Our experience as drink driving lawyers is that the majority of people charged with the offence have never been in a similar situation before and therefore do not know what to expect and do not know what happens in court for drink driving offences. We have drawn up some frequently asked questions and answers below.
Do you always get banned for drink driving?
If you plead guilty to drink driving you will be disqualified from driving for at least 12 months. The only exception to this is if the Magistrates find that there are special reasons for not imposing a disqualification. An example of this is if the vehicle was only driven a very short distance and for a legitimate reason or if it can be proven that your drinks were spiked and this is what resulted in a positive reading.
There may be grounds for pleading not guilty to the drink driving charge such as if the reading is unreliable or if procedures have not been followed correctly by the police. If you plead not guilty, this will result in the case being adjourned from the first hearing.
Will I able to use the duty solicitor at Court?
The work that the duty solicitor does is almost always legally aided. Most drink driving cases do not qualify for legal aid therefore, if you want legal help, it is better to arrange this in advance of your court appearance.
How do I know what plea to enter for the offence?
When you appear in Court for the first time, the initial evidence (commonly referred to as advance information) should be made available for you and your solicitor to consider before the case is heard. If there are issues with the prosecution evidence, for example the procedure followed for taking samples from you, then a solicitor can advise you about this in order to provide you with some idea of whether you have a chance of avoiding a conviction.
How do the Magistrates decide how long the disqualification will be?
The main factor is the level of alcohol in your breath, blood or urine specimen. The higher the reading the longer the disqualification will generally be. However, the Magistrates will also take into account mitigating circumstances relating to the offence or the impact a disqualification may have before making a decision. If you have been convicted of a similar offence within the 10 years prior to the drink driving charge for which you are before the Court, then the minimum period of disqualification will be 3 years.
A drink driving rehabilitation course may be made available by the Court which, if completed, reduces the period of disqualification by 25%.
Click hereÃ‚Â to see the penalties for drink driving.
If you have any other questions or would like to enquire about representation please fill out a contact form or call us on 0800 433 4678.