Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Why use a specialist drink driving solicitor?

I was recently asked to review an excess alcohol (the proper name for drink driving) case conducted by a high street criminal law solicitor.

The client blew 90 microgrammes in breath at the police station but said that this is impossible because he consumed less than two-pints of beer.

The solicitor heard his instructions and advised him to plead not guilty saying that they would prove that the intoximeter used by the police was faulty.  Much evidence was gathered, costing the client a substantial amount of money, but all of it tended to show that the intoximeter was functioning correctly.

There are times where arguing that the intoximeter is unreliable is a good idea, but not in this case.  Had the solicitor known what to look for, they would have realised that on his own account of the night’s events the intoximeter was highly likely to be functioning correctly.  This could have saved the client well over a thousand pounds in lawyers and expert fees.

My review concluded that the correct advice in this case was to plead guilty and argue that there is a special reason not to disqualify.  Had this advice been given at the very start the client would have saved a substantial amount of money, received a full reduction in sentence for his guilty plea and would have kept his driving licence.  Unfortunately, he did not go to a specialist in the first place!

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