Using a solicitor for a drink driving charge: how can they get you off?
Using a specialist solicitor for a drink driving charge hugely increases the chance that you get off.
Of course, each case is different. Yet having access to this kind of legal expertise is usually the only way to expand your options past pleading guilty or not guilty and hoping for the best.
But how does a specialist solicitor get you off a drink driving charge?
Let's explore some of the more likely defences and approaches that may work in your case:
How do I get off a drink drive charge?
It is quite possible that you are found innocent of drink driving – or that your case is dismissed from court before trial – even if you were found to be over the legal alcohol limit
This is not to minimise the seriousness of driving under the influence of alcohol. Yet, as far as the UK legal system is concerned, there are several common drink driving defences that may apply to your particular circumstances:
1) Your drinks were spiked without your knowledge
This covers a situation where you believe your drinks were spiked with additional alcohol – for example, an extra measure of spirits was added to your pint of beer – without you being aware of it.
This is certainly a possible defence. However, like many of the options presented here as ways to get off a drink driving charge, it can be difficult to prove. In order for a spiked drink defence to work, you must be able to show that you were:
- Below the limit without the spike – you must be able to prove that you would have been below the legal limit even after consuming the drink (were it not to have been spiked). This requires a medical expert to testify to this effect on your behalf.
- Unaware the spike was added – this is often the most difficult to show to the court's satisfaction.
- Under the full belief you were below the limit – it is necessary to show that you had no reason to suspect you were over the limit for this defence to be possible.
Even if you can show that all of this is true, it is still conceivable that the court will not see this as a reason to find you not guilty if your case goes all the way to court.
2) You engaged in “post-offence consumption”
“Post-offence consumption” covers situations where you were under the legal limit while driving, stopped driving for some reason, and then took a drink before you were breathalysed by the police.
This is sometimes known colloquially as the “hip flask defence”. It conjures up images of times gone by when it was common for someone to take a sip from a hip flask to “steady their nerves”.
You might picture someone who has crashed their car on a quiet road and takes a drink to take the edge off the shock before the police arrive. Then, when their breath is tested for alcohol (as is fairly routine), they appear over the limit.
Alternatively, imagine someone who was driving poorly but not under the influence of alcohol. They reach home, take a drink, and the police stop by just in time to test their breath for alcohol. Again, this could show they were over the legal limit but they weren't while they were driving.
“Post-offence consumption” will be down to your defence to prove. While possible, the circumstances in which it applies are fairly limited and it will likely be impossible without expert legal representation.
3) You were under “duress of circumstance”
So-called “duress of circumstance” covers situations where you absolutely had to drive even though you were over the legal limit. This would mean you genuinely perceived your life to be in danger or that you were under threat of serious violence.
The kind of questions that the court will be asking relating to this defence will include:
- Was the threat genuine or perceived to be genuine?
- Was it appropriate to drive that distance given the severity (or otherwise) of the threat?
- Would a sober person have done the same thing?
Can drink driving charges be dropped?
All of the scenarios above are possible defences that may be able to get you off a drink driving charge. In reality though, it is much more common for specialist motoring lawyers – such as DFR Solicitors – to aim to get your charge dropped before you even reach court.
To do this, we often need to successfully prove that:
- There were procedural errors – this is perhaps the most successful way to get drink driving charges dropped. Police procedures are complex. They are often not adhered to precisely. If they aren't, a specialist solicitor can help you show they weren't.
- The testing equipment was faulty – this will require investigation of the specific machine used to test your breath or blood sample. Results from these machines are deemed accurate unless proven otherwise, but they can be faulty.
- You were on private land – you must prove you were on private land that the public does not have access to. Places like car parks and campsites do not count.
But every case is unique. The best defence a solicitor can offer for your drink driving charge might be one of these – or it might be something completely different.
Reach out to us today to find out.