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Posts Tagged ‘drink driving defences’

Is Intoxication A Defence?

But I was drunk. I didn’t mean to. I would never have done that sober. I didn’t know what I was doing.


So when is intoxication actually a defence?


First we must distinguish between intoxication by alcohol and intoxication by drugs, here I will consider alcohol intoxication. There can be a perception that intoxication causes offences – indeed British Crime Survey Statistics actually look for alcohol related crime but this can be misleading.


‘Alcohol-related crime’ is a popular rather than a legal term. Normally, it is used to refer to 2 main categories of offences:


  • Alcohol-defined offences such as drunkenness offences or driving with excess alcohol
  • Offences in which the consumption of alcohol is thought to have played a role of some kind in the committing of the offence, usually in the sense that the offender was under the influence of alcohol at the time.


The law likes to confuse matters, nothing is straight forward and what may help you in one situation may not in others. Intoxication from drinks or drugs is not, per se, a defence but it may, in certain circumstances, support an argument that your case should be considered in a different light than it may previously have been. The circumstances and situations in which intoxication can be considered are far too vast to consider in one article so please continue reading here for the next instalment.


The law gives no clear definition or consistent threshold for “intoxication” – just lots of mentions. We all know that what will render one “legless” will have little effect on another so the law will take each case on it’s own merits. Intoxication is also considered as either voluntary or involuntary; voluntary generally accepted as knowingly consuming the substance with involuntary more complicated. Involuntary doesn’t mean you didn’t know you were taking it (though can mean exactly that) it can also mean that the substance (potentially legal and even prescribed) consumed had an unforeseen effect.


What is found below is in no way exhaustive but may help to give you an idea of where you stand.




In motoring offences there are 3 main offences relating to intoxication (in laymans terms):


  • Drink Driving
  • Drunk in charge
  • Unfit through Drink or Drugs


Offences created through the Road Traffic Act 1998 (so those above) are considered a strict liability offence – meaning that you either are over the limit or you are not. The law states that the legal limit in breath is 35µg in 100µg of breath (or the equivalent in blood or urine). Driving offences are one of the few areas where a definitive limit can be found however even if you are found to be over the limit there may still be grounds for the court not to disqualify you. If the intoxication was involuntary then there may be Special Reasons for the courts not to disqualify you.


At Forrest Williams we promise to listen to you, to advise you honestly, and to help you in any way the law allows. Give our team a call on 01623 397200 and we will work with you to get the best outcome possible for your case.

Can I Argue Exceptional Hardship For Drink Driving?

We are often asked whether it is possible to argue Exceptional Hardship if you are charged with drink driving.


Sadly, this is not the case.


If you are charged with drink driving, and plead guilty without any Special Reasons, the court will have to disqualify you for a minimum of 12 months.


This is the case even if such a ban means you will lose your job, lose your home, be unable to see your children, or suffer any other hardship.


The court may have great sympathy for your situation, but they do not have the power to waive the disqualification penalty or replace it with an alternative penalty.


When convicted for drink driving, you will be disqualified immediately.  You will not be able to drive home from court.


This is why it is so important to make sure that you discover any drink driving defences that may in fact protect your licence.


Do You Have A Drink Driving Defence?


Drink Driving Defences can include:


  • Incorrect procedure followed by police officers
  • Inadmissible evidence
  • Post-driving alcohol consumption
  • Medical conditions
  • Incorrect storage and treatment of your evidential sample


When Can I Argue Exceptional Hardship?


Exceptional Hardship is available to avoid a ban in cases of totting up, where you will reach or exceed 12 penalty points and are at risk of a 6 month ban.  In these cases, successfully arguing Exceptional Hardship can allow you to avoid the ban.


If you are at risk of losing your licence, call us now on 01623 397200. 


London Drink Driving Solicitors defend Drink Driving Charge

We get a lot of clients calling us in relation to Drink Driving who want to try and avoid a disqualification.


The law is clear, if found guilty then the court have to disqualify you unless there are special reasons not to. These would include spiked drink, emergency or shortness of distance driven.


The only other way of avoiding a ban is by being found not guilty if, for example the police have made an error in the procedure.


We had a case like that this week. The police had filled the required form in. We always check the form to make sure that the police had followed the correct procedure. On the face of it they had but further enquiries with the client revealed that they had not warned him properly as to his right and the risk of prosecution.


In due course we were able to obtain the CCTV which showed that indeed they had not warned him and the case was thrown out.


It is important that all checks are made because this can mean the difference between being able to carry on driving or a lengthy ban. Not all solicitors check in as much detail as we do and not all solicitors know where or what to check, that’s why it is important to make sure you are represented by a specialist solicitor with experience in defending drink drivers.

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