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Drink Driving Solicitors
Have you been accused of drink driving? Are you concerned about what might happen next? Our drink driving solicitors are on hand to provide robust legal advice and representation to make sure that you achieve the best possible outcome.
The consequences of being convicted for a drink driving offence can be severe. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may lose your licence or even face a prison sentence. It goes without saying that, if you are accused of drink driving, you will need urgent legal advice to help reduce the impact on your life.
At JD Spicer Zeb Solicitors, we understand how daunting it can be to face an accusation of drink driving. As such, our team of experienced criminal defence solicitors are on hand to provide immediate support, helping you to avoid drink driving charges or minimise penalties where conviction is unavoidable.
Our highly qualified drink driving offence solicitors offer:
- 24/7 legal support in person and over the phone, 365 days a year
- Representation anywhere in England and Wales
- Accredited Police Station Representatives to support you during a police interview
- Clear, effective legal advice in any language (see our languages spoken)
Whether you have been accused of a drink driving offence, have been arrested, charged or released on bail or under investigation, get in touch with our drink driving solicitors as soon as possible.
Speak to our drink driving solicitors in London, Manchester and Birmingham today
For an initial consultation on your legal position and the available options, please call 020 7624 7771.
For urgent advice at any time of day or night, please call our emergency number 07836 577556.
Our drink driving solicitors can represent you at Willesden Court if you are due to make an appearance there. This means that our costs will likely be lower, as we are a local firm to the court.
Our drink driving expertise
Driving with excess alcohol
It is a criminal offence to drive on the road or in any other public place while exceeding alcohol limits on your breath or in your blood or urine. Currently, the law in England and Wales states that you cannot drive if you surpass:
- 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath
- 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood
- 107 milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine
If you are found guilty of drink driving, this carries an automatic driving disqualification of at least one year. If you have received a previous conviction for drink driving within the previous 10 years the period of disqualification will be for at least 3 years. Under certain circumstances, drink driving charges extend to a prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine – something that is more likely if you have previous drink driving convictions.
Special Reasons for not disqualifying
In very limited circumstances you may be able to avoid a driving ban even if you are over the prescribed limit by saying there are “special reasons” why the court should not disqualify you from driving. For example, if you are saying the only reason you were over the limit is because your drinks were “spiked” by someone else (and you were unaware of this) you may be able to avoid being disqualified from driving.
However, you would normally have to produce expert evidence to the court to show that, but for the consumption of the laced drinks you would not have been over the prescribed limit. Even then the court has a discretion as to whether or not a disqualification is appropriate.
In the laced drinks scenario, it would be advisable to have the assistance of our solicitors to assist in obtaining all the relevant evidence to put before the court to enable you to have the best opportunity of avoiding a driving ban.
Another example of a “special reason” could be that you had to drive because of an emergency. Again, it may be advisable to have the help of one of our solicitors to advise you whether such a reason is likely to succeed.
Special reasons arguments can be complex and appropriate professional advice is always available from one of our expert solicitors
Defence to driving with excess alcohol
Defences to driving with excess alcohol are extremely limited. The only real defence is that you were not driving the motor vehicle or were not over the drink drive limit. Arguments can be made that the device used to obtain an evidential specimen of breath was malfunctioning in some way. However, this is a complicated area where expert evidence would need to be produced regarding the reliability of the evidential breath machine.
Post incident/ accident alcohol consumption
We have acted in cases where clients have consumed the alcohol post incident or accident. For example,e they have had an accident and drank afterwards whilst waiting for the police.
In these cases, we gather expert alcohol back track reports. We work with experts who prepare these reports.
The penalty for driving with excess alcohol is a maximum of 6 months imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
Drink driving ban guidelines also outline that there is also a compulsory disqualification period of a minimum 12 months. However, if there is a relevant offence (eg a previous drink driving conviction) within the previous 10 years then the minimum period increases to 3 years.
In the event that you have received two or more disqualifications lasting 56 days or more in the last 3 years, there is a compulsory disqualification period of 2 years minimum.
The court, when deciding the length of any disqualification and also any financial penalty refer to Sentencing Guidelines to decide the appropriate disqualification length and other penalty. For example, if the reading was between 60 and 89 in breath the court would be looking to impose 17 to 22 months as the period of disqualification. However, the precise period may vary depending on any aggravating features (eg there was a crash) or mitigating circumstances (eg there were a lack of other aggravating features, it was a genuine emergency or very short distance – the last two could be regarded as “special reasons”
Drink drive courses and reducing your ban
The court may be prepared to offer a “Drink Drive Rehabilitation Course” as an alternative drink driving charge. This means that up to a quarter is taken off the period of disqualification if the offender attends an appropriate course (at his/her own expense). The court will tell the offender when the course has to be completed by. If a person wants to avail themselves of this opportunity they have to agree at the court hearing and cannot decide to apply sometime later. They are not obliged to take the course and if they decide not to take the course they serve the full disqualification period.
If a court finds that there are “special reasons” for not disqualifying they will instead order penalty points to be endorsed on an offenders’ driving record. The number of points is between 3 and 11 penalty points. However, there is still the possibility that a person may be disqualified as a “totter” if the points given by the court will bring the total on the persons’ driving record up to 12.
Failing to provide a specimen
If you are suspected of drink driving, you must provide a specimen when requested by the police. This may include completing a breathalyser test or supplying a blood or urine sample at the police station.
It is an offence to fail to provide a breath specimen at the roadside (a preliminary test) when requested to do so by a police constable. The consequences although serious are not as serious as failing to provide a specimen at the police station. Failing to provide a roadside specimen will lead to points being endorsed on your driving licence. However, the court could possibly impose a driving disqualification. According to drink driving ban guidelines, failing to provide a specimen at the police station carries a mandatory disqualification of at least one year or a minimum of three years if you have a similar or relevant conviction within the last three years.
There is a “reasonable excuse” defence to both failing to provide a roadside test and a specimen at the police station. Usually (but not always) this would involve some sort of medical evidence to show that you were unable to provide the requisite sample. Trying to obtain this evidence by yourself may be problematic and professional advice and assistance may help to put your case in the best light.
The police may as an alternative to requiring a specimen of breath ask you to provide a sample of blood or urine. Again, there is a “reasonable excuse” defence. If for example a person says they have a fear of needles the onus would be on them to produce medical evidence to the court to show such a fear prevented them from complying with the officers request for a sample of blood.
However there have been numerous cases where the higher courts have considered what is and what is not a “reasonable excuse”. It would therefore be advisable if you think you have a reasonable excuse to consult one of our solicitors who can advise you.
There is also the possibility to argue that the test was not carried out properly. This argument usually relates to requests for a sample at the police station. The reliability of the breath test machine can be called in to question or the way the officer conducts the test can be queried. However, both of these are areas where it would be difficult to advance such an argument without professional help.
Unable to blow into a machine due to lung, breathing or health issues can amount to a defence with medical evidence supporting this. Anxiety or stress preventing you from providing a sample may be a defence with supporting medical or other evidence.
Each defence will depend on its own merits and every case is different.
The penalty for failing to provide a specimen at the roadside (a “screening test”) is a maximum fine of £1000.00 and 4 penalty points. A disqualification is discretionary.
The penalty for failing to provide sample for analysis at the police station is 6 months imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. The minimum period of disqualification is 12 months. If there has been a relevant offence within the previous 10 years, the minimum period of disqualification is 3 years
Failing to provide a specimen for a suspected drink driving offence could lead to immediate prosecution, but this isn’t always the case. For instance, you may have a legitimate excuse for not providing a specimen (see above)
The police are required to follow strict procedures when gathering evidence. Failing to follow said procedures may mean they cannot use evidence against you (see above)
We can help to ensure your rights are fully protected and advise you on your options for defending allegations of failing to provide a specimen.
Drunk and in charge of a motor vehicle
It is possible to be charged for a drink driving offence, even if you were not actually driving at the time. You could be accused of being ‘in charge’ of a motor vehicle if you are holding your car keys or are sat in your car while over the drink drive limit.
Defence to drunk in charge of a motor vehicle
It is a defence to a charge of being in charge of a vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit to prove that at the time they are alleged to have committed the offence the circumstances were such that there was no likelihood of them driving the vehicle whilst the proportion of alcohol in breath, blood or urine remained likely to exceed the prescribed limit. Our drunk driving solicitors have a good record of defending in these cases where not guilty pleas are entered.
The maximum penalty for being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol is 3 months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £2500.00. There is the possibility of a discretionary disqualification. If no disqualification is imposed then 10 penalty points are awarded. Again if points are awarded there is the possibility of a disqualification under the “totting up” procedures. When the court decides on sentence it will take into account any aggravating factors such as previous convictions, committing the offence whilst on bail, being in charge of of LGV, HGV, PSV etc or a high likelihood of driving. Examples of mitigating factors the court may take into account include lack of previous convictions, low likelihood of driving or spiked drinks.
Even if convictions for being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle may not be considered as serious as other offences, there may still be highly damaging consequences to a conviction, such as a driving ban, a fine or prison sentence. Our drunk driving solicitors can support you if you are being faced with such a conviction.
Causing serious injury or death by dangerous or careless driving
Causing injury or death by careless or dangerous driving are the most serious forms of driving offences and can carry a penalty as severe as 14 years’ imprisonment. However, the situation can often be aggravated if you were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident.
Expert criminal defence is always required in these situations so that you can build the
strongest possible case to tackle the allegations.
Scientists and Alcohol experts
We can instruct experts to provide alcohol technical defence reports including BAC (blood alcohol concentration) calculations - sometimes called 'back calculation' - and assessments of the viability of spiked drink and hip flask defences. Offences we report on deal with drunk in charge or post driving alcohol consumptions. Our blood-alcohol experts can consider blood or urine test results or stated drug and alcohol intakes and provide advice on the possible effects on state of mind and physical capability at the time of the alleged offences.
We can arrange independent analysis of blood or urine samples for the presence and levels of alcohol and drugs. Our experts can also consider the effects of exposure to drugs, medications, solvents and chemicals.
Alcohol, medications and illicit drugs are widely used and can affect judgement, inhibitions and memory. Often crimes occur where the complainant, defendant or witnesses have consumed drugs or alcohol. We have extensive experience of dealing with impairment and absolute offences under Sections 4 and 5, respectively, of the Road Traffic Act 1988 including all types of 'drink drive' and 'drug drive' allegations.
Why choose our drink driving solicitors?
If you have visited the police station, or the court, for a drink driving offence, then it is imperative that you seek out legal advice from specialist drink driving offence solicitors at the first opportunity.
You will always have the option of using a duty solicitor to defend you for a drink driving offence, but this is not likely to be the most appropriate course of action. In many instances, a duty solicitor will lack the specific expertise required to provide you with robust representation and support you when faced with drink driving convictions – something our drink driving solicitors have in abundance.
Our dedicated drunk driving solicitors have a wealth of combined experience in defending clients accused of drink driving offences and use this knowledge to provide expert advice and representation.
We will guide you through the entire process with clear, straightforward advice that allows you to understand your situation, rights, options and potential outcome.
Our dedicated motoring offence lawyers are ready and available to act in your defence, around the clock, including on weekends and bank holidays.
We can also represent you at Willesden magistrates Court or any London court or Birmingham magistrates court or Manchester magistrates court if you are due to make an appearance there for a drink driving offence. This means that our costs will likely be lower, as we are a local firm to the court.
Funding your motoring law defence
Funding police station representation
If you have been arrested, or are being interview under caution, you are entitled to receive free legal representation. It’s important to note that this can be from a solicitor of your choosing and is not means-tested.
Funding your legal defence if you are prosecuted
If you are charged with a drink driving offence and are prosecuted, you may be able to apply to have some or all of your legal defence covered by something known as a ‘Representation Order’. This is commonly referred to as ‘legal aid’.
The level of financial assistance you are likely to receive and the process you use to make an application will depend on the type of court the prosecution takes place in.
You also have the option to self-fund your legal representation. If this is your preferred approach, we can clearly explain all of the costs and our fee structures. Whether or not you receive legal aid funding, any contribution you make to your legal defence will be refunded if you are found not guilty.
You will not receive the full amount you have incurred. This is because your claim for costs will be assessed by the appropriate authority who assess your costs and determine whether the amount claimed is reasonable. Any claim for costs is likely to be 10 to 20 % of what you incur as they pay the costs on low legal aid rates.
If the case goes to the crown court, you can only recover this low cost if you have applied for legal aid and have been refused on means. In all cases the court has to be satisfied that a costs order should be made and is just. You cannot get an order for costs if you brought the proceedings upon yourself for example by not cooperating with the police.
Contact our drink driving offence solicitors today
For urgent specialist advice, immediate representation or to speak to our solicitors in London, Manchester and Birmingham confidentially about a drink driving offence, please call 020 7624 7771 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form and we will get back to you quickly.
For immediate representation and advice, about drink driving convictions, call our emergency number 07836 577556 and we will provide you with the urgent assistance you need.