Drink Driving: I Can’t Remember What Happened!
We were recently contacted by a lady who appeared to have been drink driving; a respectable, responsible member of the community, well known and well liked, a wife, mother, and a professional educated woman. And she had no memory of the period before her arrest.
She had attended her works Christmas party, arriving late because she was waiting for her husband to return home to take over child care duty. She drove to the venue due to the lateness of the hour however with no intention of driving home – she knew there was a secure car park at the venue and had already made arrangements to collect her car the following day. She wasn’t sure exactly what time the festivities would end so had not pre-booked a taxi but had every intention of getting one home.
She had no idea what changed and when.
To the best of her knowledge she had 3 glasses of wine, one she purchased herself, and two that were purchased for her.
According to the police report she was found several miles from home, in the wrong direction had she been travelling home, driving her car. The police had received a report from a member of the public regarding a vehicle driving erratically, they observed the vehicle swerving from side to side, stalling, rolling backwards down a hill – all suggesting a serious level of impairment.
She was arrested on suspicion of drink driving. She does not remember any of this.
Her last memory was of going to wait in her car for the taxi, her next memory was of being at the station, leaving a blank of potentially a couple of hours. She was covered in bruises and very disorientated and distressed.
She did not comply with the officer’s requests that she provide them with a breath specimen – she just didn’t understand what was happening at that point, why she was there or how she was there. She was very clear to me that had she understood she would have provided a sample, she did offer the police later once she was less agitated and understood what was happening, it was just too late.
She was charged with Failure to Provide a Specimen for Analysis, an offence which carries a disqualification of between 12-36 months along with penalties ranging from a fine to community service or even custody. And as she had failed to provide with evidence of serious impairment she would be towards the top level of punishment – so custody could be considered by the court, though as a first offence a suspended sentence could be an option.
Our client had two options. She could plead Guilty to the offence as technically she had refused to provide a sample, or she could plead Not Guilty and fight.
Our client advised us that as a community based nurse she needed her licence to get from patient to patient; that as a mother to a daughter with additional needs she needed her licence to attend weekly appointments and to transport her child in a ‘safe’ environment as public transport was extremely distressing with the unfamiliar noises and smells. All in all, she needed to try to save her licence.
She was very clear to us that she had only had 3 drinks and that there was no way 3 small glasses of wine should have had such a severe impact on her ability to function or remember the evening. She was certain that someone must have laced her drinks with some sort of drug, it could be the only explanation. Involuntary intoxication could be a defence, at the very least it would go a long way to explaining her actions at the station if needed in mitigation to the courts.
She pleaded Not Guilty and her case has now been adjourned to trial.
If you are charged with an offence then give the Forrest Williams team a call on 01623 397200. We know that there are always two sides to every story and we will make sure the courts hear yours.
Tags: case studies