I attended Solihull Magistrates Court last week representing a client who faced a drink driving allegation.
Like many clients, he wanted to plead guilty and take responsibility for what was a poor decision made whilst under the influence of drink.
His reading was reasonably low, and there were no aggravating features. He had planned to walk the short distance home at the end of the night but, having had a few drinks, decided to drive.
There was no complaint with his driving but he was seen leaving a pub car park and, as often happens, that was enough reason for the police to stop him and breathalyse him.
What complicated this case slightly was that the client did have a previous conviction for drink driving some 8 years ago, meaning that despite his low reading he would automatically be disqualified from driving for 3 years.
Naturally, this result would have devastating effects for my client, and any reduction in that sentence would make a difference to him.
I mitigated on his behalf, and told the magistrates his side of the story.
Before mitigation, the magistrates would have viewed my client mainly in vague terms and numbers – ‘the drink driver who blew X’ – and it was my job to help the magistrates see the person standing before them.
In preparation, I had teased out of my client all of the relevant information, and I was able to tell the magistrates about the way his life had changed in the last 8 years and how he was a committed family man with a responsible job. I guided them through his day-to-day life and how the disqualification would affect him. I emphasised that he took full responsibility for this matter.
The magistrates at Solihull Magistrates Court considered all of this information – information they would not have heard if my client had not been represented – and decided that whilst they had to give him a 3 year disqualification, they were sympathetic to his case and would, therefore, allow him to attend the drink driving rehabilitation course.
This is unusual for second time drink drivers, and when completed, will take 9 months off my client’s ban.
My client was delighted, as was I.Tags: drink driving sentencing