Ms S left the pub after a long lunch with friends and drove home. The barman was aware that Ms S had consumed some alcohol but was not aware as to how much. She had booked the table and the barman was aware of her name and contact details. He called the police and reported his concerns of a possible case of drunk driving.
The police attended Ms S's address but it took them a few hours to arrive as they had to deal with another situation on route. They could smell alcohol on her breath and could see that she was unsteady on her feet. The police requested a preliminary specimen of breath which she failed.
Ms S told the police that she had consumed most of a bottle of red wine since she had returned home and had only consumed two smalll glasses of wine over the long lunch. Ms S was arrested and detained at the local police station. She provided an evidential breath specimen at the police station which she failed. She was later charged with drink driving and given a date to attend his local magistrates’ court.
Ms S obtained expert legal advice and realised that the overall breath reading would include the wine she consumed at home after she had stopped driving. Her solicitor obtained an expert report which took into account the alcohol she had consumed post driving.
At court Ms S entered a not guilty plea and the case was listed for trial. On the day of her trial the expert came to court to give evidence and confirmed that the wine she had consumed post driving would explain why her breath specimens were over the limit. He was able to refer to the opened bottle of wine the police had found in the living room and the empty glass that the police also found by his chair.
The magistrates found Ms S not guilty, accepting that she had consumed the vast majority of the alcohol in her system after she had parked her car and gone into her home.
Drink Driving - Police Procedure Rules
Mr A is driving home after leaving the pub following a long lunch with friends. The bar man is concerned about the amount of alcohol that Mr A has consumed and was able to record the number plate before he drove off. The barman also knows Mr A’s first name and the village he lives in, and is also able to give a good visual description of him due to his size and a birthmark on his right arm.
The barman notifies the police who drive to Mr A’s house and find the car on his driveway. When the police arrive Mr A is the only person in the house.
Mr A is asked to give a road side sample of breath which he complies with and fails. He is arrested and taken immediately to his local police station, booked in and then taken to an evidential breath machine and required to provide a two specimens of breath which he does. His lowest reading is 51 in breath (legal limit 35 in breath) and he is charged with drink driving and given a date to attend his local Magistrates Court.
Mr A seeks expert legal advice prior to court and learns that when the police request two specimens of breath they must have warned that he could be prosecuted if he fails to provide.
Mr A is certain that he was not warned regarding a failure to provide two specimens of breath. At the first court hearing he entered a not guilty plea and his solicitor requested evidence of the breath test procedure. The audio/visual recording of the procedure was obtained. The recording showed that no warning was given. Mr A’s solicitor made written representations to the Crown Prosecution Service who reviewed the recording and then formally offered no evidence. The lack of warning resulted in the specimens of breath taken becoming inadmissible at trial and the Crown Prosecution Service were no longer in a position to prove their case.
It is always worth asking an expert to review the case against you to make sure the police have complied with the rules and regulations that they are required to.
Totting & Exceptional Hardship
Mr A had received a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and realised that that he had been driving when his car had been caught speeding. He returned the NIP confirming he was the driver and in due course received a Single Justice Procedure Notice (SJPN) through the post. He decided that he would plead guilty and attend court as he knew he already had 9 points endorsed on his licence.
Mr A instructed a solicitor to help him at court. He explained to the court that he was a single parent with two young children and a mortgage. He did not have savings and relied on his monthly salary as a salesman to cover his mortgage payments. His employer had told him that if he was disqualified from driving he would lose his job.
With full legal representation this information was provided to the court with supporting evidence. The magistrates felt that the loss of job, failed mortgage payments and the knock on effect on the children was sufficient to amount to exceptional hardship. Mr A was not disqualified from driving.
Mr C received a Single Justice Procedure Notice (SJPN) in relation to an allegation of speeding. He already had points on his licence and was worried about what might happen. Mr C instructed a solicitor who professionally reviewed the SJPN and noticed that the date of the document was on the last day of the deadline for the court to receive specific details of the alleged offending. The solicitor checked with the court the day after the deadline and received confirmation that the necessary details were not received by the court within the necessary time period. Mr C instructed his solicitor to forward this point on his behalf. The police refused to accept the representations at court and the case was adjourned. The police withdrew the prosecution.
Police Misreading Number Plates
Mr E received a letter to say that he had been found guilty of speeding and given penalty points and a fine. He was confused and upset as he not even been to the location of the speeding and had been unaware of the prosecution. He had a professional qualification and was concerned about how the conviction would reflect upon him.
He instructed a solicitor to help him. The solicitor spoke to the police and obtained photographs from the camera that recorded the speeding. Although the image depicted the same make of car and colour as the defendants, careful scrutiny clearly showed that the shape and styling of the vehicle was clearly different. It was apparent that the image of the registration plate was not completely clear. One letter had been misread and an internet search showed that this was in fact a completely different car, with a different owner.
Representations were made to the police who realised and accepted the error. The relevant court was contacted and the conviction overturned.