21-year-old Edwards was pulled over at 2am on June 23, just 11 days after he had signed a one-year deal with Bristol City FC.
He gave a breath alcohol reading of 75mg and pleaded guilty at Bristol Magistrates Court.
The interesting part of this case, to me, was that Edwards defended himself in Court.
He was banned from driving for 20 months, given an £800 fine and ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a £15 victim surcharge.
Was This A Good Result?
This brings me to a common issue that I face with clients.
Very often, I am asked about success rates and have difficulty explaining to people that success is hard to measure simply because it doesn’t mean the same to each person.
For example, a client last year was banned from driving for 12 months, which some people may see as a failure. However, that particular client suffered from severe anxiety. He admitted the offence, wanted to accept punishment (not find a ‘loophole’), and wanted the matter concluded quickly. I advised him that I could attend Court on his behalf, and he was overjoyed by this. For that particular client, not having to attend Court was a successful result.
So, Joe Edwards may not have wanted to reduce the length of his disqualification.
Certainly, a 20 month disqualification is in line with the magistrates’ guidelines for a drink driving breath reading of 75mg. The guidelines suggest a disqualification of between 17 and 22 months.
What Difference Could A Motoring Solicitor Have Made?
With strong mitigation by a specialist solicitor, the magistrates could have decided to go towards the lower end of their guidelines, or even below the guidelines completely.
This case made me consider the most recent client I have represented with a similar reading.
Miss H was charged with drink driving. Her reading was 81mg in breath (higher than Mr Edwards’) and she had driven for some length on a motorway, before crashing into the central reservation.
For this type of case, the magistrates’ guidelines would suggest a disqualification of around 22 months, which could be increased to take into account the seriousness of being on such a main road and having an accident.
By building a case for Miss H that communicated her side of the story, the magistrates gave her a 20 month disqualification. Miss H was delighted.
Mr Edwards may be happy with the conclusion of his case, and I certainly would not advise him to appeal, but I wonder what the result would have been if Mr Edwards had had a motoring specialist portraying his side of the story.
If you are facing a drink driving charge, contact us for free advice on 01623 397200.Tags: drink driving solicitors