Tag Archives: excess alcohol

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.





Drink Driving – the reality

Many people have an image of a typical drink driver. Perhaps the image is of an overweight man, staggering from the pub after an all-day session and getting into his car. A few minutes later that car being pulled over by police officers due to erratic driving.

Although that is sometime the story behind a drink driving case. it is not the most common one that we see. It is more likely to be similar to Sue’s story.

drink driving

Sue leaves the party, sensibly gets into a taxi and later catches a few hours sleep before the next workday begins.

She feels a little tired but otherwise perfectly fine. Sue embarks on a leisurely drive along a familiar route until out of nowhere a car appears. Her journey is broken by the sound of scraping bumpers and an angry motorist demanding insurance details. A miserable start to her day!

On the plus side, nobody is hurt, it’s a simple insurance job.

That is until the traffic chaos catches the attention of a passing patrol car.

drink driving offences

Sue’s nightmare is about to begin

Ten minutes later Sue is in handcuffs on her way to a police station. Eight hours later she is charged with drink driving. Two days later she has been banned from driving for 18 months and shamed in the local paper.

A vast number of people find themselves before the court as a result of the ‘morning after’ effects of alcohol consumption. Whilst we can make assumptions about the average time it might take for alcohol to leave our system, these are rarely accurate in real life. The drink drive limit is quite low, so there is little margin for error. Even quite moderate alcohol consumption in the evening can leave you over the legal limit the morning after.

Otherwise sensible, law-abiding and hardworking people find themselves before a court facing not only a loss of licence but sometimes a loss of employment as well.

driving disqualification

How we can help

We would sooner not see you at all, but if you do face court proceedings, do not confront them alone. We all make mistakes.

Contact your nearest office here.

Alternatively you can use the contact form below.


Police Identification Challenged in Excess Alcohol Trial



not guilty trial excess alcohol identification evidence
Nottingham crime solicitor Alex Chapman

Nottingham crime solicitor Alex Chapman secured an acquittal for a client facing a charge of driving with excess alcohol.  The trial was heard before Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.

The issue at trial was the correctness of the identification.  A police officer out on patrol saw a vehicle driving with a faulty brake light so the officer drove alongside the vehicle and spoke to the driver.

In response, the driver then drove away around a corner at speed.  This aroused the police officer’s suspicions so he followed the vehicle. By the time he caught up with the vehicle a few seconds later, the vehicle was stationary. There was now nobody in the driver’s seat.

Defending a charge of excess alcohol

One male was stood outside the vehicle.  Two males were sat on the backseat. The police officer believed that he immediately recognised our client, one of the back seat passengers, as the driver of the vehicle. Because of this he asked him to provide a roadside breath test, which he failed.  As a result he was arrested for driving with excess alcohol.

Alex’s client, a Polish national, insisted throughout that the officer had made a mistake.  He claimed that one of the other males had been the driver.

The only issue in the case was the correctness of the identification.  In order to convict the Magistrates would have to be sure that the officer had not made a mistake.  If there was a reasonable doubt as to that, then Alex’s client would be found not guilty.

As a result, Alex directed all of his cross examination to showing that the necessary doubt was present.  The officer admitted that he had spoken to the driver for less than three seconds. He accepted that it was dark at the time.  Although there was street lighting, the driver was sat inside car.  The interior light was not on so the inside of the car was in darkness.

Can you be ‘1 million per cent’ sure?

Alex showed the officer a photograph of his client’s friend.  He had been the other male sat in the backseat at the time of the arrest. The photograph was taken on the night in question. The officer conceded that they looked very similar. He could not be moved, however, on the correctness of the identification.  He continued to maintain that he was “one million percent sure” that Alex’s client had been the driver.

Our client gave evidence along with his friend.  His friend’s evidence was that he had been the driver. He stated that he had been taking the car for a test drive and panicked when he saw the police because he did not have insurance. He acknowledged that he knew he was admitting an offence himself but told the court he could not let his friend be wrongly convicted.

The third male who had been outside the car was the owner of the vehicle. He also attended to give evidence and support our client’s case.

Turnbull Guidelines and Identification

The quality of identification as well as the weight to be placed upon it is governed by the case of R -v- Turnbull.  Alex directed his closing speech to the Magistrates to dealing with these issues.  Although the officer himself was sure of the correctness of his identification, a convincing witness can still be mistaken.  Alex argued that in all of the circumstances the officer could have made a mistake.

This argument was supported by his client’s full cooperation and consistent denials of responsibility.  His account was also corroborated by two other witnesses.

The Magistrates found that despite the police officer’s confidence, they could not be sure of the correctness of the identification.  Alex’s client was found not guilty of excess alcohol.  Because of this he was not subject to the driving disqualification that would have followed a conviction.

Legal aid available

Despite being in work, Alex’s client was able to receive legal aid to ensure his free representation before the Magistrates’ Court.  This was particularly important in his case as he required the assistance of an interpreter.  Had there not been legal aid, he would have had to fund not only the case but interpreter’s fees himself when he gave instructions.

We will always investigate your entitlement to legal aid so that you receive affordable advice.

Contact a Nottingham criminal defence solicitor

If you are under investigation by the police or face court proceedings you will want to instruct an expert.  Call our Nottingham office on 0115 9599550 or contact us using the form below.

If one of our other offices is more convenient then you can find our contact details here.