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What to do if you are charged with drink driving



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I'm going to talk about five things that

you should do if you've been charged

with drink driving now the first thing

is to know the charge and the charge

will be on the charge sheet and there's

an example of the charge sheet here on

the right-hand side of the screen now

then this charge sheet has actually been

handed to somebody when they've been in

custody in a police station but you

might also have a postal charge they

they really mean the same thing is this

the formal statement saying what you've

got to go to court for now then this

charge sheet here is a charge of drink

driving or driving with excess alcohol

but you might also have been charged

with drunken charge which actually which

is actually a less serious offense or

sometimes I'm a charge of failing to

provide once you know what the charge is

you know what you're facing a call what

the potential penalties might be and

also if you can if you can defend the

case now the second thing to look at on

the on the charge sheet is the visitor

is the reading now then in this case and

the reading was 98 so reading of 98

micrograms in 100 milliliters of breath

98 this one now there are different

readings depending on whether it's a

case where the police have taken a

breath test a urine test or a blood test

now all drink driving cases or drown

with excess alcohol cases face a minimum

disqualification of 12 months or three

years of is the second offense within a

ten year period and then either an

unlimited fine or up to six months in

prison

now magistrates use Sentencing

Guidelines to work out what the sentence

is going to be so you should know what

the what those guidelines are before you

make any decisions about what to do in

your case now these sentencing

guidelines here are an extract and they

and these deal with cases where there's

been a breath reading there are

different sentencing guidelines for

blood and urine and and different ones

again for somebody who's been convicted

twice now the way things work is that

you look at the breath reading on the

left hand side here the limit is 35 so

these are the lowest cases the lowest

reading cases of 36 to 59 and they will

start off with a Bansi fine and in fact

a range of a Bambi's fine to ab and c

fine to a low-flying to a higher fine

plus a ban of 12 to 16 months so that's

for the for the least serious cases for

the most serious cases of 120 above the

magistrate's we'll start out by looking

at 12 weeks custody they have a range of

between a high level community order to

26 weeks custody and a ban of 36 to 60

months now these ranges are here in the

middle so the magistrates can adjust

their sentence depending on any

aggravating or mitigating features so an

example of an aggravating feature might

then that might be that there's been an

accident a mitigating feature might be

that some of these got a perfect record

they've never been in trouble before and

the case is gonna have a really serious

effect on them so those are the kind of

things that the magistrates will take

into account now we then move on to

looking at any defenses that you might

have now you need to watch out with this

because unless you have a good defense

or a strong defense than it can they can

get quite expensive to defend

drink-driving cases and you can you can

get yourself into all kinds of

difficulties I'm not going to go through

all the potential defenses but some of

the most common ones are and I wasn't

driving another one is called the hip

flash defense so a hip flask defense is

a case where somebody's being

breathalysed

after they've been driving but they've

had some alcohol between driving and

being tested and then there are all

kinds of procedural challenges so these

are challenges to the way that the

police have dealt with the case and the

way that the sample has been tested and

anything else that might have been done

wrong during the prosecution so those

are the perhaps the most common ones and

that's not all the defense's you could

put forward but once again it might be a

good idea to get some legal advice

before you go ahead pleading not guilty

and challenge the case challenging the

case in the magistrate's court now I'm

going to come on to where whether or not

you should have a lawyer and what kind

of lawyer you can have now you've got a

few different options so I put those on

the left-hand side of the screen and the

first one is no lawyer

plenty of people go along to the

magistrate's court and they don't have a

lawyer and that they represent

themselves they put forward their own

arguments in court and the second option

is the duty solicitor the duty solicitor

at every Magistrates Court and they will

help you out on the day of the hearing

so they you can speak to them before

them before the hearing takes place you

can't give them the point with them in

their office before the court hearing

that you'll speak to them before they'll

get some papers from the prosecutor and

they'll discuss what's going to happen

in court and representing you just at

that first hearing the the third option

is as your own solicitor now some people

might be able to get legal aid with

their own solicitor quite often

drink-driving it is difficult to get

legal aid because though the cases don't

meet the criteria that you need to meet

to get legal aid but you it is possible

sometimes to get legal aid otherwise you

have to pay privately for your own

solicitor now I've been talking about a

solicitor but of course them you could

also have a director and direct access

barrister so anoying really means a

solicitor now I mentioned back here that

you don't have to you don't have to have

a lawyer and there are a few situations

where it really is a good idea to were

together

neither involved the first ones if

you're going to plead if you're going to

plead not guilty and take the case to

trial once again you don't have to have

a lawyer if you do that but it's a good

idea second case is if you're a custody

risk so those are in cases where it's

really high reading or you've been in

trouble before or there's some kind of

aggravating feature like a serious

accident and the third time you might

want a lawyer and is if you're not

comfortable I'm putting your own case

forward in court so if you're not

comfortable speaking in public or

expressing yourself in public or you

want somebody to go along with you to

make sure that either the procedures

followed properly and everything is

dealt with correctly and in that case

you might want to work to organize a

lawyer before the hearing now the last

thing is to prepare properly for court

so a lot of that's going back and

looking at the things we've talked about

before but the first thing is that you

need to decide whether you're going to

plead guilty or not guilty if you're

going to plead not guilty then you need

to decide what the trial issues are

going to be because you'll be expected

to identify those at court and you need

to know what witnesses that you need so

if you've got any eyewitnesses that you

want to take although sometimes you'll

need an expert witness

especially if you're going to try and

challenge the case in a technical way if

you're going to plead guilty you need to

decide what your mitigation is going to

be so what kind of things you're going

to say to try and persuade the

magistrates to impose the lowest

possible sentence and you might also

want to get some character references

the lattice and it shows that you've

taken the case seriously and quite often

the information in a letter can can help

the magistrate sentence you then the

second thing here is just practicalities

make sure that you is is absolutely but

make sure that you're not late make sure

that you know where the court is it's

really important to get there on time

and it's really important to to turn up

smartly dressed and and they will deal

with him properly now I hope the

information that I've given you has been

useful if it has then please share the

share this video with other people by

clicking on the buttons at the bottom

I've also put some information in the

links at the bottom to the sentencing

guidelines and to some post on my

website which might provide you with a

little bit more information