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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 11557
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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I received a charge of being voer the prescribed alcohol limit

Resolved Question:

I received a charge of being voer the prescribed alcohol limit in November 2014 (89mg to 100mg breath). I have only now received a letter from the PF which asks me to sign guilty or not guilty - it includes a summary police report which is accurate and areas for me to fill in. It also asks for my driving licence. Is there anything i should do other than just fill in and return the form?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
In this type of case, where a disqualification is mandatory, you can't plead by letter. You will have to appear in court on the date and at the time shown in the letter. You should therefore appear in court, preferably with a solicitor to represent you.
Happy to discuss further.
I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for your response. The letter states that i may answer the complain by either

1. attend court personally

2. arrange for your lawyer to attend

3. Write to the PF Edinburgh using the REPLY FORM and envelope attached.

Therefore it seems i do not need to attend court?

Please advise further if you can

Many thanks

Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
I know the document you are referring to and it's not terribly helpfully worded for drink driving cases. The court cannot impose a ban unless you are in court personally as the ban takes effect immediately, not when you get a letter about it.
For that reason you have to attend court personally. If you don't, the court will simply continue the case and summons you to be there.
I hope this helps.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I understand that, however it does ask for me to send in the envelope my driving licence (both parts) which would make me assume, as it is not stated otherwise, that they will not require me to be there.

Surely this is true - they have gone to a lot of effort in the letter to carefully remind me at each stage to include both parts of my driving licence in the envelope.

Is this typical?

Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
You'll appreciate that the complaint you have received and the relative forms are generic and are used for a wide variety of charges. There are some road traffic charges which can and are dealt with by way of letter plea hence the bit about enclosing driving licences. However, drink driving isn't one of them.
If you plead guilty by letter, the court will simply send you a summons to appear. That is based on my experience of some 30 years. Never have I seen a drink driving case being disposed of by a letter plea.
It would be nice to think the PF had gone to a lot of effort. Unfortunately the reverse is true. They have churned the papers out of a computer and the generic nature of the papers doesn't actually fit the case they are charging you with.
Here is the position. If you plead by letter and the court bans you, how do you know about the ban of you aren't personally present? The ban applies the instant the court imposes it. That is why you have to be there.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

What you are saying makes sense. The date of the hearing is not ideal for me, so in this instance, given the instructions of their letter, can i reply and then await a further summons letter? This also allows me more time to contact my lawyer if court attendance is necessary.

Thank you,

Gavin

Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Yes, you can ask the PF to have the case continued without plea for three weeks to enable you to take legal advice. That won't be opposed and you should get a letter advising you of the new date.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I do appreciate your assistance, genuinely. I intend on writing a covering letter (as it offers the opportunity to explain the circumstances). Are there any particularly mitigating circumstances that the court looks more kindly on. I am myself a forensic psychologist, with no previous convictions however i wonder if in these circumstance there might be something worth noting in the letter to aid my position?

Kindly,

Gavin

Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
An apology for the offence helps as does the fact that you are a first offender, job and personal circumstances and effect the ban will have. Any explanation for the offence as well.
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