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Drink Driving.  Can I avoid a Ban?

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Introduction

You have been charged with Drink Driving and are fearful of what will happen next.  What should you do?  Remember, panicking will not help you.  In fact, it will make matters worse.  You need to calmly consider the way forward as it is important to make the right choices.  So, the very first thing you might want to do is to obtain advice, but, from whom?  Friends and family may be well-meaning but are they well placed to give you the best advice?  Probably not.  So, you may decide to speak to a lawyer.  Most people will search on Google, but, don’t forget those who come top of the search may well owe their top ranking to the fact that they are ‘sponsored’ links ie they have paid to come at or near the top of the rankings.  So, how should you assess  to whom to speak?

How should I choose my motoring offence solicitor?

Most of the local solicitors who take on motoring offence cases are criminal solicitors who usually have offices on the local high street.   The vast bulk of the work done by criminal solicitors is legal aid work. They tend to do a little private motoring on the side.  Is this the type of lawyer you want? Or, do you want a lawyer who specialises exclusively in motoring offences?  Often the solicitors who specialise exclusively in motoring cases belong to national firms.  If you contact such a firm do bear in mind they may have a huge turnover of clients nationally. Often you never get to meet anyone in person until the day of your case at court.   So, you may think the ideal is to find a local lawyer who specialises exclusively in motoring offences and who will personally deal with your case from start to finish.   I discuss the factors you may wish to take into account when making your choice in more detail here.

Advice

Once you have identified with whom you would like to speak see if you can speak to that person, without charge, for an initial and provisional discussion.  Do bear in mind that those who advise you may have interests of their own as lawyers generally charge much higher fees to take on cases in which clients plead ‘not guilty’ than they do to take on cases in which clients admit the offence and plead ‘guilty’.  This is because clients who admit their guilt are normally dealt with at the first appearance in court whereas cases which are contested require a lot more work and require more than a single court appearance.   Don’t forget that Defendants who plead ‘guilty’ are given credit for the plea by the sentencing court ie they are dealt with more leniently than those Defendants who are found ‘guilty’ following a trial.  This could make the difference between being sent to prison and receiving a suspended sentence of imprisonment, for example

The Evidence

The strength of the evidence is what usually determines how a Defendant will plead.  If you have been caught red-handed behind the wheel and the police have a positive station alcohol specimen then, on the face of it, the evidence may appear to be strong.  However, do bear in mind that in cases in which the police are not present at the time of the offence, perhaps because they are called to the scene following an accident, the evidence of identity of the driver might still be strong.   All cases vary but sometimes it isn’t difficult for the police to prove who was driving, for example, because it is admitted when they attend by the suspect, because other witnesses point the driver out, because the person present is the only person who was insured to drive the vehicle in question etc.  So, do be realistic about whether the police have the evidence to prove who was driving.  Don’t forget that though a way can usually be found to contest even the strongest of cases it isn’t always in the Defendant’s interest to do so.  Contesting a case will ensure that costs, delay, and stress will all sky rocket.  You will also forgo the ‘credit’ for a plea.  So, if you are to plead ‘not guilty’ do ensure that you have carefully considered all of the relevant factors.

Conclusion

There are many factors to take into account when determining how best to react to a police charge and they vary from case to case.  I can, necessarily, only list a few hereinabove.  However, do be mindful that making the wrong decisions as to how best to proceed can be very costly, in various ways, by the end of the court process.  If you are unsure how best to proceed you are welcome to call us at Kent Traffic Law.  If you have a court date and I accept your booking I guarantee that one, senior lawyer, who specialises (exclusively) in motoring offences will deal with your case from start to finish ie from the very first call all the way through to representing you in court.

If you want to speak to him just pick up the phone for an initial discussion without obligation.

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