I’ve been charged with drink driving, what happens next?
After spending many hours or perhaps the whole night in a cell, you may have been charged and given a court hearing date. At the first hearing of your case,you will be expected to enter a plea. If you plead guilty the Court will proceed to sentence you for the offence. If you enter a not guilty plea then the case will be fixed for a trial at a future date.
What do I do next?
If you think your case is hopeless, think again. There are many ways in which a drink driving charge can be challenged. By taking advice from an expert as early as possible you will give yourself the best chance of avoiding conviction or walking away from Court with the lowest possible penalty.
Why use a drink driving specialist?
Criminal law covers a vast amount of different offences. Such is the complexity of Motoring law, and particularly drink driving, that it is regarded by solicitors and barristers as a specialist area all on its own.
Having been involved exclusively in motoring law for the last 10 years, Managing Director Matthew Miller is one of the most experienced solicitors in drink driving throughout England and Wales.
Any drink driving offence will be regarded as a serious by the Courts; repeat offenders will be disqualified for longer and under some circumstances can also face imprisonment. Roadside breath tests are conducted by Police Officers where an offence is suspected. A driver can be charged with drink driving if he or she is found to be over the alcohol limit.
You May Not Have To Lose Your Licence…
At Kenway Miller Solicitors, we believe that everyone who is accused of drink driving – an offence that has serious repercussions – has the right to know whether there is a defence to the charge. The only way of finding out is by obtaining the advice of an expert.
There are some aspects of the procedure for the taking of breath and blood samples which are mandatory. This means that if they are not followed correctly no conviction for drink driving can follow.
Owing to time and budgetary constraints not all police officers are as well trained as they should be with the result that errors are sometimes made. We find that in a significant number of cases there is either a defence which stands a good prospect of success, or failing that a possible argument that there are special reasons why the otherwise inevitable disqualification should not follow in your case. If our solicitor identifies either a possible defence or a special reason he will give you an honest assessment of your chances of success.
Our lawyers have been successful in around 80% of cases where we have advised either a not guilty plea or that a special reasons argument existed. That proportion was achieved by giving realistic and honest advice, which we shall continue to do.
In cases where no viable defence exists to the drink driving charge, we have regularly succeeded in persuading Magistrates to impose less severe penalties than those which are recommended.
On conviction, drink driving carries a minimum disqualification of 12 months and a fine of up to £5,000. A conviction for drink driving will also lead to a criminal record for 10 years.
How much could I be fined?
-Band A fine =50 % net weekly income
-Band B fine = 100% net weekly income
-Band C fine = 150% net weekly income
Drink Driving Penalty Table
|Type of sample||Reading||Range of Penalties|
|First offence in the last 10 years||Not First offence in the last 10 years|
|Breath||36-59||Band C fine, disqualification of 12-16 months||Same but with Disqualification of between 36-40 months|
|60-89||Band C fine, disqualification of 17-22 months||Same but with Disqualification of between 36-46 months|
|90-119||Low to medium level community order, disqualification of 23-28 months||Same but with disqualification of 36-52 months|
|120-150||Potential custodial sentence of up to 26 weeks, disq of 29-36 months||Same but with disqualification of 36-60 months|
|Blood||81-137||Band C fine, disqualification of 12-16 months||Same but with Disqualification of between 36-40 months|
|138-206||Band C fine, disqualification of 17-22 months||Same but Disqualification of between 36-46 months|
|207-275||Low to medium level community order, disqualification of 23-28 months||Same but with disqualification of 36-52 months|
|276-345||Potential custodial sentence of up to 26 weeks, disq of 29-36 months||Same but with disqualification of 36-60 months|
|Urine||108-183||Band C fine, disqualification of 12-16 months||Same but with Disqualification of between 36-40 months|
|184-274||Band C fine, disqualification of 17-22 months||Same but Disqualification of between 36-46 months|
|275-366||Low to medium level community order, disqualification of 23-28 months||Same but with disqualification of 36-52 months|
|367-459||Potential custodial sentence of up to 26 weeks, disq of 29-36 months||Same but with disqualification of 36-60 months|
The current limits in England and Wales are:-
– 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath;
– 107 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of urine;
– 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.
After a vehicle has been stopped by the police, if they then have grounds to suspect that the driver is under the influence of alcohol they will normally administer a roadside test.
The Police are entitled to stop vehicles randomly but they may not require a roadside test unless there are grounds for suspecting a drink driving offence such as if the driver accepts they have consumed alcohol or is showing signs of intoxication.
If the roadside test is positive the driver will normally be arrested and taken into custody. Whilst at the police station the police will normally make a requirement for two further specimens this time on the larger evidential machine. The lower reading of the two is the one that is used as evidence.
There are some circumstances under which a blood or urine sample may be provided. If you have suffered injuries that require hospital treatment the police may only require blood or urine. If the evidential breath testing machine is not working or has provided an unreliable indication of the amount of alcohol in your breath (eg. the two breath specimens have produced inconsistent readings) then the police may require blood or urine instead of breath. In the case of urine, two samples must be obtained and the first discarded. The sample used must be divided into two parts, one of which must be offered to the accused.
Blood samples must be taken by a doctor or registered healthcare professional. The sample must be divided into two parts, one of which must be offered to the accused.
If at any stage of the procedure, there a reasonable grounds for suspecting that for medical reasons a breath sample may not be provided, a blood or urine specimen may be required. If no breath specimen cannot be provided, it is up to the police officer to decide whether to require a blood sample or a urine sample but any representations by the accused as to which type of sample is to be required must be taken into account.
It is not advisable to refuse to provide a specimen of whatever type is required even if you believe that you have valid grounds for not providing. Such a refusal is unlikely to assist you if you are charged with failure to provide a specimen of breath for analysis.
If a solicitor is available immediately before samples are required the police should allow you to speak to one. However, the police are not obliged to wait until legal advice is given before requiring samples and refusing to provide until it has been given will not be regarded as a defence to failure to provide.
The Court will normally offer the opportunity to attend a rehabilitation course which, if completed, would reduce any disqualification by 25 %. The course must be paid for by the person attending it and normally takes place over 3-4 days. The course aims to educate those who attend about the dangers of drink driving so as to reduce the risk of reoffending.