Should you Admit or Deny the offence?
You are being investigated by the police for drink driving. You face loss of driving licence and with it, possibly, your means of earning a living. You are very anxious and unsure of what to do next. What approach should you adopt?
‘Loopholes’ - How common are they?
Anxiety and concern can be the companion of hasty and ill-judged decision-making. It can result in motorists contacting the first motoring offence solicitors firm they find on the internet (often those claiming the best ‘success rates’). Often the advice is to the effect that if you plead ‘not guilty’ you can oblige the CPS to disclose its evidence to the defence. This is often accompanied by promises a) that the motoring defence solicitors will comb through the police evidence looking for procedural irregularities, and, b) that defence experts will be tasked with uncovering evidence that the police equipment was unreliable. In short, you may be told that the defence usually manage to find a ‘loophole’ in the Crown’s case and that contesting the allegation may be in your best interests (even if you know you did actually commit the offence)! But, think…. Whose interests will be served if you speculatively contest the case in such circumstances?
Does finding a ‘loophole’ defence mean you secure an acquittal?
If you were caught driving and the police evidence, such as an intoximeter test taken at the station, shows that you were over the drink drive limit then your chances of an acquittal may be remote (even if there were some procedural or other irregularities). Don’t forget that it’s not just the prosecution that has to disclose its case; at the first court hearing the defence will normally be required to set out in writing their defence and why they challenge the Crown’s case. The courts have become used to (and tired of) specialist motoring offence solicitors encouraging Defendants to contest drink driving cases on technicalities. This can result in the court being sceptical of the defence from start to finish with the outcome, more often than not, being a conviction.
Pause – Ask yourself, which approach best serves your interests
You should bear in mind that pleading ‘not guilty’ in court will mean your case will not be finished at the first hearing. Your case is likely to take months to be heard during which you will have to bear the stress and costs of contesting the case (including defence legal fees). If you are found ‘guilty’ in the end you are likely to be ordered to pay the prosecution costs too. Don’t forget that your sentence will also be more severe than if you had admitted the offence at the outset (as you will have foregone the ‘credit’ for a ‘guilty’ plea.) Of course, none of the above means that you should do anything other than deny the offence if you did not commit it.
You need to analyse objectively where your interests lie. If you were caught red-handed and the evidence is, prime facie, clear you should consider whether your interests are best served by pleading ‘guilty’ at the outset. This may not please your lawyer but it will mean that you will receive credit for the plea in the form of a more lenient sentence.
If you would like an informal discussion, without obligation, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. We will not hesitate to give you impartial guidance in your best interests.