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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69359
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have recently been charged with the following; "Driving a

Customer Question

I have recently been charged with the following; "Driving a mechanically propelled vehicle while unfit to drive through drink or drugs" and "Possession of 7.2 grams of a controlled drug, namely Cannabis a class B drug"

I am just seeking assistance as to whether I will need a lawyer for this matter and possibly an idea of what my punishment may be. I am 18 years old (offence occured at age 17) and I have never had any trouble with police what-so-ever until this point.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Are you going to plead guilty?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I was never tested, medically anyway. I was given an impairment test, which I passed, and also had my eyes judged. (The outcome of this was "9" stating I was under the influence of something. I do plan on pleading guilty because I am aware it is illegal to drive whilst any cannabis is in your system at all, however I don't agree that I was "unfit to drive" as I hadn't touched cannabis for more than 2 hours before, and only a very small amount.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Ok.

You will not get legal aid probably for this type of hearing. Often legal aid is refused for this type of case. You can always apply and there are rare occasions where it is granted but it is unusual

You can obviously pay privately. The truth is that probably you would be assisted by representation but its whether you are willing to incur the cost.

You should be aware that if you say during mitigation that you do not believe you were not fit to drive then any guilty plea will be vacated and the matter set down for trial as that is a defence.

Hope this helps. Please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above and I can answer your related questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If I was to argue that I believed myself to be in a fit state to drive, what, in your opinion, are my chances of the charge being dropped due to this defence? Given that I passed an impairment test, less than 45 minutes after my arrest I might add, is the result of my eyes enough to convict me of this? I don't believe it should be enough however I am aware that it is my word against the 2 officers who arrested me. And, especially where I am located, the word of officers is taken almost as gospel in court.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Obviously I haven't had vision of this case but the chances are not very high to be wholly honest.

It always gets hard to argue that you are fit to drive if you have been smoking cannabis although actually I do see the logic of the point that you make.

Magistrates do generally find in favour of police officers where there is dispute over facts and the officers will be saying that there was some evidence of impairment apparent to them.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Just as a final question, before I rate your service as excellent, if in the report I have been given to fill out and send to the Prosecutor Fiscal I attach a letter stating my concerns about raising a defence, will this void my guilty plea? Or will this only happen if I bring up it up when I appear in court?


 


Also, if I do send a letter to the PF, can I expect a reply? Given my court date is not until 11th of April. Is it possible to make personal telephone contact with the PF? I would assume not?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No, if you raise a defence at any time then it could lead to the vacation of your guilty plea.

In fact, you can plead guilty for any reason you choose. If you take the view that you cannot win a trial then a guilty plea to maximise your credit is perfectly acceptable. There's nothing dishonest in that.

What you cannot do though is plead guilty and then say in mitigation that you are innocent. When expressed like that you can probably see the difficulty.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So, am I correct in thinking that I can plead guilty, purely on the premise that I believe my case to be unwinnable? However this raises the point to me that, will I not be questioned as to why I believe my case to be unwinnable? Therefor raising a defence and voiding my guilty plea?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, you can plead guilty for any reason you like as long as you don't say anything untrue in mitigation.

You don't need really to comment at all upon that in mitigation though. Just express remorse and emphasise your hitherto good character.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So in my plea, shall I state, in writing, that I believe my case to be unwinnable? And I will not be asked to comment on this while in mitigation?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
You could be asked to comment upon it. Of course, you could always just say you don't want to comment upon that but its not as safe as not mentioning it at all.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Therefor it is not in my best interest to deem my case unwinnable??

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I wouldn't suggest making that point in mitigation.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Just to summarise and make sure my understanding is absolute. If I was to say on my report that I plead guilty, and in the reason section I was to state that I believe my case to be unwinnable, will this portray a view of innocence but responsibility for my actions? Because I do believe it important to make some reference to the fact I believe I am innocent in a way. As I don’t believe it would be right for me to roll over and accept a larger punishment than I am due. I am willing to state in court that I believe my case is unwinnable due to the fact I have no evidence to prove my innocence. But will this fall into the category of having a defence and voiding my guilty plea? I am willing to take responsibility for my actions but what I am very tentative about doing is not mentioning at all that I think I was alright to be driving. If I say I believe I am innocent in regards XXXXX XXXXX unfit to drive, but I cannot prove this and am therefor willing to take my punishment, will this help or hinder me in court? Because I feel very strongly that it is unfair if I am not allowed to state my innocence without having my guilty plea up turned. If I state I can’t prove my innocence but I do believe myself to be innocent. Will this see my guilty plea changed to not guilty?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
There is a risk they will say you are raising a defence, vacate your guilty plea and set it down for trial.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69359
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Am I likely to lose my Driver's licence?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I am sorry but you are since this is an offence of driving whilst unfit.

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