Hello, I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. I will try to help you with this.
Customer: hello. I can't see your answer at the moment
Customer: hello.......Do you have an answer?
I am working on it now.
He is in a difficult position here. At that level of breath reading he should have been offered a blood test as an alternative. You need to ask him why this wasn't offered. As far as talking to a solicitor is concerned all persons in police custody have the right to legal advice. although a breath test will not be delayed to enable legal consultation. The way solicitors are contacted through the police is that a detained person will be told on arrival by the Custody Sargent that he as the right to speak to a solicitor of his choice. If he has the contact details for one they will be contacted otherwise he will be referred to the duty solicitor scheme. If his access to a solicitor has been impeded then that could be very significant as could the apparent lack of the offer of a more accurate test through a blood sample.
Customer: thank you. I may mention that my son has been living and working in UK for approx 2 years. His main language is Italian and he speaks English with a strong accent. His comprehension of English is reasonable but he has difficulty understanding people who speak with any accent or too quickly so he may not have fully understood what the police told him. They took him home at sbout 4 pm and would not allow him to get his keys or expensive tree surgery equipment from his car, so he had to climb into the house through a top window!
Customer: I may add that he was talking normally on the phone and would not have been aggressive. He was fully cooperative andolite to the police and is prepared to face whatever charges but the car is probably a write-off and he (and I) are extremely worried about his job. He is a very competent and passionate qualified tree surgeon with 7 years experience and will be without a job if he has no licence. Alternatively he will have to move abroad.
Customer: Thank you., How does the referral to the duty solicitor work? Also, if we find a private solicitor, how much could we expect that to cost roughly? Thanks
A solicitor can help, as long as you get a solicitor who is either a specialist in road traffic or a good criminal solicitor with experience of road traffic cases. Your son may well want to get a copy of custody CCTV as this may show any breaches of your son's rights or highlight communication difficulties which might be relevant to the admissibility of the entire breath procedure. Has he been charged yet? He may qualify for legal aid if he is on low income (below £12.500).
The way a referral to the duty scheme works is that following a request, the police will call the duty solicitor call centre who will then call the solicitor on duty who will then call the police station to speak to the detained person.
Customer: He has an appointment for 22 September. I'm not sure if he has details or where and what the charge is. I think his income would definitely be below that sum if that's net income.
As far private fees are concerned it does vary but I charge about £1,000 for a guilty plea and about £1,500 for a trial (+ VAT), this fairly standard in London. If your son wants to have a chance of avoiding a conviction and ban he will need there to be a technical defence available, that means he needs a solicitor who knows what they are doing.. I would reccomend early instructing of a solicitor to defend him.
Customer: My son had understood that he needed to provide his own mobile number (which he couldn't remember at the time) so he asked if he could see his phone for his contact numbers. He was told that he couldn't have his phone. He therefore didn't speak to any solicitor. To the question "would you like to speak to a solicitor" my son replied "yes".
He would probably qualify for legal aid. He should make an appointment to see a solicitor asap.
Customer: As far as fees are concerned, does that mean £1000 PLUS £1500? I think he would need/want to plead guilty to the drink/driving as he had been drinking.
Te exchange you are requesting sounds odd. If he says yes (or rather signs that he wanst legaladvice) the duty siolicitor should be called immediately.
Customer: Also, how does he apply for legal aid and how does that work (sorry, but I have also lived most of my life in Italy where things work differently).
No that means £1,000 or £1,500. He may have a defence (the lack of legal advice, the lack of a blood test, the possible language issues can all possibly lead to a defence) and needs legal advice. In order to apply for legal aid he will need to make an appointment with a solicitor who will help him fill in the forms etc.
Customer: ok Thank you. I think the odd exchange may have been as follows: He was aksed "do you want to speak to a solicitor?" He replies "yes" , then he is asked "do you have a number?" (meaning for a solicitor) he understands "do you have your number" (for the solicitor to call you" when he says "can I see my phone " (to get his mobile number) he is told "no" so he understands that's the end of it. As I said he has never been to a police station before and wouodn't know what the procedure would be.
Customer: Thank you.