20 Month Drink Driving Ban For Reading of 94
Following a hearing at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court this week, Donna Leighton told our Senior Solicitor, Steve Williams, that she was relieved about the outcome, after receiving a 20 month drink driving ban for reading of 94.
Donna was made aware when she instructed us that with her breath reading of 94, and no previous offences, the sentencing guidelines indicated her penalties would most probably be a community order (instead of a fine) and a disqualification within the range 23-28 months.
For Donna, a disqualification of around 2 years meant immediate dismissal from her job working at management level within the security industry, as travelling across the whole of the UK is a requirement of this role.
However, the seriousness of Donna’s third category offence was mitigated by Steve Williams’ explanation to the court of what had happened prior to Donna deciding to drive on the date in question. This backstory, in Donna’s case, was crucial in understanding why she had been summoned to appear in court for a drink driving offence – especially as she had been out drinking with friends that evening and travelled home by taxi afterwards. Donna truly had no intention to drive.
Steve explained to the court that Donna, a single parent with two young children, had been – for many years – a victim of domestic violence. Her abuser was also the father of her children, so avoiding ongoing contact was not practical. The violence against her had been so great that her ex-partner had been imprisoned for assault. An injunction had also been taken out against him in the recent past.
On the date in question, Donna had arrived home alone by taxi, gone into her house and immediately taken a telephone call. It was her violent ex-partner, telling her he knew where she had been, and with whom, and that he was on his way to her house.
Under the influence of alcohol, and frightened by the threat, Donna grabbed her car keys and left the house. She was stopped by police midway between her house and that of her friend, who she was going to for help.
Although Donna could have called the police, she told her case worker that she had been reluctant to do this as they had already been called to her property many times, and knew her situation and her ex-partner very well. She told us she felt ashamed of having to keep calling the police out, and that she wanted to just escape from the situation.
Unfortunately, the manner of her driving brought her to the attention of the police and she was pulled over, breathalysed and subsequently charged with the drink driving offence.
The fact that her situation was not technically an emergency meant that a ‘special reasons’ argument would be difficult, and was a fight that Donna did not have the strength for. She wanted to plead guilty and attempt to do some damage limitation, to come away with a ban under two years.
Donna pleaded guilty, with mitigation. She was disqualified for a period of 20 months and offered a place on the drink drive rehabilitation course, which will reduce her disqualification period by 25% on completion. She was also fined, so a community order was avoided. The court clearly took account of the mitigating factors in her case and sentenced her accordingly.
Donna thanked Steve Williams, and her case worker, for all their help in achieving the best possible outcome for her. We hope she can now start to move forward with her life and wish her – and her children – all the best for the future.