We recently acted for a client charged with Drink Driving at Leicester Magistrates Court. Throughout his conversations with us he maintained that he was not guilty of the offence, and that he only consumed alcohol after he had driven. In short his story to us was that he had purchased the alcohol, driven, parked up and then drank it. He had always intended to sleep where he was as had had a fight with his partner earlier so was going to stay away for a bit.
Post driving consumption is a defence to Drink Driving.
We therefore entered a Not Guilty plea and the matter was adjourned to trial. As part of the case preparation we took a statement from the client, and we interrogated all the evidence against our client. Initially it seemed to be quite a strong case – the police even had the bottle the client said he had been drinking from and we had a statement from the Police Officer involved to confirm that they had confiscated the bottle.
Unfortunately the client was found Guilty of the offence, with the court highlighting that the most damaging evidence was that of his own words. When asked under interview, our client had twice denied drinking anything after driving. Our client’s reason for this, to us, was that he was drunk and probably either misunderstood the question or didn’t want to make things worse for himself. He maintained his position that he only drank after parking up and that he had not intended to drive for several hours, not until he would have been legal to do so.
The warning when you are arrested does state that anything you say can be used in evidence in court and in this case it was and this was the evidence that the court focused on. Everyone, regardless of charge, is entitled to legal representation at the station if they are to be interviewed. We would always remind our clients to take advantage of this right, and to remember that if you have nothing to hide then be open and honest about this. Saying No Comment when you have a valid defence can be just as damaging as the courts will ask why you didn’t tell the police important facts at the time.
If you are arrested for an offence give our team a call on 01623 397200. We can arrange for police station representation to guide you through the interview process and to try and ensure that nothing you say, or don’t say, can later be used against you to undermine your defence.