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Pleading not guilty to drink driving: everything you need to know
Pleading not guilty to drink driving can actually be the right choice in many situations – even when you have been told you were over the legal alcohol limit when you were stopped by the police.
However, entering a not guilty plea is not something you should do alone. Because proving that you were not guilty calls for expert analysis of the evidence against you and experience of the legal system.
Here is everything you need to know about whether a not guilty plea might be the right choice for you:
Yes, you can plead not guilty to drink driving. The most important question is usually should you plead not guilty?
The first thing to bear in mind is the consequences of being found guilty of drink driving. This includes a mandatory 12-month driving ban, almost always a fine (probably of several thousand pounds, up to a theoretical maximum of £5000), and – if this isn't your first offence – even prison time.
A year-long driving ban can have consequences all of its own. How will you get to work if you can't drive, for example? For some people, the cost of a guilty verdict goes far beyond the fine.
There is also the fact that you will then have a criminal record. This may make it more difficult to do things like get a new job or move to a different country.
In short, a not guilty plea is always worth considering in a drink driving charge. So long as – and this is vital – you know whether or not you have a legally valid case for your plea.
Whether a not guilty plea is the right choice for your drink driving charge will always on the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence against you.
Unfortunately, in the UK legal system, the prosecution doesn't have to show you the evidence unless you decide to contest the charge. This means people can (and regularly do) get banned from driving based on little or no evidence or unaware if there is even any evidence against them at all.
Generally speaking, it is likely to be worth at least forcing the CPS (the Crown Prosecution Service) to disclose the evidence against you. Because this costs them time and money, they usually aren't keen on doing so. They tend to count on the fact that most motorists simply plead guilty.
But forcing the CPS to comply with its disclosure requirements may reveal holes or weaknesses in the case against you that a skilled drink driving solicitor can exploit. With this information and advice at hand, you can decide whether or not to plead guilty.
Yes. If you want to contest a drink driving charge and consider pleading not guilty, you absolutely need a specialist solicitor on your side.
This doesn't mean the free duty solicitor from your local police station. These hard-working general professionals are much more likely to recommend you simply accept the charge and try to mitigate it with an early guilty plea. Sadly, the court must still then impose a driving ban.
Your best results will always come from a specialist drink driving lawyer with extensive knowledge of the legal system (which can be confusing and intimidating) and experience with this kind of motoring offence.
If, with your solicitor's expert advice, you decide to plead not guilty, here is what will happen:
The first step before you decide whether pleading not guilty to drink driving is the right choice for you is to talk it over with an expert.
Let's work together to get you the best possible result with the least possible stress.
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. Scott McDonald.
I was initially somewhat sceptical about keeping my licence, I was stopped for Drink Driving and the costs were high, but the result was excellent, and the money was certainly well spent. I would not hesitate to use DFR again. Michael A.
I had never been in court previously, and the prospect was terrifying. I was stopped for Drink Driving, and was looking at a significant disqualification. The result in the circumstances was unbelievable, the solicitor was excellent in presenting my case and explaining the extenuating circumstances. I was overjoyed with the final result.NM