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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71050
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I require advice on a drink driving charge. I was stopped

Customer Question

I require advice on a drink driving charge. I was stopped whilst at a petrol station near Caernarfon last Wednesday as I had forgotten to put my new tax disk in. I had put some fuel in the car after giving up trying to visit my partner in hosptal due to some sort of queue. We were camping when he had had an alcohol induced seizure 3 days earlier and I had taken him to Bangor Hospital. I continued to stay with his 5 year daughter on the camp site and was taking her to visit him. We turned around and went for lunch and then I stopped off to get fuel with the intention of cisiting a castle before trying to go back for the later visiting session. I was breathalysed and was mortified to find I was 3 times over the limit. I had had several drinks the evening before and stupidly I had another one at 5:30am when I was woken up after the wind break broke loose and hit me in the head on the side of the tent, waking me up, so I had to deal with that and had the drink to calm down, but I thought that I ought to be OK by lunch time. They separated us at the petrol station but didn't tell me the little girl was going somewhere else. The officer said I appeared lucid and coherent so I shouldn't be that long but now social services are involved and her mum had to come from the wirral to collect her so she's not happy with me. I was in there for over 6 hours and the alcohol was not leaving my system. I am already under an alcohol counciller and he's going to be very disappointed in me especially when I was doing so well but not more than I am with myself. I obviously have to plead guilty but I am terrified. I have been in and out of hospital (not alcohol related) for operations and tests for the past 2 years and I was made redundant just before I went camping. My partner is an alcoholic and has depression which has been exacerbated by the suicide of his brother just under a year ago. Sorry for being so long winded by I am so scared
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I was advised by the on-call solicitor to just use a duty solicitor. However whilst I appreciate that I don't warrant and special dispensation, I am horribly aware I was in charge of a child at the time. I also know that North Wales police and system tends to be harsh. I don't understand why my breath test was as high as it was and I did not know I could request blood or urine tests and was not offered one, although I was offered a solicitor but at the time I didn't think that would help as I was just desperate to get out of there and get to the child and thought if I had to wait for one it would take even longer. Obviously I no longer have a job so looking for one iwth a driving ban will be tricky so income will be a problem as my partner is now on SSP. I am very scared that I may go to prison and my parents think that I may benefit from paying for someone to stand up for me rather than relying on a duty solicitor who may not have time to prepare, if indeed there is anything to prepare for.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

So what is your question about this?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What should I do? Rely on a duty solicitor, take on a solictor for a fee, talk on my own behalf? Will any of my medical issues and / or my partners plus other stress factors make any difference to the sentence? What should I expect from the sentence. I don't have a job any more and therefore costs imposed are a concern but not as much as a possible jail term. Please advise.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you.

The duty solicitor is no worse than any other solicitor. Obviously some solicitors are better than others but all criminal firms have duty solicitors because thats where the work comes from.

In terms of court, you will have to indicate name and address and plea but the advocate will mitigate for you.

I'm afraid your medical issues are not going to make all that much difference to sentence. They are something to be considered as a matter of personal mitigation but the brackets are fairly rigid with drink driving.

To tell you what you facing I will need to know your reading?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Sorry for the delay. My reading at the station was 107

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
In breath or in blood?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Breath. I did not know about blood or urine tests and I was not offered one.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this is a high reading.

You are in the penultimate sentencing bracket. The starting point is a medium level community order and the range is a low to a high one.

Which order is chosen will depend on your issues but given the reading an alcohol order is likely.

Unfortunately you will be banned for 23-28 months.

I'm very sorry.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank You for your honesty. I thought that would be the case. Am I likely to go to prison given I havenever been in trouble before?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
No. Its not in the sentencing guidelines.

Even if the court do order a pre sentence report on an all options basis they will not determine upon custody.

If they do just appeal to the Crown Court which would succeed.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank You very much for your responses.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
No problem.

All the best.

Please remember to rate my answer.