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Motoring Solicitor at Derby Magistrates

My client was charged with drink driving. He claimed that his drink had been spiked.

He had been out with his wife and friends and they carried on drinking back at the house. He decided that he had had enough alcohol and asked for non alcoholic lager. Unknown to him she gave him alcoholic lager.

Later in the evening after his wife had gone to bed he decided to pop out to the late night shop and was stopped by the police.

He was surprised when he failed the breath test.

After contacting us we advised him that he could argue that there were special reasons not to disqualify him. We prepared his case including taking a statement from his wife.

When the case came to court we managed to convince the court not to disqualify him and he kept his licence.

This case could have had awful consequences for him, he would have lost his job and house. Thankfully all of that was avoided because he contacted us in time to be able to help him.

Motoring Solicitor’s Diary – Nottingham Magistrates Court

A new drink driving client, can he argue special reasons to avoid a disqualification?

Interesting case today. Client has been charged with drink driving, he accepts that he was over the limit and was stopped whilst in his car but wants to argue that there are special reasons not to disqualify him. The special reason is that he only drove a very short distance.

I hear this often, about 2 or 3 calls every day are from someone saying that they had only driven a very short distance. It normally turns out that that short distance is about half a mile. This is far too far, the courts have said in the past that even 400 yards can be too far. You have to show that there was no risk of coming into contact with other road users.

My client had been out to a pub, popped back to his car to get his phone. His car had been parked up in the pub car park and he was intending to get a taxi home. As he got in the car he saw that the window was icing up. With the snow and ice he was concerned that he would not be able to get the car out in the morning as it was facing up a slight incline in the pub car park. He decided that he would turn the car around to face the other way to make it easier to move it in the morning.

He was stopped as he was moving it, the police were called and he was arrested. He had moved it 5 foot.

The important thing that we had to show was that he did not intend to go much further and that there was little possibility that he would come into contact with any road users.

The matter has been adjourned for a special reasons hearing in 2 months time, in the meantime he will be able to drive and the court will decide at the hearing whether this is sufficient for special reasons.

**Steve Williams is the Motoring Solicitor, these diaries are based on true case, details, including the court have been changed in order to protect the clients confidentiality. Not all of Steve Williams’ cases are reported in the diary.

If you would like advice from Steve Williams call 01623 397200

Drink Driving Defences

How can you defend a drink driving charge? Pleading not guilty to a drink driving allegation is fairly unusual. Most general criminal defence lawyers rarely, if ever advise clients to plead not guilty. I think this is because the drink driving laws are so complex that you need to be a specialist to find a solid defence.

A few weeks before Christmas I got a call from a client who had been charged with drink driving. His reading was just over the limit but he knew that he would be banned and wanted me to reduce the level of the ban. When we got to court I went through the papers with him. The police had offered him the option of giving urine which he accepted.

He had given 2 samples as required by law, however it became clear that in fact it was just one sample. The law requires the police to take 2 samples and throw the first away and use the second. The reason for this is because the first sample comes from the processed urine already in the bladder, therefore by definition it has a higher percentage of alcohol than in the rest of the body and is not an accurate sample.

In this case the police had given him 2 containers and asked him to fill them both, assuming that this constituted 2 samples. It doesn’t, it is just 1 sample split into 2. I advised him that he had a perfectly valid defence, it was not clear at all whether he was over the limit because the samples were not taken properly.

We went into court, I quoted the case of Prosser v Dickeson [1982] R.T.R. 96 which is a case very similar to ours, although the court and the prosecution were not aware of the case it became clear that the CPS would not be able to prove the case against my client and he kept his licence.

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