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Drink driving can result in serious consequences. We’re not just talking a few points on your licence; you will likely face a driving ban and possibly even a prison sentence. If you’ve been accused of a drink driving offence, having a specialist driving offence solicitor on your side can be life-changing.
At Johnson Astills, we help people facing serious driving offences, providing practical legal advice and support to reduce the impact on your life.
We can assist with all drink driving cases, including:
- Driving with excess alcohol
- Failure to provide a specimen
- Being drunk in charge
- Special Reasons
We’re recognised as one of the top 3 driving offence solicitors in Leicester for our strong track record of success, excellent client feedback, and reasonable pricing.
We’ve also been awarded the Law Society Criminal Litigation Accreditation reflecting the high quality of our criminal defence services.
Our Head of Crime, Michelle Harding, leads a highly experienced team of lawyers, accredited police station representatives and higher court advocates. We can represent you at every stage of your case, from the moment you’re arrested to any court hearings in the Magistrates’ Court, Crown Court, Youth Court and appeal courts. This means that you have consistent service from lawyers you can trust, knowing they have your best interests at heart at all times.
Michelle has over 15 years’ experience in the Johnson Astills team. Our team also includes Managing Director, Helen Johnson, who has over 30 years’ post-qualification experience. So, your case will always supervised by someone with the right level of experience for your case.
We know exactly how these types of offences can affect your life, from preventing you to work to ruining your reputation. We also know what steps to take to minimise the impact, including developing strong defence strategies and arguing special reasons.
We undertake both Legal Aid and privately funded work, including fixed fees wherever possible.
Driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol
It is a criminal offence to drive or attempt to drive a motor vehicle on a road or in a public place while exceeding alcohol limits on your breath or in your blood or urine. The limit for breath is 35mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The limit for blood is 80 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood and for urine the limit is 107 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.
If you are stopped by police and asked to provide a roadside breath test and you fail the test, you will be arrested and taken to a local station where you will be required to provide an evidential sample. If the sample provided is over the limit for breath, blood or urine you will be charged with the offence. The amount of alcohol in your system will depend on a number of factors including your weight, age, height and metabolism. Other factors include when you consumed the alcohol, any medication you have taken and what you have eaten. These are all factors that we consider when advising you in respect of the charge.
If you are convicted of drink driving by pleading guilty or convicted after trial there are a number of ways that the Court can deal with you including a fine, Community Order or imprisonment. The offence also carries a minimum 12-month period of disqualification, unless the Court is satisfied there are Special Reasons not to disqualify you.
We are able to assist in minimising the impact a drink drive conviction has on you with mitigation to the Magistrates. This could include an argument regarding Special Reasons and seeking to persuade the Magistrates to allow you to complete the Drink Drive Rehabilitation Course (DDRC) which would reduce any period of disqualification by 25%.
Failing to provide a specimen of breath
If suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol you will be required to provide a specimen of breath. If you refuse to provide you will be arrested and taken to the station where you will be required to provide an evidential test. If you refuse at this stage, you are likely to be charged with failure to provide.
It is not a defence to deny either you were not driving or over the limit. If the police have reasonable grounds to suspect you were driving and you refuse to provide a sample without a good reason you are likely to be guilty of the offence.
Other examples where a reasonable excuse has not been found include wanting legal advice before providing a specimen, refusing to provide blood unless a doctor is present, religious beliefs and being mistaken.
The police must give you a warning that failing to provide a specimen or sample is an offence. If this is not given the prosecution may not be successful. The defence of reasonable excuse is available and often medical conditions such as asthma or a needle phobia could be deemed a reasonable excuse. Expert evidence will be required in this situation therefore it is vital to obtain legal advice early.
If convicted of failing to provide there is a mandatory minimum 12-month disqualification. If you have been convicted of a qualifying offence in the previous 10 years, the minimum disqualification is 3 years. In addition, you could be fined, given a Community Order or receive up to 6 months imprisonment.
If you were not driving the vehicle but were in charge of it and fail to give a specimen the sentence is different. There is no mandatory disqualification however, it is a matter for the Magistrates and if they choose not to disqualify you, they must endorse your licence with 10 penalty points.
A conviction for failing to provide is likely to have a serious impact on your daily life therefore you need to obtain legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
Drunk in Charge
It often comes as a surprise that you can be charged with a drink driving offence even if the police did not catch you driving. For example, if you are holding car keys and sitting in your car while under the influence of alcohol, you could be accused of being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle. If there is a risk that you would have driven the vehicle whilst under the influence, you will be guilty of the offence. The Court will be asked to look at the factors in the case which could include whether you are sat in the driver seat, whether the keys are in the ignition and the engine is running.
It is a defence to prove you had no intention of driving the vehicle. Expert evidence is often relied on and will include looking at the state of the vehicle and whether it was moveable or whether you would have been under the legal limit when you planned to drive.
Being drunk in charge may not appear to be as dangerous as drink driving, but conviction can have serious consequences, including a driving ban, a fine and a prison sentence. So, having a motoring offence specialist on side to defend you is essential.
Special Reasons – Drink Driving
Special Reasons is not a defence but an argument surrounding the circumstances of the offence and if argued successfully, could avoid or reduce a disqualification. The argument is specifically around the drink driving incident itself and not personal mitigating circumstances.
What is a ‘Special Reason’?
The matter must:
- A mitigating or extenuating circumstance
- Not amount to a defence of the charge
- Be directly connected with the commission of the drink drive
- Be one that the Court ought properly to take into consideration when imposing the sentence
Examples of these could be; spiked drinks, a short distance driven or driven in an emergency. These are just a few examples as to what could constitute a successful special reasons argument.
The Magistrates have a discretion not to disqualify from driving if special reasons are found in connection with the offence.
How our drink driving offence solicitors can help you
Our drink driving legal fees
Visit our Motoring Offences Pricing page for information about our legal fees or get in touch for a quote.
Get in touch with our drink driving lawyers in Leicester and Loughborough
For immediate expert representation for a suspected drink driving offence in Leicester, Loughborough and throughout the country, please get in touch.