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Drink Driving

(16 Posts)
franckiesmum Wed 18-Jan-17 09:42:38

My friend is being prosecuted for drink-driving based on the count back system where a toxologist estimates how much alcohol would have been in her blood at the time she was arrested. She claims she had definitely not been drinking when a member of the public reported her for being unsteady on her feet when in charge of her car, but she had drunk a bottle of wine by the time the police turned up and arrested her. She has pleaded not guilty to the offence on principle because her argument is why should she plead guilty to something she didn't do just because it would reduce her penalty slightly. Consequently it is going to trial and her current solicitor has told her there's "no hope" of her winning.

I've suggested she gets a second opinion from a solicitor used to dealing with this type of offence - does anyone have experience of working with a practice in similar circumstances? Locality wouldn't be an issue as she'd travel if she was getting the right advice.

Thank you.

RedHelenB Wed 18-Jan-17 13:33:36

What was the time lapse between her being reported and drinking the bottle of wine? If we are talking less than an hour I can see why the solicitor has given that advice, if it was the best part of a day then maybe not?

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Wed 18-Jan-17 13:42:11

It's entirely up to her, but frankly the blood tests are hard to refute for back calculation. Her denial doesn't make it false.

Every drink driver I ever had (ex police) claimed to have only had one or two drinks. Every one who blew over must have had a skinful. Even my DP lies to himself about his morning-after drink drive conviction and says he only had two or three drinks the night before. For him to have blown what by he did, when he did, he must have had at least 9 pints.

You say she was reported for being unsteady on her feet when in charge of her car, OP - is she claiming that they were mistaken, or that they made a false report deliberately and maliciously, or has she some condition that might make her appear inebriated when in fact she is sober?

My first reaction to your post was 'she was driving drunk and now she's trying to talk her way out of it' - the police have scientific evidence that they believe proves that she had been drinking at the time when she was driving, plus a report of her being unsteady on her feet. And the CPS wouldn't be prosecuting if they didn't believe they had a good chance of winning.

I'm sorry - I am sure that is not what you want to hear - but unless your friend can provide unbiased witnesses to tell the court that she hadn't been drinking at all, prior to driving, and that she did drink a bottle of wine after driving wherever it was she drove, and before the police arrive, then I suspect that the court will look at the scientific evidence, and the witness report of her being unsteady on her feet, then driving the car, and will come to the same conclusion as I did.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Wed 18-Jan-17 13:43:53

She needs to read up on what her defence can be: www.cps.gov.uk/legal/p_to_r/road_traffic_offences_drink_driving/#a03

There are plenty of company who claim to specialise in this area if she looks online.

franckiesmum Wed 18-Jan-17 14:06:43

Thanks everyone.

I'm not sure of the time-lapse between being spotted by a member of the public and being arrested, all I know is she had time to drink a bottle of wine before they came. The police officer was shouting at her through the window "I'm going to have you" and it terrified her so much she kept on drinking while they were outside. She does have a drink problem btw and admitted she had been drinking the night before the incident. She already has a conviction for slapping a police officer while drunk.

She does recover from drinking bouts at the same speed as the alcohol affects her, very quickly. I understand that doesn't mean it's out of her system.

What I will say is that even when sober, alcohol appears to have affected her brain function and dexterity and sometimes I struggle to differentiate with her whether she's been drinking or not. Other times it's quite obvious she has.

At the initial hearing, she was advised to have a private toxologist look over the reports produced, I assume for errors or possibility of errors.

I just wondered if anyone could recommend a solicitor who deals in this type of situation rather than taking a punt on someone she finds on the internet.

Thanks.

franckiesmum Wed 18-Jan-17 14:08:48

I should also say that they didn't test her alcohol levels until 11 hours after the alleged incident.

SleepingCitySidewalk Wed 18-Jan-17 14:09:07

I'm sorry but I would be 99.9% certain she was driving whilst drunk, even if she was a good friend or family member.

I'm also a bit uncomfortable with the fact you are basically asking for advice on how to get out of a drink driving charge hmm

SleepingCitySidewalk Wed 18-Jan-17 14:11:34

She doesn't sound like she should have a driving licence at all, I'm afraid.

Op I mean this gently, if this is you rather than a friend, it might be better to focus on seeking help for the alcoholism rather than wriggling out of DIU. I know it's not that easy.

franckiesmum Wed 18-Jan-17 14:44:18

SleepingCitySidewalk No, it's not me.

I have very different personal feelings about this situation than just wanting to make sure she gets the right people on her side if she isn't guilty.

I read the link VivienneWestwoodKnickers and it does make me think no solicitor is going to give her any advice she already hasn't had.

IMO she shouldn't be driving at all as I think she'll end up killing someone.

I've never witnessed any addiction taking over someone's life to the degree they are barely recognisable from the person they once were. Life has thrown some things at her that we all have to go through and we all deal with them in different ways.

She has only recently asked me to help her with the situation in general, previously I was oblivious to how bad things were - i.e. previous convictions, community orders etc.

Her husband is a great support to her but the rest of her family and friends are turning their backs which is sad to see. We've known each other since childhood, had the same upbringing and our families were close so she feels I understand her more than most what has brought her to this point. I do, to a point, and I have the means to maybe take her away from this environment for a period of time and try to get through to her. But, I'm no expert, nor do I think I have all the answers but I want to do what I can.

Redglitter Wed 18-Jan-17 14:48:31

Sounds like she drank more than a bottle of wine if she was still over the limit 11 hours later. Remember you're getting her version of events. They could be very different to what actually happened

EverythingEverywhere1234 Wed 18-Jan-17 14:48:38

She's a liar. That and/or she was still over the limit from the night before. You could try any number of solicitors, it's very difficult to refute hard evidence which is what the back count is really.
I understand that you want to help, but I would argue there is very little for you to do. Sorry flowers

LauraMipsum Wed 18-Jan-17 14:54:29

I am very cynical about people who claim to have suddenly necked a bottle of wine in circumstances where they knew they were about to be breathalysed. However. The burden of proof is on the CPS to prove their case, and I have seen these defences succeed in front of gullible magistrates

PM me if you would like recommendations of solicitors.

Bluntness100 Wed 18-Jan-17 15:01:58

I also think she is bullshitting you and her family and friends turning their backs would maybe indicate they know the truth here and have simply come to the end of their tether. Sometimes you need to let the person take responsibility.

The story doesn't make sense, because the cps would not prosecute if they were not fairly sure of a conviction and they will have reviewed the evidence. She slaps a police officer but is so scared when they knock on her door she necks a bottle of wine and keeps drinking? If she hadn't done anything, why was she so scared?

Maybe it would be for the best if she did go to court and get found guilty - she might lose her licence (which would get her off the road - a good thing), and it might be enough of a shock to get her to get help for her drinking.

prh47bridge Wed 18-Jan-17 18:32:32

Some people seem to be missing the point that it is for the prosecution to prove their case. So the central question is whether the alcohol level in the OP's friend's bloodstream can be explained by the bottle of wine she claims to have drunk. If the back calculation shows that, even taking into account her claimed consumption, she was still over the limit when she drove she does not have a defence. However, if deducting her claimed consumption takes her below the limit at the time she was driving she may be able to win her case. It depends if she can convince the court that her story is credible. She may also need expert evidence to show that her claimed consumption accounts for the level of alcohol found.

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