Defence Lawyers Accused of Bad Practice in Drink Driving Cases

The issue of drink driving has been in the spotlight recently, following several cases of celebrities being caught over the limit. In some cases, those accused of drink driving have sought to clear their name through the use of legal representation.

This has led to the government’s forensic science regulator criticizing the way in which some defence lawyers are behaving. The regulator believes that some lawyers are requesting vast amounts of data regarding the reliability of the breathalyser and blood-alcohol analysis tests carried out by the police.

The information requested includes calibration certificates, previous readouts from other tests, and service and engineer logs for the equipment. The regulator believes that certain defence lawyers are now routinely requesting this information as a ‘smoke and mirrors’ tactic.

The Crown Prosecution Service has expressed concern at this trend as such tactics will put a strain on resources, due to the fact that more investigation will have to take place to obtain the requested information.

However, defence lawyers have hit back, saying defence teams are perfectly entitled to scrutinize scientific information and that they are duty-bound to investigate.

The drink drive limit in England and Wales

There is not a set amount that you can drink (i.e. one pint or one-shot) and still be safe to drive. People are affected by and process alcohol differently. Weight, gender, age and other factors can play a part in how alcohol affects us. The police, therefore, use the following calculations to determine the limit:

35 Micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath 
80 Milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood 
107 Milligrams per 100 millilitres of urine

 

Punishment

Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

Possible punishment:

  • 3 months’ imprisonment
  • up to £2,500 fine
  • a possible driving ban

Driving or attempting to drive while above the legal limit or unfit through drink

Possible punishment:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a driving ban for at least 1 year (3 years if convicted twice in 10 years)

Refusing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis

Possible punishment:

  • 6 months’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least 1 year

Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink

Possible punishment:

  • 14 years’ imprisonment
  • an unlimited fine
  • a ban from driving for at least 2 years
  • an extended driving test before your licence is returned

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please speak to our expert lawyers for further advice and assistance. You can contact our lawyers instantly through Instant Access, Email and In-Person services for initial consultation.

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This article is written by our legal content writer James Chalkley (LLB. LLM.)

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