Drink Driving Defences

The drink drive procedure is extremely technical and complex and requires compliance and adherence to good practice in order to produce reliable results to be used in evidence at court against you.  The Police do make errors, and if these errors are significant enough, this could lead to a case being thrown out of Court, without you facing a criminal conviction or any disqualification.

One of our forensic experts and/or Barristers will look at the whole procedure together with the pro forma documents completed by the Police and the CCTV (if available) showing the breathlyser procedure and the Custody Suite.

A few examples of errors that we would look for to consider whether you may have a technical defence:-

If Your Case Involves A Breath Sample:

  • Your reading was at a level to require the Police to give you the option of providing an alternative sample of blood or urine and they fail to do so.
  • The options of samples was not explained fairly and you were pressured into a particular course of action
  • You disclose a medical condition that may effect your ability to provide a sample and the Police do not take it into consideration or refer it on to a medical professional for an opinion
  • The 2 samples provided are not within an acceptable percentage variance.
  • You are not asked about any potential contamination of your sample
  • The Police fail to use the EBM equipment properly
  • You are not given the mandatory warning about failing to provide a sample of breath.
  • The Police have not followed Home Office guidance circulars
  • The Police have not complied with manufacturers guidelines

If Your Case Involves A Blood Sample:

  • If the Police require a sample when in fact that should have “invited” you to provide a sample this will make the sample unlawful.
  • If the Police have required a sample in mistaken belief that the breath machine was not working correctly when in fact it was down to operator error, this can lead to the sample being unlawful and therefore inadmissible.
  • Continuity issues relating to the handling of the sample, ensuring that the blood sample analysed belongs to the person charged.  If the police fail to maintain a proper paper trail we can raise this issue.

If Your Case Involves A Urine Sample

  • The urine samples were taken outside the time limit or too close together to provide an accurate sample,
  • If the Police require a sample when in fact that should have “invited” you to provide a sample this will make the sample unlawful.
  • If the Police have required a sample in mistaken belief that the breath machine was not working correctly when in fact it was down to operator error, this can lead to the sample being unlawful and therefore inadmissible.
  • Continuity issues relating to the handling of the sample, ensuring that the urine sample analysed belongs to the person charged.  If the police fail to maintain a proper paper trail we can raise this issue.

Insufficient Evidence

The following examples are sometimes areas where the evidence is not sufficient enough to prove all the elements of the offence of drink driving

  • not being able to prove the identity of the driver
  • not being able to prove that the vehicle was driven (this may allow a substitute charge of drunk in charge to be laid.  This offence does not carry a mandatory ban)
  • not cautioning the alleged driver before asking questions about the alleged offence.  If the driver has not been correctly cautioned and there is no other evidence that could prove the identity or other elements of the offence, we can argue that this evidence should not be relied upon and argue there is no case to answer.

“Hip Flask”/Post driving Consumption Cases

If you have consumed alcohol after you have driven your vehicle and prior to providing a sample to the Police, the reading you give is going to exceed that which it was at the time when you actually drove the vehicle.  Our experts calculate what your reading would have been without post-driving consumption, and if it shows you would have been under the legal limit you can escape conviction and disqualification.

Private Land

The offence of drink driving can only be committed on a public highway.  Some land may be open to the public but private in the legal sense that the class of users is restricted in some way.  If proved, this will allow you to avoid a conviction and a disqualification altogether.

Duress

You would need to show that there was a compelling reason to drive.  It involves proving that you feared for your life or serious harm to you or someone else.  Depending on the circumstances, this may amount to a legal defence, thereby avoiding a conviction and disqualification.

Call us now on 0800 3 10 11 12 or email us.

Failing To Provide A Sample Defences

Reasonable Excuse
The legal defence to this charge is one of “reasonable excuse”.  This will come down to a matter of fact and degree and opinion of the court, based on all the surrounding facts.  You will see a few examples below that may, depending on the circumstances, amount to a defence and allow you to avoid a conviction or disqualification:-

  • Breathing difficulties such as asthma/bronchitis/pneumonia/lung problems (if asked to provide a breath sample)
  • Fear of needles (if asked to provide blood)
  • Genuine medical reason not to provide
  • Too intoxicated to understand what was being asked of you, or too intoxicated to co-operate
  • You are a foreign national and did not understand what was being asked of you
  • Officer’s misreading error messages on the machine, assuming it is you not complying when in fact it might be a machine or operator error that has caused you not to provide a sample.
Call us now on 0800 3 10 11 12 or email us.
Drunk in charge offences

The legal defence to this charge is to look at what your alcohol level would be at the time you were intending on driving the vehicle.  If according to our experts it would have been below the legal limit then you will be entitled to run this defence and depending on the particular circumstances of the case, you may avoid a conviction and a disqualification.

Call us now on 0800 3 10 11 12 or email us.

Information Video On Motoring Offences
Paul Seaton - Seatons Solicitors

Motoring Offence Experts

Hello, my name is Paul Seaton. I specialise in all areas of Criminal Law and can assist you at the Police Station or at Court 24/7 and at short notice.

Our dedicated Crime Team is made up of myself, administrative staff and a fully qualified Barrister who can represent you at the Police Station, Magistrates Court, Crown Court or Appeal Court depending on your requirements.

Please contact us about your criminal matter on 01536 276300 or use our online enquiry form.

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