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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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I was banned for one year for drink driving approx 3 years

Customer Question

I was banned for one year for drink driving approx 3 years ago.
Last week I was charged with refusing to submit to an alcohol test following a minor car crash (involving no others).
Circumstances as follows:
I have long standing mental health issues and as a result have an addiction to alcohol. That said, at the time of being arrested, although I was drunk at that time, this had occurred after the crash and I was not driving whilst under the influence. I was found some distance from my car having intended to drive to the train tracks nearby to commit suicide.
Having crashed my car into a hedge I abandoned it and proceeded to get drunk and try and walk to the train tracks.
Police found me lying on the ground (drunk) and took me into custody for the best partof the next 24 hours.
Clearly this is a tenuous argument on the face of it and I'm doubtful that given my previous conviction for drink driving, I would convince a jury I was NOT drunk whilst actually driving.
My question is therefore is it worth me trying to pursue this argument and risk a more punitive conviction or do I have an angle which may succeed?
NOTE: whilst in custody I was given no legal representation and had to beg a) to be seen by a Dr and b) to be assessed by a mental health professional. I also requested I be committed as I was a high suicide risk and became increasingly manic at being held in a cell for such a prolonged period of time. I do not feel that given my clear lack of mental stability I was treated appropriately at all.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.

Alex Watts :

Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return. There is no need to wait here, you will get an email when I reply.

Alex Watts :

What was the date of the previous offence and current offence please?

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

Hi and thank you.

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

Previous date of conviction: 8th Sept 2010

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

Current offence: 2 failures to provide (blood and breath test) - neither of which I recall refusing to supply as I was drunk (this is not in dispute) and manically suicidal at the time

Alex Watts :

When was the current offence please?

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

23Rd june

Alex Watts :

Ok - If you can show that you had no control over your actions you may have a defence.

Alex Watts :

But you would need to be subject to various medical experts and reports

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

P.s I currently have 3 points on my licence (CD10) from 1st July 2009

Alex Watts :

If you were just down and wanted to kill yourself, this would not be enough

Alex Watts :

It has to be that you were not of sound mind or did not have control of your actions.

Alex Watts :

If it is the case that this was caused by drinking then this would not be a defence.

Alex Watts :

As you know this is your second offence within 10 years and you are likely to be disqualified from driving for a minimum of 3 years

Alex Watts :

I am sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you are looking for and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

Alex Watts :

But it wont be a jury, it would be 3 magistrates or a single Judge your case would be before

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

So in conclusion would you say I have no solid defence and would best pleading guilty and minimising whatever costs maybe incurred? Can you also advise if I'm likely to get a custodial sentence?

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

Further more however you mention not being of sound mind - I most certainly wasn't and continued to lack any sanity whilst in custody which will be documented. I'm presuming however that proving I wasn't of sound mind would be virtually impossible?!

Alex Watts :

You could only do this if you have expert reports. You could plead not guilty. The only risk you run is additional prosecution costs of about £500 and a slightly longer disqualification

Alex Watts :

But you will need to undergo psychiatric tests

Alex Watts :

But the fact you drank does not assist your cause.

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify matters?

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

I have expert reports/evidence which prove my suicidal intentions AFTER the event, but not before.

Alex Watts :

It would be a matter for the Court to decide whether you were of sound mind at the time of the incident.

Alex Watts :

The Prosecution has to prove you were.

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

I do however have a long standing history of suicidal tendencies, psychological intervention/treatment/medication which can be backed up with my medical history. Does this offer me any possible mitigation whatsoever or is it a waste of time/money?

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

I accept I may have to conceed defeat but I don't want to do this until I'm absolutely sure I have no other option

Alex Watts :

In terms of mitigation you are facing 3 years disqualification.

Alex Watts :

If you plead guilty it is likely to be around that. If you plead not guilty and are found guilty it can be longer

Alex Watts :

The Prosecution need to satisfy the Court that at the time of taking the alcohol and driving you were of sound mind

Alex Watts :

Or at least knew what you were doing and whether it was wrong

Alex Watts :

If you knew it was wrong to drink drive then you have no defence

Alex Watts :

If you had no control over your actions whatsoever then you have a defence

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

hmmm not sure because I suspect it would be easier to prove I was of sound mind than not! Is there a possibility of a custodial sentence?

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

and would medical evidence after the event stating I've been suicidal, constitute not being of sound mind?

Alex Watts :

None whatsoever if you are only charged with failure to provide.

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

also what are the likely financial penaities so I have a rough idea of cost

Alex Watts :

There is a risk as always

Alex Watts :

But if there was no contact with other road users etc very unlikely.

Alex Watts :

Financial penalties depend on what you earn etc so its hard to give you an accurate estimate.

Alex Watts :

There would be Court costs if not guilty of about £500, under £100 if guilty.

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

I don't understand sorry? If I plead guilty - £100 and if I plead not guilty but am found guilty it would be £500?

Alex Watts :

Yes prosecution trial costs

Alex Watts :

Costs are less if you plead guilty.

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

p.s I earn £45k pa but is my husbands income taken into account?

Alex Watts :

No, just yours.

Alex Watts :

It would be generally 150% of what you earn in a week

Alex Watts :

So £865 x 150% = £1298

Alex Watts :

You get 1/3rd off if you plead guilty.

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify?

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

hang on please

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

is that figure plus the £100? or in total?

Alex Watts :

Plus the £100 prosecution costs

Alex Watts :

So you have:

Alex Watts :

1) Penalty, ie fine

Alex Watts :

2) Costs

Alex Watts :

3) Plus 10% victim surcharge max of £120

Alex Watts :

Thats it

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

there were no victims involved!

Alex Watts :

That makes no difference.

Alex Watts :

It is set down by law.

Alex Watts :

10% of a fine

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

ok so total would be?

Alex Watts :

It depends whether you plead guilty or not guilty.

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

both please

Alex Watts :

So not guilty and convicted around £1900

Alex Watts :

If plead guilty around £1150

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else for you?

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

no

Alex Watts :

You have rated POOR SERVICE despite me spending a great deal of time with you discussing the legal situtuation

Alex Watts :

What else do you want to know from me?

JACUSTOMER-y0qd8j55- :

nothing

Alex Watts : Can I ask you to reconsider your rating as its affects my record on here?
Alex Watts : Remember you are rating my service and not whether or not it was the answer you wanted.
Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you leave feedback on my service which I hope has been excellent today, if you need more information or help then please click reply.

Please remember that I am always happy to help if you have future questions, even if I am in Court I can normally respond within a few hours. For future information, please start them with ‘For Alex W’.

Please bookmark my profile if you wish for future help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

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