How Long is a Drink Driving Ban?
As you may be aware Drink Driving carries a minimum length disqualification of 12 months and can be extended up to several years or a lifetime depending on the severity of the offence and any aggravating and mitigating factors present in your case. As well as a mandatory disqualification the magistrates may also impose a fine, community order, or a custodial sentence.
Please find a summary of the sentencing guidelines below if you require more information please don't hesitate to contact us at 0330 341 1690 or visit our article on the Drink Driving Sentencing guidelines HERE.
A ban is not imminent
Importantly note Although Drink Driving does carry a mandatory disqualification this does not mean other factors will not be taken into account. We regularly receive considerable enquiries from clients akin to:
“I have been charged with Drink Driving if I plead guilty will I be imposed a disqualification from the magistrate”
The answer to this is no not necessarily the court will take into account external factors detailed in the Drink Driving sentencing guidelines and the decision will then be subject to the discretion of the court. We know that being struck by a Drink Driving charge isn't usually in the most hopeful of times and it may seem emotionally demanding, but there are defences available to help you avoid a disqualification.
A few months prior to writing this article we had dealt with a gentleman who had been stopped by the police and subsequently charged with drink driving after leaving a family gathering. As his case contained numerous aggravating factors playing to his opposition we put forward a special reasons case on his behalf. The court acknowledged the extenuating circumstances faced by our client and consequently, he left with his licence.
What are special reasons?
Section 34(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states:
(1) Where a person is convicted of an offence involving obligatory disqualification, the court must order him to be disqualified for such period of not less than twelve months as the court thinks fit unless the court for special reasons thinks fit to order him to be disqualified for a shorter period or not to order him to be disqualified.
In summary, if the person is subject to a mandatory penalty due to being convicted of an offence this can be avoided by proving to the court that special reasons applied.
Some common examples of special reasons would be :
Short Distance Driven
One of the most important objections we've found over decades of dealing with Drink Driving is questioning the validity of the procedure. Was the procedure carried out in accordance with the procedural guidelines?
Now the most important document relating to your Drink Driving case is the “MGDDA”.
The MGDDA stands for The Manual of Guidance on Drink and Drugs and is a set of procedural forms outlining the breath test procedure. Within the MGDDA the police are required to ask you specific questions required by law, if they fail to do so you are provided with an absolute defence.
Unfortunately due to inexperience lack of funding and necessary training, many officers fail to complete the documents accurately which we then challenge on your behalf before the magistrates.
One of the most overlooked aspects of strategising a formidable defence is consent.
Did the police officer ask if you agree to provide two specimens of breath or blood?
Put simply if the police did not carry out this vital part of the procedure you are provided with an absolute defence. If you do not recall clearly in some instances it may have been recorded and we can analyse the footage to see if consent was provided. Another aspect of a consent-based defence is coercion.
Did the police coerce you into providing a sample.
Ultimately the decision of providing a sample is completely yours but regardless the police by law must follow the correct procedure requesting your permission and providing you with adequate knowledge in what will occur subsequently for refusing to provide a sample.
Inaccurate results can be broken down into two categories :
- Errors in the calibration of the breathalyser and errors made in the lab in regards to the blood sample.
- Calibration errors within the breathalyser.
The breathalyser calibration process can be summarised in 3 steps:
Measure the simulated exhaled air with a known concentration of alcohol and take down the reading.
Turn on the calibration mode of the breathalyser and measure the simulated exhaled air again. The accuracy of the breathalyser will be adjusted should there be a sensor drift.
This step may vary according to the breathalyser model.
Repeat step 1 to verify that the breathalyser reading is accurate.
Now if the breathalyser wasn't calibrated accurately and correctly this would provide you an absolute defence. There are a number of reasons why police fail to calibrate the breathalysers mainly due to the fact they simply don't know how to and the second due to Drink Driving being a time-sensitive offence the police face constraints in the length of time they have to carry out the procedure and the length of time the alcohol is metabolised.
Due to the lack of experience of staff and lack of funding of the laboratories in which the police conduct the screenings false positives can be quite common.
You wouldn't believe it but many times staff within the laboratories are prone to simple mistakes such as mislabelling samples in cases like these we would usually obtain the analytical data pack from the prosecution and further analyse it to question whether any mistakes have been made in relation to the samples.
For further information on breath test calibration visit Here .
Due to the lack of experience of staff and lack of funding of the laboratories in which the police conduct the screenings false positives can be quite common. You wouldn't believe it but many times staff within the laboratories are prone to simple mistakes such as mislabelling samples in cases like these we would usually obtain the analytical data pack from the prosecution and further analyse it to question whether any mistakes have been made in relation to the samples.
Post driving Consumption Cases
A post-consumption defence or better known as a “hip-flask defence” is the objection that the defendant had only consumed alcohol after driving and during the time of driving was not over the limit. To prove post-consumption to the courts we consult one of the senior toxicologists we work closely with to calculate the likelihood of the defendant being over the limit whilst driving.
Although a spiked drinks defence is not an absolute defence as you will still be charged with Drink Driving, as technically you were still above the prescribed alcohol limit, it is considered a plea in mitigation. By convincing the Magistrates that you were not aware of being above the limit at the time of driving leniency will be shown in you sentencing and you may avoid a ban completely.
Why Parnell and Peel?
At Parnell and Peel, we have been specialising in drink driving-related matters for over 16 years with a specialist team of advocates and solicitors. When it comes to failure to provide, you've come to the right people. Boasting an extensive track record and helping thousands of motorists to keep their licences over the years, we've built up an extensive understanding of failure to provide offences you simply wouldn't encounter in a duty or general crime solicitor.
We know how frustrating the legal procedure can be surrounding failure to provide and the shock you may face when charged. Our clients receive an emergency out-of-hours phone number to call us whenever, whether to seek legal advice, touch base on their case, or for emotional support in the hard times they face. We're here to help.
We also don't entrap you with hidden legal fees and contracts. We offer a one-time fixed fee that can be split up into interest-free instalments and is flexible up until the date of your first hearing. For a free legal consultation and to assess your options in regards to your failure to provide offence, contact us now at 0330 341 1690 .
"I was charged with Drink Driving, and the case looked hopeless, Abdul reassured me, and the CPS offered no Evidence. Abdul is certainly an Expert in Drink Driving and his handling of the case was outstanding"
"I was charged with drink driving and my case looked hopeless. There was witness evidence and forensic evidence. From my first meeting with Abdul he reassured me that we could win the case. Abdul was fantastic and the end result is that I am a happy man as I have kept my driving licence and my job."
"I would like to thank Abdul for his support and professionalism through a difficult phase in our lives.The outcome was the best of what we could have hoped for and would recommend your service to others if needed."
"After an extremely stressful 4 months I am delighted with the outcome . Abdul represented me through-out and was always there to support me when the panic took over and delivered what was discussed at our very first meeting. I cannot thank Abdul enough for all his hard work and helping me keep my driving licence. , I wouldn’t hesitate recommending them to friends and family. Many Thanks."
"I am grateful to Abdul and team. I have avoided conviction for failure to provide despite what seemed to be overwhelming case against me. I am absolutely delighted as my driving licence was everything and I stood on the verge of losing everything. Keep up the good work ."