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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 9356
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My son has been summonsed to appear before Bristol

Customer Question

My son has been summonsed to appear before Bristol magistrates for driving over the legal alcohol limit. This will occur on Monday. He is guilty, since he was recorded as having a blood alcohol level of 80. The police followed him home and picked him up after he got out of the car. He had driven at 31 mph in a 20 zone. He says he felt so ill he just wanted to go to bed.However he believes his drink was spiked because he was incredibly ill in custody. The police were so worried about him that they took him to RUH in Bath where he stayed until I picked him up the following morning.
This is his first offence. I am expecting him to be banned from driving. However he is a basketball player and is employed by Bristol Flyers as a community coach which involves him travelling to schools and colleges all over Bristol. He will not be able to do his job if banned. Is there any chance that he will be able to avoid a ban?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

Are you sure the reading was 80 in blood and not breath,because the limit is 80in blood

he can escape a ban if he can show that if the drink had not been spiked he would have been below the limit, that he didn’t know or suspect that his drink was spiked, that the drink was spiked and (this is problematical) that he should not have realised that he was over the limit.

It is this latter point which is problematical for him because he realised that he felt ill.

He is going to need to ask for an adjournment on account of “special reasons”.

Unless he has experience of this, he would be wise to use a solicitor because if he tries to do it himself, he will just get disqualified.

Here is some reading from a firm who are looking for this kind of work.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you. My son has the paperwork so I will check again about the alcohol level. He cannot prove that his drink was spiked. He is just at a loss to explain how incredibly ill he was on the amount that he said he had drunk. So too were the police which is why he was taken by ambulance to A&E.
I am not aware of the limits of this service. My son is at training and has not yet returned so I cannot go any further with this conversation until he does. May I clarify with you later?
Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

All noted. Thank you. The thread remains open and we can have as many exchanges as you wish until everything is clear.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
finally I can deal with this properly. He blew 59 in the police station. I do not know where I got the 80 in his blood from. So he was nearly twice the legal limit for drink driving. I assume that since he cannot prove his drink was spiked he will be banned. Is this likely to be for 12 months or more? There seems little point in trying to avoid it since, as I said, he cannot prove that his drink was spiked. How much notice will be taken of his need to drive for his work? Although the hospital took blood it was not for alcohol or other drugs. He says they were looking for viral or other infection to account for his illness.
On the subject of appearing before the magistrate I assume smart dress code; shirt, tie etc. The paperwork says 9 am. Do I assume that they will just work through a list and he could be there for a while?
Thank you for your advice but this seems pretty futile to me.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

Thank you. The limit is 35 in breath in England and Wales and Northern Ireland and 22 in Scotland.

It’s not likely to be more than 12 months. What I think is going to be fatal to any drink spiking allegation is the fact that he new he did not feel well and was trying to get home.

If any defence of drink spiking doesn’t work, it will not matter what excuses he puts forward, it is a mandatory 12 month ban at least.

You are correct that he will have to be there for 9 AM and he will get called when he gets called. He needs to set aside the day.

Although solicitors do look for this kind of work, it’s more common for them to get paid and fail than for them to get paid and succeed. The people instruct solicitors like this generally have a lot of money to risk and will try anything to keep the licence.

Dress code, yes smart although I have seen many people remarkably less so in the magistrates court.

Please rate the service positive it’s an important part of the process by which experts get paid. It doesn’t cost you anything but helped me greatly. We can still exchange emails if you wish.

Best wishes.


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Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Did I send my reply previously? I will repeat in case I didn't. It was helpful to have someone who knew what they are talking about confirm my view. It means that I am not just a fussing mother. It may mean that he adopts a more sensible approach to proceedings.
Thank you.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 11 months ago.

I just have this last reply once.

I am pleased to confirm thought is correct.