When people think about drink-driving or drug-driving, it is often based on a narrative that involves a man, leaving a pub late at night, driving erratically and being stopped by the police. This scenario is sometimes the backdrop to an arrest for drink or drug driving offences. However, more often, the story is quite different.
The morning after the night before
The morning after the night before begins with a headache, followed by groans as the body and mind adjusts to the horrible thought that this is not a weekend, and work beckons.
A quick shower revives the senses and off to work you go. Traffic is heavy, drivers as intolerant as ever, and the rain contributes only to a sour mood amongst drivers. Then bang – a relatively minor shunt causing minimal damage, to really kick start the day!
But it is often this kind of minor road traffic incident, causing road chaos and attracting the attention of the police that results in roadside testing for drink and drugs.
The fact that you look great, feel fine, and are not responsible for the accident, will do nothing to mitigate the alcohol or drug levels in your body. Anyone who tells you that you can confidently predict alcohol or drug levels the morning-after is not telling the truth.
What happens next?
What happens next makes the earlier headache pale into insignificance.
An arrest, charge and court appearance resulting in a minimum period of disqualification.
Will you keep your job? What will your partner say?
The safest message remains ‘none for the road’; in some cases, there are legal defences available, and we can discuss these with you. When a defence is not possible, we work hard to mitigate the sentence and get your life back on track.
Your local police force will now have in place its Christmas and New Year drink-driving campaign. Roadside testing will increase, and officers will be extra vigilant.
How can we help?
We hope that you do not need our services over the festive period. If you do, please be assured that we are here, on your side, 24 hours a day.
If you need specialist advice in relation to any driving offences, criminal investigation or prosecution, from the initial investigation through to court proceedings, please get in touch. Call John Howey on 020 7388 1658 or email email@example.com. Let us help.Read More
The government has announced its intention to use new roadside breathalysers, in a move that could see a further 6,000 convictions per year for drink driving.
At the moment, the breath test procedure is carried out in 2 stages. A person who tests positive at the roadside will be arrested and taken to a police station for a further test to be administered. This is known as the ‘evidential test’ and is the one that forms the basis of any prosecution decision.
The gap in time between the first positive breath test and the one administered at the police station may be significant enough to ensure that a person blows a negative reading – this is due to falling alcohol levels over time (although in some cases the reverse can also happen).
While ‘back calculation’ tests can be carried out, the evidence base is such that they are seldom used for this scenario. Arguably, therefore, some drink drivers go free.
The legislation allowing for a definitive roadside evidential breath test procedure is already in place, but today the government has announced a competition aimed at device manufacturers, with the aim of ensuring that suitable devices are approved and in use by 2020.
Around 460,000 breath tests are conducted each year, with some 59,000 people providing a positive reading.
Approximately 6,000 people provide a positive reading at the roadside but are found to be under the limit when tested at the police station – this change will see those people prosecuted.
In many instances these will be people who have ‘gambled’ on the quick lunchtime drink or have not allowed quite enough time to sober up from the night before.
The changes will also reduce the scope for so-called ‘loophole defences’, popular due to the complexities of the police station procedure. It is expected that decades of case law will become redundant once the new devices have been rolled out. Experience tells us however, that as one legal challenge closes, another pops up!
The penalties for drink driving are severe, with minimum periods of disqualification, high financial penalties and punishing insurance premiums for many years to come. In many cases, offenders face the loss of employment. ‘One for the road’ often comes at a very high price.
How can we assist?
We are experts in all aspects of drink and drug driving law. This is one of the most complex areas of criminal law, and early advice should be sought in order to achieve the best outcome. Contact John Howey on 020 7388 1658 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More