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Not guilty Drunk in charge of a motor vehicle Magistrates 2023


Police were called to attend the location in relation to a female drunk driving in the area. On arrival, police spotted the vehicle at the location parked up with the engine turned off however the defendant was sat inside the vehicle in the driver’s seat. She had in her possession the keys to that vehicle whilst sitting in the driver’s seat on police arrival. When speaking with her she was slurring her words not making much sense and not able to walk properly without staggering when police asked her to exit the vehicle. Police suspected that she had drunk a significant amount of alcohol prior to entering the motor vehicle with the keys in her possession. Police then required a specimen of breath from her at the roadside which she provided at the time and blew 114 which was almost 3 times the limit.

She was interviewed and denied being in charge of the vehicle.

The law

Section 5 RTA 1988 sets out this offence and provides a defence.

A person who drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place or is in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place, after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in his breath, blood or urine exceeds the prescribed limit is guilty of an offence.

In this type of case, the burden of proof is on the defence to satisfy the Court that there was no likelihood that you would have driven the vehicle while over the limit

A person is not guilty if he proves that the circumstances were such that there was no likelihood of his driving the vehicle whilst the proportion of alcohol in his breath, blood or urine exceeded the prescribed limit.

We prepared our client's case, and we were able to satisfy the court concerning her defence of no likelihood to drive the vehicle while intoxicated. She had innocently left home to smoke in her car near her home while attempting to collect belongings from the vehicle. Whilst she was intoxicated she did not intend to drive the vehicle until at least 2 days later. 

Our client kept her licence and was found not guilty at Wimbledon Magistrates Court.


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