A lot of people think that drink driving is the end of the world, and it’s understandable given the list of penalties that could be handed to you. Depending on the severity of the offence, it could be a fine, a custodial sentence or a disqualification that awaits you if convicted, but it’s important to know that there may be defences to the charges. Here are three questions you should be asking yourself if you’ve been caught drink driving.
Was the equipment faulty?
If you’ve been left with your head spinning following a drink driving charge because you thought you were below the limit, then you aren’t alone. There have been hundreds of occasions over the years where people have driven in peace of mind knowing that they are well below the legal limit. However, they’ve been shocked and embarrassed when pulled over and breathalysed, only to find that the reading is over.
There can be several reasons for this, and a competent motoring lawyer will be able to help you identify them in order to put forward a defence. On the one hand, given that these cases rely on pieces of electronic equipment, which can produce faulty results, the possibility of a technical failure is fairly high. On the other, there are actually three different machines used by the police to measure limits, and each of them require different instructions. If the police who stopped you do not give you the correct instruction it can result in the machine aborting and no reading being produced. In such cases charges of failure to provide specimens can be defended.
Was correct procedure followed?
When stopped on suspicion of drink driving a requirement to provide breath, blood or urine samples will normally follow. If samples are not provided this normally results in a charge of failure to provide a specimen without reasonable excuse. However, people may be charged with this offence when they were completely unaware that they had failed to provide anything, and if you don’t have the right solicitor to support you, you could end up with a conviction for a crime you did not commit.
For example, if you were involved in an accident and were taken straight to hospital, doctors and nurses do not follow the same procedure and do not require breath specimens for analysis as normally occurs at the police station. In such situations a proper assessment must be made of whether you have sufficient capacity to understand the requirement for a blood or urine specimen and to provide valid consent.
Who is representing you?
The final thing you should ask yourself is: who is my lawyer? Without the right team behind you, you won’t know where to begin building a case for any of the defences described above. You should look for lawyers who have experience of situations you find yourself in and that you’re able to view on their website.
Do you have any other advice for motorists? Leave a comment below.