Tag Archives: drink drive

The Morning After the Night Before

When people think about those being caught drink or drug driving, the cliche involves a man leaving a pub late at night, being seen to be driving erratically and then being stopped by the police.  Although this scenario may often be the the backdrop to an arrest for drink or drug driving, often the story is quite different.

christmas drink drive campaign
Christmas drink drive campaign 2019 graphic

The morning after the night before begins with a headache, followed by groans as the body and mind adjusts to the horrible thought that this is not a weekend and work beckons.

A quick shower revives the senses and off to work you go. Traffic is heavy as usual, drivers as intolerant as ever, and the rain contributes only to a sour mood amongst drivers. Then bang – a relatively minor shunt causing minimal damage to really kick off the day well.

It is, however. often this kind of minor road traffic incident that will cause traffic chaos at a peak time and attract the attention of the police with the result that there is roadside testing for drink and drugs.

christmas drink drive campaign 2019

The fact that you look great, feel fine and are not responsible for the accident will do nothing to mitigate the alcohol or drug levels in your body.  Anyone who tells you that you can confidently predict alcohol or drug levels the morning after is not telling the truth.

What happens next may make the earlier headache pale into insignificance.

An arrest, charge and court appearance resulting in a minimum period of disqualification.

Will you keep your job? What will your partner say?

christmas drink drive campaign 2019

The safest message remains ‘none for the road’.

In some cases, there are legal defences available, and we can discuss these with you.

Sometimes there are arguments to avoid a disqualification.

When a legal defence is not possible, we work hard to mitigate the sentence and get your life back on track.

The Christmas drink drive campaign 2019

Your local police force will now have in place its Christmas and New Year drink and drug driving campaign, roadside testing will increase, and officers will be extra vigilant.  You can read about the Nottinghamshire campaign here.

We hope that you do not need our services over the festive period, but if you so please be assured that we are here, on your side 24 hours a day.

christmas drink drive campaign 2019

Contact a drink drive specialist lawyer

If you do make a mistake and find yourself in trouble, there is a lot we can do to assist you.

In some cases the police will want to interview you about the offence.  If this is the case, whether under arrest or as a volunteer, always make sure you seek our free and independent legal advice.  You can read about the benefits here.

The police must follow complex procedures to establish a case against you.  Our lawyers will be able to analyse the evidence to ensure that the procedures have been followed.  We can successfully challenge the evidence in your case.

A road traffic solicitor can also investigate issues such as ‘laced drinks’ which can raise the opportunity to avoid disqualification.  We will also consider other ‘special reasons’ that could be raised on your behalf.  This might include the shortness of distance that was driven.

Well-presented mitigation can make a real difference to the outcome. Even where a disqualification cannot be avoided, we can often achieve a reduction in length.

Legal aid might be available dependent upon your means and the circumstances of your case.  Alternatively, you will be able to fund your case through an affordable fixed fee.

Contact one of our drink drive solicitors at your nearest office if you are being investigated by the police or taken to court as a result of the Christmas drink drive campaign.  They will, of course, be able to discuss and other driving matters that you face.

Alternatively you can use the contact form below to ask for a call about your case.



The Christmas drink drive campaign – more stops, more prosecutions

None for The Road – the Christmas drink drive campaign

With Halloween and Bonfire Night behind us it now won’t be long before Christmas is in our sights and the Christmas party season gets underway. It means that it is now time for the Christmas drink drive campaigns from your local police forces.

We will now all be familiar with the national police initiative that coincides with this time of year. Once again the police will be targeting drink driving.   Forces across the country prepare for a christmas drink drive campaignspike in the numbers of those tested and arrested for drink driving and drug driving offences.  This in part is due to an increase in police patrols dedicated to seeking out drink drivers and part as a result of the time of the year.

The more visible presence is in order to deter those who may think about drinking and driving.

The impact of a drink drive conviction

People may not view these offences as particularly serious when judged against other types of offences.  What is not often understood is the very real impact that the consequences of a drink drive conviction can have.

Research shows that the loss of a driving licence leads, in a great many cases, to loss of employment. This in turn can lead to a loss of housing as bills cannot be paid.  Sometimes a disqualification from driving could be the final straw that breaks a relationship. The financial costs flowing from a driving ban will be felt for many years thereafter.   Insurance premiums will be greatly increased.

Driving the morning after

christmas drink drive campaignAs experienced road traffic solicitors we also see a great many people who come before the courts with alcohol readings that are not particularly high.  This might be where offences have been detected the ‘morning after’.  In such cases, offences can be said to have been committed perhaps more out of ignorance than due to a wilful disregard for the safety of others.

A single error of judgment can have devastating consequences.

What is a safe level of drinking if I propose to drive?

No alcohol at all is the safest approach to adopt.  It ensures that when a driver gets behind the wheel, their reactions will not be christmas drink drive campaignimpaired to any degree at all.

Crucially it also prevents the driver getting the guesswork wrong as to how much can be drunk before a person is over the limit.  It is this mistake that brings so many people before the courts.

There are urban myths in circulation such as ‘2 pints are ok’.  These have long since been proved to be false, as have back of the envelope calculations as to how long it takes alcohol to leave the body.  Sleeping of a heavy drinking session will not speed up the rate at which alcohol leaves your body.  A big meal may slow down the rate at which you absorb alcohol, but you will end up with the same amount of alcohol in your system.

Different people will deal with alcohol in different ways.  This can even vary for one person depending on a multitude of factors.  Merely feeling okay to drive is not a reliable indicator as to whether a driver is below the legal limit or not.

As we get merry, we reach a tipping point.  We can make foolish choices that will prove costly, sometimes not just measured in financial terms but in injury and even loss of life.

Think, before you drink, before you drive.

You do not hear a lawyer say this often – but we do not wish to see you this Christmas as a result of the Christmas drink drive campaign.

christmas drink drive campaign legal advice

How we can assist with your drink drive case

If you do make a mistake and find yourself in trouble, there is a lot we can do to assist you.

The police must follow complex procedures to establish a case against you.  Our lawyers will be able to analyse the evidence to ensure that the procedures have been followed.  We can successfully challenge the evidence in your case.

A road traffic solicitor can also investigate issues such as ‘laced drinks’ which can raise the opportunity to avoid disqualification.  We will also consider other ‘special reasons’ that could be raised on your behalf.  This might include the shortness of distance that was driven.

Well-presented mitigation can make a real difference to the outcome. Even where a disqualification cannot be avoided, we can often achieve a reduction in length.

Legal aid might be available dependent upon your means and the circumstances of your case.  Alternatively, you will be able to fund your case through an affordable fixed fee.

Contact one of our drink drive solicitors at your nearest office if you are being investigated by the police or taken to court as a result of the Christmas drink drive campaign.  They will, of course, be able to discuss and other driving matters that you face.

Alternatively you can use the contact form below to ask for a call about your case.





Motoring law solicitor secures suspended sentence.

chesterfield motoring law solicitor
Chesterfield crime and motoring law solicitor Kevin Tomlinson

Chesterfield Crime Solicitor Kevin Tomlinson has a wealth of experience defending motoring law offences.  He is known for his calm and unflappable approach which places clients at ease in what is often an alien environment for them.  These qualities are demonstrated by this particular case.


Kevin was instructed by a client who was accused of drink driving.  She had provided a specimen of breath showing that she was nearly three times the legal drink drive limit.

Investigation of a procedural irregularity

chesterfield motoring law solicitorOur client was prepared to plead guilty to the offence and was seeking advice as to the likely penalty she would receive.  Kevin, however, sought his client’s instructions on the full circumstances of the offending and began to check the evidence that the prosecution had.

While there was no doubt that Kevin’s client had drunk alcohol before driving, the level has to be above the legal limit to drive. in order to convict her of the offence, therefore, the prosecution had to show that the evidence of the breath specimen was reliable.

If you are investigated for drink driving and provide a sample of breath at the police station you will be given a print out of the reading provided by the machine.

In this case, the printout provided to our client showed that there had been an error. The layout of the paperwork appeared to be wrong.  Kevin could not be sure that the breath test had been performed correctly.

At court Kevin spoke with the prosecutor to see if they had the same documentation as his client.   The prosecutor did not.  Their copy of the printout was correct.  It appeared, for whatever reason, that our client’s version had been incorrectly printed.

chesterfield motoring law solicitorKevin then took the time to speak with his client again.  It seemed clear that the machine had been working properly, bearing in mind his client’s instructions about how much she had had to drink and the prosecution copy of the printout.  Further, the decision that she made on plea would be important as the starting point on sentence in her case was a twelve week custodial sentence due to the level of the reading.

Would she choose to try and take advantage of a potential loop hole and risk loss of mitigation and prison if she was found guilty?

Suspended sentence followed a guilty plea

Having taken further instructions, it was clear that our client wanted to plead guilty and not try to challenge the reliability of the machine.

Following her plea, Kevin was able to advance substantial personal mitigation on her behalf which is always more compelling if it follows a guilty plea.  Kevin’s calm and measured approach persuaded the Magistrates that any sentence of imprisonment could be suspended.  In addition to the suspended sentence she also receive the inevitable driving ban.

She was extremely relieved and pleased with the outcome.

You can read more about the importance of an early guilty plea and and an expression of remorse here.

Contact an expert motoring law solicitor

Kevin Tomlinson is based at our Chesterfield office, but is able to provide nationwide advice and representation.  If you wish to instruct Kevin then his contact details can be found here.

We will always advise you as to your entitlement to criminal legal aid to ensure your free representation in the Magistrates’ Court.

You can read more about that here.

Alternatively, if one of our other offices is more convenient then you can find these contact details here.

chesterfield motoring law solicitor

You can also use the contact form below:


New machines target drink drivers with roadside breath tests

The government has announced its intention to use new breathalysers to administer roadside breath tests.  This move could see a further 6,000 convictions per year for those who drink and drive.

roadside breath tests

Roadside breath tests followed by evidential tests

At the moment, breath test procedures are in two stages.  Those who test positive during roadside breath tests will be arrested and taken to a police station.   This is for a further test to be administered.  The second test is known as the ‘evidential test’.  It is the result of this test that forms the basis of any prosecution decision.

The gap in time between the first positive roadside breath tests and the ones administered at the police station may be significant enough to ensure that a person blows a negative reading.   This would be due to falling alcohol levels over time.  In some cases, however, the reverse can also happen.

Although the law permits ‘back calculations’ to be undertaken,  the evidence base is such that they are seldom used by the prosecution in this scenario.  As a result it has been argued that some drink drivers go free.

roadside breath tests

The legislation providing a procedure for definitive evidential roadside breath tests is already in place.  In June 2018 the government has announced a competition aimed at device manufacturers, with the aim of ensuring that suitable devices are approved and in use for roadside breath tests by 2020.

Around 460 000 breath tests are conducted each year.  Approximately 59 000 people providing a positive reading.

Approximately 6 000 people provide a positive reading at the roadside but are later found to be under the limit when tested at the police station.  This change will see those people prosecuted.

In many instances these will be people who have ‘gambled’ on a quick lunchtime drink or have not allowed quite enough time to sober up from the night before.

roadside breath tests

The changes will also reduce the scope for so-called ‘loophole defences’.  These have been made popular due to the complexities of the police station procedure. It is expected that decades of case law will become redundant once the new devices are being used.

Experience does, however, tell us that legal challenges will continue to be developed even when other avenues of law are closed to suspects and defendants.

The penalties for drink driving are severe.  There are minimum periods of disqualification.  These can be combined with high financial penalties and punishing insurance premiums for many years to come.  Prison sentences will be imposed in the most extreme cases.  As a result, many offenders face the loss of employment.

How can we assist?

Our motoring solicitors are experts in all aspects of drink and drug driving law. This is one of the most complex areas of criminal law.  Early advice should be sought to ensure that you achieve the best outcome in your case.

In some recent cases we have successfully argued a medical defence to failing to provide a specimen, argued special reasons to avoid a disqualification from driving   and conducted  a trial securing a not guilty verdict for our client facing drug driving charges.

In some case, such as this one, our clients accept that they are guilty but wish to mitigate the usual effect of a conviction, such as a disqualification.

We have expert road traffic lawyers at our six offices across the East Midlands.  Find your nearest office here.  Alternatively you can use the contact form below.



Failing to provide a specimen of breath trial success

Nottingham criminal duty solicitor Jameel Malik represented a client before Nottingham Magistrates’ Court who faced trial for failing to provide a specimen of breath for analysis.

Our client’s vehicle found abandoned

Police officers had found an empty vehicle in a ditch.  They had carried out investigations and discovered who the vehicle belonged to.  The vehicle was owned by Jameel’s client so the police visited his address to speak to him.

The door had been opened by our client who was asked to provide a breath test, the officers having reasonable cause to believe that he had been driving whilst under the influence of alcohol.  Jameel’s client refused.  He stated that this was because he had a medical condition that prevented him providing a sample.

failing to provide a specimenBecause of this, the officer made further enquiries and asked our client to make further disclosure of his symptoms.  The police officer was provided with excuses that included poor mental health and depresssion.  He had suffered a broken neck in the past and had something lodged in his throat.

Our client admitted that the vehicle was his, he had driven into the ditch and could not get out, and having walked home had then drunk a large amount of red wine.

The officer continued to warn the suspect that if he failed to provide a specimen of breath for analysis then he would have no choice but to arrest him for failing to provide a specimen for analysis.  Eventually, the office’s patience ran out and our client was arrested and taken to Newark police station.

Medical reasons given at the police station

Unsurprisingly, at the police station, our client was requested to provide a specimen of breath on the machine at the police station.  Again, our client provided a list of reasons why he could not when asked whether he had medical reasons.  He talked of breathlessness, severe panic attacks and anxiety, as well as other medical conditions.

Jameel’s client made two attempts to provide a specimen of bread for analysis.  On both occasions they registered as a fail because he had not blown hard enough.  The officer believed that the failure to provide had been deliberate.  Our client was also seen by a medic while in custody who offered the opinion that there was no medical reason for failing to provide a specimen.

Finally, having been charged with failing to provide a specimen at the police station, our client was asked to provide a specimen to check that he was under the limit to drive.  He successfully did so, into a handheld device.

Client account supported by medical evidence

The issue for trial was whether our client had a reasonable excuse for failing to provide a specimen for analysis in the police station.

During the trial, the Magistrates heard evidence from the officer who carried out procedure at the police station.  Jameel questioned him as to why he had not given his client the opportunity to provide blood or urine as an alternative to breath.  Footage from a body worn camera was available, as was CCTV from the custody suite.

Jameel’s client then gave evidence as to his reasons for not providing.  A psychiatrist also provided evidence about his mental state.  He had, in fact, been suffering from anxiety all his life.  When placed in the situation he had been in at the police station and asked to provide a sample of breath his anxiety levels increased, with his mental state influencing his ability to provide a specimen of breath.

Not guilty of failing to provide a specimen

After hearing all of the evidence and Jameel’s address to the court, the Magistrates were persuaded by the evidence and his argument.  Jameel’s client was found not guilty of failing to provide a specimen.

Contact a motoring law solicitor

failing to provide a specimen
Crime solicitor Jameel Malik

If you face an allegation of failing to provide a specimen for analysis, or any other road traffic offence, you will want to instruct a specialist.  Jameel can be contacted at our Nottingham office on 0115 9599550.  We have experts at all of our other offices as well.

Contact details for all of our offices can be found here.

Alternatively you can use the contact form below.


Chesterfield solicitor mitigates in drink drive case

With Christmas fast approaching the yearly anti-drink driving campaigns will soon be splashed across TV, Radio and Social Media.  You can find more information about that here, but we simply repeat the advice relating to drink drive:

  • the easiest way to avoid problems is not to take any alcohol before you drive
  • be very careful the next morning and consider public transport if you have been drinking the night before.

drink drive legal aid solicitor ChesterfieldWe know, despite people being aware of the advice.  people still make mistakes.  In most cases this involves a momentary lapse in judgement from a person who has never been in trouble with the police before.  A conviction for drink driving can have a serious impact on an individual and have a very real effect on their life.

We will  try our best to minimise this impact where possible.  This might be by fighting the allegation at trial or putting forward effective mitigation on sentence.

Chesterfield Criminal Solicitor David Gittins is regularly before Chesterfield Magistrates Court representing his clients in such cases.  He  was recently instructed by a client who had been involved in an accident whilst drink driving.  As a result he faced a custodial sentence. Due to David’s assistance his client was able to avoid a prison sentence.

The Allegation

legal aid drink drive solicitor chesterfieldDavid’s client had been charged with drink driving following a road traffic incident.  She had driven into the rear of a vehicle before driving off.  She was followed home by a member of the public who had realised she was drunk.  As a result the police were called.

David’s client had very little recollection of the incident.  In police interview she accepted the evidence and because of this made admissions in interview.

She was found to have been just below three times the legal limit to drive.  Being aware of the position she had placed herself in, she chose to instruct David before here first court appearance.  As a result, David was able to give early advice and prepare the case in time for the hearing.  Part of that advice was to remind his client that there would be credit for an early guilty plea.  This is a reduction in the final sentence imposed.

Our client was a mother holding down two jobs to provide for her family.  As a result, she was understandably upset about the risk of a prison sentence.

The Sentence

drink drive solicitor Chesterfield legal aidFollowing his client’s guilty plea to drink driving, David mitigated on her behalf.  He was able to focus on the positive elements of his client’s character and future.  Although an immediate prison sentence was a possibility, David argued that these positive aspects of mitigation meant that she could retain her liberty.

David’s client was received a Suspended Sentence Order for this drink drive offence because of this mitigation.  This meant that provided she adhered to a curfew and undertook unpaid work in the community she would not be sent to prison.  She also received the mandatory disqualification from driving.

Free legal aid in the Magistrates’ Court for this drink drive case

legal aid solicitor for drink drive caseDue to the serious nature of this case and the real risk of prison and therefore loss of livelihood, free Magistrates’ Court legal aid was available.   for the Defendant meaning all of David’s representation was free of charge.

Instruct a Chesterfield Motoring Law expert

Whether you face a police investigation for a road traffic offence or have court proceedings pending you will wish to instruct an expert motoring law solicitor.  Please contact David at our Chesterfield office on 01246 283000.

legal aid solicitor for drink drive case

Alternatively, you can contact a solicitor at one of out other five offices across the East Midlands or use the contact form below.


Mansfield motoring law solicitor secures suspended sentence for client

Mansfield motoring law solicitor Emma Cornell persuaded Magistrates to impose a sentence that dealt with the issues underlying her client’s offending.

An inevitable prison sentence?

Emma first met her client in the cells at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court.  He had been kept by the police for a remand into custody.  This was because he faced new charges of drink driving and driving whilst disqualified.

Unfortunately, these charges were his eighth relating to excess alcohol and third for driving whilst disqualified.  He had received prison sentences for all of his more recent offences.

The seriousness of these offences was aggravated by his history of offending and because he was driving in breach of a court order.

Breaking the cycle of offending?

Sometimes it is right for a court to try and break a cycle of offending.  In this particular case it was clear that Emma’s client had a problem with alcohol.  When in drink he made poor choices and this led to the offending that kept on bringing him back to court.

mansfield motoring law solicitor drink driveThe maximum sentence that could be imposed in his case was one of six months imprisonment, even for the combination of offences.  As he had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity the sentence was likely to be less than the maximum, even bearing in mind his record.

This meant that he would serve less that 3 months in prison.  He would not receive any assistance while in custody to address his problems.  It seemed unlikely that any meaningful work would be done by probation under licence following his release.

An alcohol treatment requirement

The Magistrates were therefore presented with a stark choice.  Emma persuaded them that there was a better option than a simple prison sentence.  These sentences had failed to work in the past in terms of deterrence or rehabilitation.

After hearing Emma’s persuasive mitigation the Magistrates adopted the probation recommendation.  This was for a suspended sentence coupled with an alcohol treatment requirement.  The aim is to reduce or eliminate a person’s dependency upon alcohol.  This is made possible by the help of specialist agencies working in the community.

Positive client feedback

mansfield motoring law solicitorEmma’s client knew how close he had been to receiving a further prison sentence.  As a result he took the time to write a card and buy flowers to reflect the work Emma carried out on his behalf.  While such thanks is not expected, it is always gratefully received.

Contact Mansfield motoring law solicitor Emma Cornell

mansfield motoring law solicitor emma cornell
Mansfield road traffic solicitor Emma Cornell

Whether you need advice on a police investigation or documentation that you have received from the court then you will wish to contact Mansfield motoring law solicitor Emma.

She will advise you on whether you have a potential defence or whether, for example, special reasons or exceptional exist to avoid a driving disqualification.

Please call her on 01623 675816 or use the contact form below.


Mansfield road traffic solicitor secures constructive sentence for client

Mansfield road traffic solicitor Tim Haines provided advice and representation to a client facing a custodial sentence for a second drink drive conviction within 8 years.

mansfield road traffic solicitor tim haines
Mansfield Magistrates’ Court

The client’s situation was made worse by the circumstances of the case.  He rolled his car in the early hours of the morning and then abandoned it.  When he provided a sample of breath he was over twice the legal limit to drive.

Tim’s client had been out of trouble for sometime, having put significant difficulties with drink behind him.  Unfortunately, the loss of a close family member meant that he turned once again to drink.  This offence was committed at the end of that period.

An early guilty plea

We provided advice that an early guilty plea would stand our client in good stead at his sentencing date.  Tim also advised that character references should be obtained setting out all of the good work that his client had done on his own behalf to tackle his drinking.  They could also touch on the effect of the bereavement upon him.

Hospice staff were kind enough to provide written confirmation of the closeness of our client and the deceased, and the meetings that they had leading up to his death.

The Magistrates’ were persuaded that there should be some input from the probation service to investigate alternatives to custody.  The probation office liaised with third party agencies who had been assisting our client on a voluntary basis since he was charged with this offence.

A prison sentence was avoided

Careful mitigation that stressed the particular circumstances of this case and our client’s clear intention to put his drinking behind him again mean that he received a community order.  This involved unpaid work.  Supervision was not necessary due to the efforts he was making on his own behalf.

He was of course subject to a lengthy driving disqualification.  This can be reduced if he completes the alcohol impaired drivers course.

Contact a Mansfield road traffic solicitor

Although there are always serious risks involved with any allegation of drink driving there are sometimes compelling circumstances that will allow the court to depart from the expected sentence.  An experienced solicitor such as Tim will provide you with advice as to how best to prepare for sentence, and then try to secure the best outcome through his expert mitigation on your behalf.

In a case such as this, free criminal legal aid might be available for your representation in the Magistrates’ Court dependent upon your means.  We will always give you advice on how best to fund your case.

Mansfield crime solicitor Tim Haines drink drive representation
Mansfield road traffic solicitor Tim Haines

If you wish to discuss your case then please call Tim on 01623 675816 or use the enquiry form below.




Shortness of distance driven avoids drink driving ban

shortness of distance driven special reasons
Newark crime solicitor Ian Carter

Newark criminal solicitor Ian Carter recently represented a client at a special reasons hearing.  The hearing was successful.  His client avoided the usual driving disqualification owing to the shortness of distance driven.

There are very limited circumstances in which a driving disqualification can be avoided for an offence of drink driving.  You might be able to do so if you can show that ‘special reasons’ exist that allow the Magistrates’ to use their discretion not to impose a driving ban.

Factors for a successful Special Reasons argument

In deciding on such an argument, the court will look at the following factors that relate to the offence:

  • How the vehicle was driven
  • The manner I which it was driven
  • The state of the vehicle
  • Whether the driver intended to drive any further
  • The prevailing road and traffic conditions at the time
  • Whether there is any possibility of danger by coming into contact with other road users
  • The reason for the vehicle being driven in the first place

You will see that these factors do not relate to the personal circumstances of the offender.

Shortness of Distance Driven

In this case, Ian argued on behalf of his client that a special reason existed owing to the shortness of distance driven.  His client had been seen moving a van that had been parked on The Wharf in Newark from a roadside parking bay across to a car park.

The distance involved was no more than 30 yards.

As Ian is based in Newark he was able to visit the scene without difficulty.  He was also able to speak with a local traffic warden and discuss how the parking in that area was policed.  This was information that was used at the final hearing.

Ian’s client gave evidence to the court that she had moved the vehicle in the early hours to avoid receiving a parking ticket.  Her intention was to collect the vehicle the next day.  Our client’s partner also gave evidence in support of this account.  The agreed police evidence showed the shortness of distance driven and that the journey was concluded.

Ian was able to use court room technology to show the Magistrates’ the area using Google Maps and Street View.  This allowed the court to properly understand that the risks involved in moving the van were low.

Special Reasons found, driving ban avoided

The Magistrates found that there were special reasons not to disqualify.  The evidence given was credible and established the shortness of distance driven.  There was no  bad driving.  Due to the time there were no pedestrians or other vehicles.  This meant there was little risk to others.  The Magistrates were sure that there was no intention to drive further until the following day.  Ian’s client would have been under the legal limit to drive when she collected the vehicle.

As a result, although she was fined, Ian’s client did not receive a driving ban.  If you are due before the court for an offence that could lead to a disqualification then it will help to instruct a solicitor.  You may be entitled to free legal aid for your representation or be able to take advantage of an affordable fixed fee.

Contact a Newark Criminal Solicitor for Newark cases

If you are being investigated by the police or face court proceedings then please contact Newark criminal defence lawyer Ian Carter on  or email him here.

If you face police investigation or criminal proceedings elsewhere then you can find your local office here.

Special Reasons Avoid Drink Drive Ban

Mansfield crime solicitor Melanie Hoffman successfully argued special reasons so that her client did not receive a penalty or disqualification despite driving while over the legal limit.

Facts of the Case

Mel’s client had driven to his local pub to enjoy an evening with a friend.  This was a regular arrangement and he had every intention of walking home.

Instead of having a pleasant evening, he and his friend were assaulted in the pub by a group of strangers who entered the pub shortly before closing time.  They were heavily in drink and intent on causing further trouble and threats were made.

Upon leaving the pub, Mel’s client and his friend were again confronted by members of this group, who were by now brandishing tools as weapons.  He and his friend sought sanctuary in the works van, only for this to come under attack.

Some of  the group were able to open the passenger side door with a view to pulling the passenger from the van.  Mel’s client decided that despite having drunk alcohol, his only option was to drive the van off the pub car park.  He genuinely feared for his own and his friend’s safety.

Once on the road the van was pursued by the group who were running after the group and also going to vehicles.  As a result, our client had no alternative but to continued to drive in the direction of the local police station.  Whilst doing so  he called the police via his hands free kit to explain the situation.  The police station was unmanned so that the he needed to continue to drive,  ensuring that he kept in constant contact with the Police as he did so.

Eventually the pursuit came to an end and he was able to pull over and park the van,  knowing that the Police were in attendance to assist. The Police chose to carry out a breath test, which the Defendant failed. He was ultimately charged with a drink drive offence, despite what might have amounted to compelling public interest reasons to the contrary.

Special Reasons Identified

Special Reasons Drink Drive Mansfield
Mansfield Magistrates’ Court

Upon taking instructions from her client, Mel correctly advised him that a plea of guilty would have to be entered as he had driven on a public road whilst over the legal limit to do.  The Crown would not consider withdrawing proceedings.   He would be able, however, to put a special reasons argument before the court to seek to avoid punishment and a driving disqualification that would normally follow such a plea.

He would argue that he had only driven because he genuinely feared for the safety of himself and his friend, and a sober individual would have done the same in these circumstances.

To ensure that her client placed the best argument before the Magistrates, Mel:

  • took detailed statements from the friend and pub licensee
  • ensured that this evidence was agreed by the prosecution
  • played the 999 call made by her client to the court

At the court hearing, Mel’s client gave evidence on his own behalf, and by the conclusion of the case there could be no doubt that the facts were as he described.

The Magistrates found that special reasons did apply in this case.  He received an absolute discharge and no driving disqualification. There was no endorsement of the matter on his driving record and he did not have to pay any prosecution costs.

Contact Melanie Hoffman

It may be that if you are arrested for drinking and driving then you are interviewed by the police.  If so, it is vital that you seek our free and independent legal advice at that stage to make sure that you provide the detail that might provide you with a defence or special reasons to avoid a disqualification.

There are a number of other reasons why you should choose to instruct us at the police station.  They can be found here.

There are a limited number of special reasons that can be put forward to avoid a driving disqualification for a drink drive offence, so if we haven’t been at the police station you will want to instruct us for court proceedings.  We will always advise you about your entitlement to criminal legal aid for Magistrates’ Court representation.

Mel is currently on maternity leave, but if you are being investigated or face court proceedings then please contact her colleagues Tim Haines or Emma Cornel on 01623 675816 or use the contact form below: