DRINK DRIVING SOLICITORS

Our Drink Driving Solicitors are experts in defending drivers facing criminal charges for driving whilst under the influence of alcohol. We provide the best legal advice and court representation possible for Drink Driving and 'Drunk In Charge' offences.

We are drink driving defence experts, so if you have been arrested and charged with a drink driving offence you should immediately speak with our expert lawyers at Motoring Offence Solicitors.

Only specialist Drink Driving Lawyers with years of experience in road traffic law will be able to provide the best guidance on how to effectively build a defence to the drink driving charges you face, and to explain all the options, even if you think you are guilty and do not see how a positive outcome may be possible.

Careful consideration of the circumstances of your arrest and charge will be given to your situation by our solicitors. Every drink driving case is unique. We need to carefully examine the circumstances surrounding your arrest including the procedures the police have followed.

The specialist Drink Driving Solicitors headed by Brian Koffman & Co have amassed over 40 years of experience defending drivers from drink driving offence charges. Our success rates are very high, so, if you are facing a drink driving offence it is important you are legally represented by the best expertise on offer.

Please contact us on 0161 832 3852 for a free consultation, or complete the enquiry form to the right.

Driving while Influenced by Excess Alcohol - What are the limits?

A Drink Driving offence is committed when you are found to be attempting to drive or have been found driving any motor vehicle after the consumption of alcohol at levels over the allowed legal limit.

For a successful conviction to be made, it must be proven by the courts that you are above the legal limit at the time of the driving offence.

When stopped or arrested on suspicion of drink driving the police will seek to establish this proof by measuring the concentration of alcohol in your system (blood, breath and urine). A sample may be taken at the roadside (a breath test). The device used by the police for the roadside test is not a device approved by the Government for formal testing, it is merely a means for the police to decide whether you should be arrested and taken away for further examination.

At the Police station, you will then be tested again using an approved breathalyser device, or you may be tested at the hospital if you re injured or suspected of being injured following an accident.

You will be found to be over the legal limit for alcohol consumption if you provide readings over and above the following depending on the tests you face:

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath
  • 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100ml of blood
  • 107 milligrams of alcohol in 100ml of urine

 

Administering A Breath Test

If you are stopped by the Police under suspicion of drink driving, a police offer will have grounds to request you take a breath test if:

  • The Police have reasonable suspicion that you are committing a driving offence or if they believe you have committed a motoring offence
  • The Police Officer suspects you are driving your vehicle whilst under the influence of drink, or that you are about to attempt to drive
  • Following an accident, the police have cause for suspicion that you are a person who was involved in the accident and that you were either driving or attempting to drive.
 

Strict rules govern the process surrounding a breath test, for instance, a Police officer must be wearing their uniform in order to administer the breath test unless there has been an accident. An out-of-uniform office can request that you take a breath test even if there has been no road traffic accident, but they cannot perform the test themselves.

When the test commences, The Police will request that you provide two samples of breath as part of the process. If the two readings are different, the police are obligated to ignore the higher reading and take note of only the lower reading.

Following the test, if you are found to be above the minimum allowed limit you will be arrested and charged with a drink driving offence.

WHAT is an Intoxilyser?

The Police have a variety of different breath/alcohol level detection machines to rely upon for breath tests, as with any piece of equipment, machines can experience problems from time to time and report false positives. The experienced drink driving solicitors at Motoring Offence Solicitors have a detailed knowledge of the array of Intoxilyser machines in use by the Police forces across the country, and part of our investigation surrounding your circumstances will revolve around the exact type and model of the machine in order that we may show the unreliability of its analysis

Most Intoxilysers rely on infrared spectroscopy to identify molecules of alcohol in exhaled breath based on the way in which they absorb infrared light.

What are the implications of a conviction for a Drink Driving Offence? 

A prosecution for drink driving has enormous implications.  Being disqualified can have the most serious consequences on your life including your career, which could result in loss of your employment, and hardship for you and others, including your family.  There can be substantial fines for this type of road traffic offence and in the most serious of cases Community Orders and, exceptionally, imprisonment. 

With the drink-drive limit in the UK one of the highest in Europe, it has become increasingly more concerning to see the number of accidents caused by drink driving increase over the past few years. In 2016, it was reported that around 240 people were killed in drink-drive related accidents, up from 200 in the previous year. Both the total number of accidents and casualties increased by around 500 in 2016, compared to the previous year. 

What are the Sentences for Drink Driving?

What will largely determine the severity of the sentence given for a drink driving offence is the level of alcohol that was in the defendant’s system when the offence was committed. The court will take into account any aggravating or mitigating circumstances surrounding the case and the level of harm caused, or could have been caused when the offence was committed. These are the maximum sentences that can be given:

Driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol:

  • 6 months in prison
  • £5000 fine
  • Driving ban of between 1 and 3 years (this is obligatory)
  • Between 3 and 11 penalty points

 Causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink:

  • 14 years in prison
  • Unlimited fine
  • Driving ban of 2 years minimum (this is obligatory)
  • Between 3 and 11 penalty points
 

Drink Driving Offences with High Alcohol Level Readings

The offence of being charged with drink driving following a high reading at the point of your breath test, a blood sample or urine sample - can carry a heavy penalty. In addition to receiving a lengthy ban, if convicted offenders are also at risk of a possible custodial sentence. A high reading constitutes; a breath reading of 120µg or above, a blood reading of 276mg or above or a urine sample of 367mg or more.

The Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines suggest that the starting point for the penalty to be imposed in cases where the reading is at this level is a custodial sentence of 12 weeks’ imprisonment.

At Brian Koffman & Co. we fully understand the importance of leaving nothing to chance when there is even the slightest possibility of receiving a custodial sentence. 

How Long will a drink driving conviction remain on my driving licence?

Drivers found guilty of drink driving must expect their driver's licence to receive penalty point endorsements which will endure for 11 years following conviction. Such endorsements for Drink driving offences will obviously affect car Insurance premiums at the point at which the driver is allowed to drive again.

The exact number of penalty points will differ depending on the exact charge and at the discretion of the courts.

The information below describes the number of penalty points that could be endorsed depending on the type of drink driving charge faced.

  • DR31 driving conviction: For driving or attempting to drive whilst above the legal limit, but also for refusing to grant permission for blood sample analysis, where the blood sample was taken without consent: 3-11 penalty points
  • DR30 driving conviction: For driving or attempting to drive while over the legal limit for alcohol consumption and refusing to provide an analysis specimen: 3-11 penalty points
  • DR20 driving conviction: Driving or trying to drive a vehicle whilst unfit through alcohol: 3-11 penalty points
  • DR10 driving conviction: Where an individual has either driven or attempted to drive whilst under the influence of drink with levels above the legal limit

 

HOW CAN DRINK DRIVING CHARGES BE DEFENDED?

We would never dream of letting you plead guilty without having considered the evidence against you and giving you an honest opinion about whether a defence is available in your case. 

As every case of drink driving is unique we need to carefully examine the circumstances which surround your arrest including the procedures the police have followed. Some examples of defences that would be applicable are:

  • Consumption of alcohol after you have driven somewhere
  • A factual dispute about the driving
  • Police failures in the statutory rules governing drink-drive procedures
  • Failure to comply with procedures
  • Unreliability of analysis

 

If you have a defence, we will fight to secure your acquittal. 

If we do not think you have a defence, we would not encourage you to throw good money after bad, but would instead seek to obtain for you the best possible outcome on sentence. 

In some cases, there may be no defence, but there may be ‘special reasons’ why you should not be disqualified, e.g. laced drinks. 

Laced Drinks Defence

If you are the victim of having your drinks laced with either drugs or alcohol, then the courts may well show leniency and may not impose a ban from driving at all. If you have had your drinks laced and then go on to be stopped whilst driving or commit another form of driving offence, that when stopped, the police start to believe you are under the influence of intoxicating levels of alcohol, there may well be grounds for a strong defence, but the level of intoxication is paramount to successfully building a defence in such circumstances as the courts will rightly consider that a reasonable person should be aware that there comes a point where the driver should realise something is wrong regarding their ability to drive safely, and regardless of what they believe they have consumed, a driver should be able to acknowledge the signs that they should not be driving or attempting to drive a vehicle.

Specialist advice should be sought from our team if you believe you have fallen foul of having your drinks laced.

Failing to provide a specimen

Once under caution and following a failed breath test, the police are obliged to build on their evidence surrounding your level of alcohol intoxication by requesting a further sample for analysis. This secondary test will either be a blood or urine test.

If you fail or refuse to provide a specimen for further analysis, without a reasonable excuse then the offence of failing to provide a specimen will have been committed.

Our team are best positioned to advise you accurately on what may amount to a reasonable excuse and whether your personal health or medical situation can provide any additional defence to such a charge. Refusals to provide the secondary specimen when requested and without any form of reasonable excuse can result in more significant penalties being handed down by the courts. 

DRINK DRIVING DEFENCE EXAMPLES

Our Drink Driving Solicitors have provided some examples of real-life scenarios where we have successfully defended our clients. 

1.  CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL AFTER YOU HAVE DRIVEN SOMEWHERE

We represented Mr A, who was charged with driving with excess alcohol.  His instructions were that he had consumed a small amount of alcohol in a public house before getting in his vehicle and driving home, where he then consumed further alcohol.  The police arrived at his house and arrested him and he later provided a sample of breath in excess of the prescribed limit.

We secured evidence from witnesses to confirm his account of what he had drunk and we secured expert evidence to prove that but for the post-driving consumption of alcohol, his reading would have been below the limit.

As a result, he was acquitted of the Drink Driving Offence and received no penalty. 

2. FACTUAL DISPUTE ABOUT THE DRIVING

Miss A was arrested on suspicion of driving with excess alcohol.  She told the police that she had only driven in order to get away from an abusive boyfriend.  This was disputed by the prosecution, but after we called evidence in support, our client was found not guilty of Drink Driving. 

3.  POLICE FAILURES IN THE STATUTORY RULES GOVERNING DRINK DRIVE PROCEDURES / FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH PROCEDURES

We represented Mr M who was charged with failing to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test.  The defence was based on two issues, first that he had a medical condition which amounted to a reasonable excuse, but secondly that the officer in the case had following the incorrect procedure at the Police Station.

Following cross-examination of all police officers and, in particular, the officer who had conducted the procedure, the court discarded the evidence of the Intoxilyser print-out on the basis that they could not be sure the correct procedure had been followed.

The evidence of the officers in relation to the procedure was inconsistent. 

We represented Mr M, who was charged with driving with excess alcohol.  It was contended that following the provision of a sample of blood for a laboratory test, the sample handed to him was not labelled, leaving room for doubt as to whether or not he had in fact been provided with the correct sample for testing and whether therefore the procedure had been correctly followed.

At the trial, a preliminary issue arose when the health professional, who took the sample, failed to appear to give evidence and an application by the prosecution for an adjournment was refused and the case was dismissed with the charge of Drink Driving being dropped.

4.  UNRELIABILITY OF ANALYSIS

In a number of cases before 2015, we represented clients who had provided a sample of breath which provided a reading of between 40 – 50.  As the law stood at that stage, they were entitled to have the opportunity of providing a sample of blood. 

In all those cases, the analysis of the blood was just in excess of the permitted limit, but the analysis of the defendants’ samples was proved to be just below the permitted limit.

In particular, we represented Mr H at a trial where the experts for both sides were called.  The prosecution contended that their analysis was reliable, but that of the defendant’s expert was not reliable.  A District Judge was persuaded that in a case where two experts disagreed over some fine issues, it was not clear that the court could be sure which method it ought to prefer and the defendant was found not guilty of Drink Driving.

Although the law has changed and the police are no longer obliged to offer a defendant the opportunity of providing a blood or urine sample in a case of a breath reading between 40 – 50, there are still occasions when it will be necessary for the police to take a blood or urine sample and in those cases where the reading is just above the prescribed limit, it may be possible to challenge that reading if appropriate steps are taken at a very early stage. 

CONTACT The EXPERT DRINK DRIVING SOLICITORS IN MANCHESTER

As on of the UK’s best drink driving Solicitor’s with considerable experience of defending drivers charged with drink driving with high readings, we can provide invaluable assistance in putting your case forward in ways that help mitigate the potential penalties. Through exploring every avenue when it comes to gathering evidence to support your defence, we can offer you the best possible chance of receiving a lenient penalty. From obtaining medical evidence and fully advising you on our strategy and what to expect in court, we will support you every step of the way.

As you would expect, this process can be time consuming which is why we highly recommend that you contact us in the first instance. Purely because you have been charged with giving a high reading, pleading guilty is not your only option. You may also wish to consider possible drink driving defences before you make a decision on what to do next. Through contacting us without any obligation, we will talk you through your options and advise you on the best course of action.

If you are facing a ‘drink driving offence' we understand how worrying this may be for you. It is important you get the best legal representation as early as possible following or at the point of arrest. The Lawyers at Motoring Offence Solicitors are specialists in drink driving offences and so we have a detailed understanding of the strict procedures that the Police must follow. Brian Koffman himself is widely recognisied as a leading drink driving solicitor in Manchester and across the UK, having dealt with many successful defences of drink driving charges from the Wirral to London and across the UK.

With a wealth of experience in the sentencing guidelines the Courts will apply, we can help you in presenting your best case, providing evidence that will allow the Courts to deal with you in the fairest way possible.

Your chances of a better outcome are increased when you have an experienced motoring offence solicitor representing you.

We have over forty years’ experience. We specialise in entirely in the areas of motoring offences and crime generally.

We are highly regarded as being in the top rank of motoring offence solicitors.  We have been included in Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Professional and the Legal 500 for many years, as well as receiving accolades from many other publications. 

Your case will receive the personal attention of Brian Koffman. 

Every case is of the utmost importance to us.  We provide nationwide coverage and have access to forensic experts throughout the UK.

 

Please contact Brian Koffman & Co on 0161 832 3852 for a free consultation, or submit an enquiry.