Drink-driving at christmas
A conviction in drink-driving can change your life. It is crucial that should you be charged with it you get the best advice you can before you attend court to help you make the right decision in responding to the charge. Make sure to immediately get in contact with one of our highly experienced motoring solicitors by calling 0113 244 6978 / 0773 667 6691 (24/7) or using our online enquiry form. We will call you back as soon as possible.
Until speaking with a specialist motoring law solicitor you will not know the best way to build any mitigation to the charges and may even think you are guilty of it when there may be an applicable defence. Our solicitors give the circumstances of each case careful consideration as every case is unique.
News articles are already appearing this January with reports that the number of incidents of drink-driving last year was on the rise from 2017, and reports that in some areas incidents of drink-driving over Christmas have doubled from previous years. It can be an offence that people from all walks of life find themselves committing and it is crucial to know what to do if you are charged with the offence. If you have found yourself in trouble for drink-driving recently make sure to contact Sugaré & Co on 0113 244 6978 / 0773 667 6691 (24/7) or use our online enquiry form and we’ll call you back.
What if I am prosecuted for drink-driving?
If you are prosecuted for drink-driving, there can be huge consequences. Many people rely on their cars to get to and from work, or need a license at work – you could be out of a job. There are implications for your family too.
If it is your first driving offence you will receive a minimum of a 12-month driving disqualification if found guilty, and this can go rise to 3 years in the more serious instances. With the ban will be either a fine as a minimum, rising to a community order or even a prison sentence if more serious.
Use the drink driving penalty calculator to work out an estimate of your likely sentence if convicted. Alternatively, keep reading for the guidelines on sentencing in drink-driving cases.
The court has guidelines available to them when sentencing offences. If you are a first-time offender, and enter a guilty plea at the Magistrates’ Court the offence will fall under one of four categories.
Sentencing can range from a Band C fine and 12 months of disqualification at the lower end, to 26 weeks in custody and 36 months of disqualification at the higher end.
However, if you have a previous ‘relevant conviction’ in the preceding 10 years to the current incident, the starting point for a ban is 3 years and can rise to 5 years in more serious instances.
But you should not automatically assume you are guilty and that the above will apply to you. As mentioned, you may have a defence available to you which you do not realise – instead of risking losing your license for at least a year, be sure to get in touch with one of our experienced team and we can advise you on your case.
What defences might be available for you?
The following are examples of possible defences in a drink-driving case:
Drinking alcohol after driving somewhere
For example, you might have had a pint in the pub, driven home under the legal limit, and had some more alcohol at home at which point the police turn up and take a breathalyser which finds you over the limit. The important thing would be to note that you were under the limit at the point of driving
Failure of police in applying the correct statutory procedure in the case
For example, errors can be made at the police station either in the handling of evidence crucial to the case, or the manner in which a sample was taken
Unreliable analysis of the evidence
You have an entitlement to challenge the reliability of the breathalyser used as well as the blood or urine analysis of your sample
You might have been over the limit, but it was reasonable considering the severity of the circumstances you were faced with, to drive. To rely on this defence it must be proved that:
- You acted to avoid a significant risk of harm
- No adequate lawful means could have been used to escape this harm
- And that harm avoided was greater than the harm caused by you breaking the law
For example, if your drink was spiked, you only drove a very short distance, you were under duress
All of these potential defences can be particularly complex and may need the involvement of expert evidence and the cross-examination of witnesses. It is highly recommended that you contact our experts to receive the best advice you can on such crucial matters.
Importance of mitigation
While not every case can be defended and we would never recommend you to throw money at a hopeless enterprise, you must still always focus on keeping any sentence to a minimum. In presenting clients’ mitigation to the court, our experts have regularly helped our clients achieve the best possible result in their case.
Talk To Us
Make sure you get the correct advice at the right stage and call Sugaré & Co on 0113 244 6978 / 0773 667 6691 (24/7) or use our online enquiry form and we’ll call you back.