Tag Archives: special reasons

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: