It is generally acknowledged that at this time of year the number of arrests and prosecutions for drink driving substantially increase. Office parties, a quick drink with friends and family can all increase the temptation of having that one (extra) drink which may expose a driver to the risk of being over the prescribed legal limit.
Of course, there are those whose decision to drink and drive is a deliberate one, but many simply drive without really understanding that they are over the legal limit for drink driving. You may not feel ‘drunk’ or ‘intoxicated’ when you decide to drive but being drunk is not a requirement of the law. People often say, ‘I’ve been done for drunk driving’, but in fact what they mean is that they have been done for ‘drink driving.’ In reality, it doesn’t take a great deal to be over the legal limit. There is a common misconception, certainly amongst men, that you can have 2 pints and not be over the limit. However, the reality is that there is nothing set in stone concerning what you can and cannot drink to ensure safety and to avoid formal arrest and prosecution for drink-driving. Whether you are over the prescribed limit depends on all sorts of factors. Again, there is a common misconception that drivers will be fine to drive in the morning after drinking the night before. However, actually a great many people get caught drink driving the day after they have been drinking the night or even the day, before. This risk is obviously increased when large quantities of alcohol are consumed, and much less so when just a little alcohol is consumed. Defence lawyers like me will often hear a client say, ‘but I felt perfectly fine to drive.’ That may be so, but all that does is offer mitigation, it does not afford the offender any sort of defence.
Drink driving is obviously a serious offence and understandably will worry many drivers caught by the police and who are prosecuted, many of whom will be first time offenders (the situation becomes far worse for repeat offenders). The prospect of having to go to court, getting a conviction, getting a fine and worse still, receiving a lengthy disqualification can all have a huge impact on every aspect of life. What sentence will be imposed will largely depend on how much over the legal limit an offender is, but there is much that can be said on behalf of an offender by a lawyer in an attempt to reduce the length of the ban for drink driving. It may also be that a careful scrutiny of the evidence raises a complete defence to any charge. It may be that the police cannot prove that you were actually driving, or that the alcohol consumed was consumed after you stopped driving. It may be that you were not going to drive at all (or at least not whilst you were over the prescribed legal limit) in which case you may have a complete defence.
Exactly what the outcome will be will depend on so many factors. There is often much mitigation to be presented to a court on behalf of a client charged with drink driving. Unrepresented defendants can often say things which although designed to make the offence sound less serious, can in fact have the opposite effect. What is said to the court at the point of sentence needs to be carefully planned and structured.
If you have been arrested for drink driving over the Christmas period, and given a court date to attend court, the chances are that you will have a lot of questions that you wish to have answered. What will happen to me? Will I get a fine? Will I get disqualified? If so, for how long? Can I avoid a disqualification? Do I have a defence? If I am disqualified, when will I get my licence back?
Wells Burcombe Solicitors have experience in advising and assisting clients in suspected cases of drink driving. We can answer the many questions you will inevitable have about going to court and what is likely to happen.
Call David Wells at Wells Burcombe on 07939 026751, or call the offices on on 01895 449288.