are at risk of receiving a driving ban, contact us to find out the options available and how we can assist.
Mitigation for Drink Driving
Some of our clients may accept from the outset they are ‘Guilty’ of this offence and require expert legal representation at the Magistrates’ Court for mitigation purposes. Our drink-drive lawyers are skilled and experienced advocates that will tailor your personal mitigating circumstances to advance a compelling case to the Court to obtain the lowest sentence possible. On many occasions our Solicitors and Barristers have represented clients at Court and have obtained significantly reduced driving disqualifications due to our expertise in constructing and presenting persuasive and compelling mitigation to the Magistrates’ or District Judge.
Drink Driving Offence: Section 5(1)(a)
A motorist commits a criminal offence if they drive or attempt to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle, on a road or public place whilst above the prescribed alcohol limit.
The primary consideration as to whether a person is “driving” is essentially a question of fact, dependent on the degree and extent to which the person has control of the direction and movement of the vehicle.
According to the Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 192(1) a ‘road’ means any highway and any other road to which the public has access and includes bridges over which a road passes.
This offence can also be committed if a motorist is found to be driving in a ‘public place’. Whether an area is a ‘public place’ will once again depend upon the individual circumstances of the case.
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Second Drink Driving Conviction within 10 Year Period
If you have previously been convicted of drink driving within the past 10 years and are now facing a further prosecution, if you plead guilty or are found guilty, the Court must impose a driving ban between 3 and 5 years.
The Defence for Drink Driving
There are several defences available however, you should seek expert legal advice if you would like to know whether you have a valid defence so that you are advised of the strength of your case and to ensure it is properly presented in Court.
Whether a defence is applicable will depend upon the individual facts and circumstances of your case however, such cases can be challenged on:
- You were not driving / attempting to drive;
- You were not on a road or public place;
- ‘Hip Flask Defence’: This will usually arise when the Police have arrived some time after you stopped driving and the alcohol was consumed after driving. This defence will usually require specific details of the alcohol consumed before and after driving and may also require expert evidence;
- Police procedural errors;
- Reliability of breath reading;
- Reliability of blood / urine reading.
Drunk in Charge Offence: Section 5(1)(b)
A Criminal Prosecution for being ‘Drunk in Charge’ is a different offence to ‘Drink Driving’. The Police will usually prosecute a motorist under Section 5(1)(b) if they are unable to prove that the motorist was driving the vehicle whilst drunk.
What amounts to being ‘in charge’ is not defined within the Road Traffic Act 1988, whether a person is in charge of a vehicle will depend upon the individual circumstances and facts of each case.
The following factors are usually taken into consideration by the Court when determining whether a person is ‘in charge’ of the vehicle:
- whether and where he was in the vehicle or how far he was from it;
- what he was doing at the relevant time;
- whether he was in possession of a key that fitted the ignition;
- whether there was evidence of an intention to take or assert control of the car by driving or otherwise;
- whether any person was in, at or near the vehicle and, if so, the like particulars in respect of that person.
Defence (Drunk in Charge)
A motorist shall not be convicted of being “drunk in charge” if the motorist can prove that there was no intention and / or likelihood of the vehicle being driven whilst the driver was over the prescribed limit. This defence is contained within Section 5(2) Road Traffic Act 1988
It is crucial to note that with the offence of being drunk in charge, the defendant must prove that they did not have any intention to drive the vehicle. The prosecution is under no obligation to prove that the defendant was likely to drive whilst unfit or over the limit.
If it can be proven that there was no likelihood of driving whilst over the prescribed limit, the Court will return a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict.
Special Reasons Arguments
In certain cases, you may not have a defence however, you may have ‘special reasons’ surrounding the circumstances of the offence. If you choose to appoint us, as part of the Fixed Fee our solicitors shall also consider whether there are any applicable Special Reasons Arguments.
The legislation which gives the Court this discretion is contained within Section 34 of The Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 which states the following:
“Where a person is convicted of an offence involving obligatory disqualification, the court must order him to be disqualified for such period not less than twelve months as the court thinks fit unless the court for special reasons thinks fit to order him to be disqualified for a shorter period or not to order him to be disqualified”
Definition of Special Reasons
For ‘Special Reasons’ to be accepted by the Court, the circumstances relied upon a need to satisfy the criteria below:
- Must be a mitigating or extenuating circumstance
- Must not amount in law to a defence to the allegation
- Must be directly connected with the commission of the offence
- Must be something which the Court ought to properly take into consideration when imposing sentence.
If a Special Reasons Argument is applicable to the individual circumstances of your case and accepted by the Court, it will enable the Court to deviate from the Sentencing Guidelines (minimum 12-month ban).
The Special Reasons Arguments applicable to drink drive usually include:
- Short Distance Travelled
- Spiked Drink
Special reasons arguments are complex and will often involve expert evidence and cross examination of witnesses. If you believe special reasons may apply in your case, please call us for specialist advice, as a successful Special Reasons Argument can avoid a Driving Ban.
Our Solicitors and Barristers can be appointed to advise and represent you in Court on a ‘Fixed Fee Basis’ our Fixed Fees start from £1,000+VAT and include:
- Full Legal Advice
- Full Case Assessment
- Advice on Plea (whether you should plead Guilty or Not Guilty)
- 1 Meeting at our Birmingham / Milton Keynes / London Office
- Representation at Court
- Our Travelling Costs
- Our Travelling Time
If you would like a Fixed Fee quotation for representing you at Court, please call us and one of our lawyers will explain the options available and the cost of legal representation.
Drink Driver Rehabilitation Course – DDRC
If you decide to plead guilty or are found guilty following a trial, the Magistrates’ Court imposing the sentence will also have the option to offer you the Drink Driver Rehabilitation Course (DDRC) which if offered and accepted at the Sentence Hearing can result in a reduction of up to 25% in the length of the Driving Ban. It must be noted that the Court is under no obligation to offer the Course however, if appointed, our lawyers will explain to the Court why the DDRC ought to be offered.
Our Drink Driving Solicitors
The offences of Drink Driving and Drunk in Charge could potentially result in a prison sentence of 6 months, a driving ban and a substantial court fine. A charge of drink driving should be taken very seriously, and expert legal advice should be sought as soon as possible.
We appreciate that not every case can be defended and for some clients the best approach is to focus on keeping the sentence to an absolute minimum. This is a serious offence which could have long-term repercussions and for that reason it is important to obtain the expert advice from one of our specialist lawyers as soon as possible. We have substantial experience of presenting mitigation before the court and helping our clients to achieve the best possible result in their case.
In preparing a case for drink driving, each aspect of the evidence should be considered by an expert motoring law solicitor to identify weaknesses in the prosecution case and whether a defence is available.
Kang & Co Solicitors have expert motoring law solicitors and barristers with considerable experience in defending cases of drink driving throughout the country.
Call our Solicitors on 0345 222 9955 for an initial No Obligation Telephone Assessment about your case or send us a message via our enquiry form below.
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