Why Expert Representation Is Vital

Many thousands of drivers land up in court every year charged with drink-driving. Being convicted of this serious offence can have a devastating effect – you could be sent to prison and lose your licence, meaning you are also likely to lose your livelihood. If you face a charge of driving over the limit, it is essential to find an expert drink driving lawyer who can advise you and give you the representation you need.

Marcus Croskell regularly represents clients alleged to have driven whilst being over the drink drive limit.  Often those that he has helped have never been in trouble with the law before and this is their first taste of the legal system.  Marcus will help them to analyse how the incident came about and whether they have any substantive defence.  Simply because someone is told that a machine concludes they are over the legal limit, does not automatically mean they are guilty.  Marcus will want to ensure there are no anomalies with the intoximetre (the device used in police stations to collect the evidential breath samples), whether any blood or urine samples were taken correctly or whether there are alternative defences available.  

One example is a client in Suffolk he represented this year that was found not guilty (despite being over the legal limit) because he had defence of duress of circumstance as he was forced to drive to avoid a serious attack by his ex-wife and stepson.  If, however, you need to plead guilty, Marcus helps clients in two key ways: firstly by persuading the court to keep the mandatory driving ban to the minimum and secondly, by making submissions on the financial hardship the loss of the licence will cause to keep the fine as low as possible. 

More than 55,000 people were convicted of drink driving in 2010-11 according to a Freedom of Information Request filed at that time. Unfortunately many more people are caught over the festive period.  Many of these include 'morning after' drinkers who get behind the wheel in the morning after a party, failing to realise they are still over the limit.

According to official Department of Transport estimates there are more than 8,000 casualties in accidents involving drink drivers each year, including over 200 deaths. If you were involved in an accident where someone was injured or killed, likely to face a longer sentence, so even more important to find a lawyer who can represent you effectively.

Providing a Breath Test

There are a variety of reasons you as a driver may be stopped by police.  It may be something completely unrelated to alcohol such as a damaged light or a police marker on the vehicle. Often, it is following poor driving that lead a police officer to conclude that they have a reasonable cause to suspect you are committing a traffic offence or after you were involved in an accident.  At this stage, an officer can undertake a roadside breath test.

If the test is positive you will be arrested and taken to police station where you have to provide two specimens of breath there to be analysed. Under some circumstances you can also provide a blood/urine test, for instance if your reading is close to the limit.  If the alcohol tests at the station are positive, you will be charged and usually bailed to appear in court on a specified date.

A word of warning on providing breath samples.  By refusing to give a breath sample, you will not help the situation.  You will be committing a separate criminal offence and will face a mandatory disqualification from driving and heavy fine.  It is imperative that you try to provide as and when requested at the roadside and in the police station breath, blood and urine samples.  Like any offences, that does mean that there are no defences to the charge.  However, experts repeatedly say that the machines are designed to accommodate those with a poor and low lung capacity.  Each case is different and you will need expert legal help from a lawyer to guide you through potential defences to this charge.

Drink Drive Offences

There are a plethora of offences connected with drink driving including being drunk in charge of a vehicle, driving or attempting to drive a car while over the limit or unfit through drink. These are serious offences as you can receive up to 6 months custody, receive a heavy fine and driving ban.  Any period of disqualification may rise to a minimum period of three years if you have previously been caught drink driving within the last 10 years.

The most serious offence will be where the drink offence is incorporated as part of the key facts of an offence of death by dangerous driving.  In these types of cases, it is highly likely if convicted that the driver if found guilty will face some form of prison sentence.  However, there is also the more specific drink driving offence of causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink – this is an indictable offence which must go to Crown Court.  In either instance, it is recommended that you obtain the advice and assistance of an experienced motoring lawyer to help you through this traumatic time.  “High risk offenders” do not get their licence back automatically and may have to pass series of medical examinations and re-tests before let back on the road.  Marcus Croskell can help you through this process.

Possible Defences and Mitigating Factors

An experienced lawyer in road traffic offences will go over the facts of the case with you and advise you if you have a defence.  For instance, they will explore if you were not driving on a public highway at the material time, whether someone gave you a spiked drink or if you had a drink after driving but before you were breath tested (known as the ‘hip-flask’ defence), in which case scientific evidence may be needed to prove this was the case.  Marcus Croskell has experience of helping clients get this expert evidence from third party forensic science service.  Often for the latter, you will need what is called a BAC calculation to work out what the likely blood alcohol level was at the time of driving.

If you have to plead guilty, your lawyer can explain any mitigating factors on your behalf, for instance if you were responding to an emergency which amounts to “special reasons”.

Subject to you having been offered it before, it is nearly always possible to reduce a ban by up to 25% by completing a drink-drive rehabilitation course.  These are private run courses that you have to pay for but are run in conjunction with the court and qualify to reduce the ban period.  Furthermore, you can also apply for long driving bans to be reduced after you have served at least two years.  Click here to explore this further and what help Marcus Croskell can provide.

Marcus Croskell is an expert in representing people charged with drink driving and has appeared in countless cases of this type across East Anglia.  He recognises that it is bound to be a very difficult and stressful period, but he has all the expertise for you to be sure that your case is put to the court accurately and your defence or mitigating factors are fully explained.

If you would like a free initial consultation, call 0843 886 2603 or email Marcus Croskell here.