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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71343
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My 20-year old daughter was arrested just over a week ago and

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My 20-year old daughter was arrested just over a week ago and charged with drink driving. She is guilty and deeply remorseful. Her breath test reading was 73. No-one was injured and no other vehicle was involved - apparently she took a corner a bit fast (was nearly home - had driven to the village to buy a burger and chips as she wasn't feeling well - mental!). We are proposing that she represents herself and we know that she is looking at a significant ban - 20 months I believe? Am I right in thinking that the fine will be means tested and there is nothing she can do about that?

My main question though is will it have any effect on the length of the ban if she represents herself well? She is deeply remorseful, has never been in trouble before, has 3 years no claims and knows that there is no excuse. She is on anti-depressants and has boyfriend problems and has been feeling a bit lost recently - but, as stated earlier, realises that there is no excuse for breaking the law. Is it worth mentioning her emotional state or will it be considered irrelevant? Also would it help to get a character reference from her employer?

Many thanks.

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

Why do you wish her to represent herself please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Because she is guilty and I believe that legal representation would be too expensive

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Because she is guilty and I believe that legal representation would be very expensive.

Was there a collision of any kind please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No there wasn't

Thanks for the information.

She is facing a band c fine and a ban of between 17-22 months.

The fine will be means tested.

The ban is mandatory. She can shave off one quarter from the ban by doing the drink driving course that she will no doubt be offered.

Everybody mitigates differently but personally I wouldn't mention her emotional state. I think the danger is that it will sound as though she is making excuses. Unfortunately quite a lot of women in particular do use relationship issues as an excuse for bad behaviour and my experience is that courts are getting tired of it. You do much better if you just mitigate on the basis of the relevant points.

In this instance this is a first offence, guilty plea, genuine remorse, no significant aggravation etc. Courts generally respect people who don't make excuses as well.

Character references are always useful as long as they don't seek to make excuses. Employers references do not usually do that though.

She might actually be able to use the duty solicitor given the reading in this case though so that would be worth pursuing.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Jo. Very helpful.


Are you saying that a character reference should come from someone other than her employer? Or that employer references don't usually seek to make excuses so would be acceptable? Sorry - don't quite understand! Do you think it would be worth getting one or not make much difference? If it would be worthwhile, what should it say? Just that they've known her for x amount of time and that she is sensible, hard working, honest etc and that this is out of character?


Can you tell me what she will need to take to court (other than her driving licence of course). Payslip? Bank statements? And how does it work in court? Do the magistrates get to see all the relevant information prior to the case being heard or will my daughter have to present it all in court?


Thank you again.



No, employer references are very useful. References are useful as long as they are not written by people who seek to make excuses.

Obviously they can only comment upon her as an employee but usually they talk about how responsible etc the defendant is.

If she can take payslips then that will be great. She will be asked to fill out a means form at court.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Jo.


Final question (I think!). She doesn't want to tell her employer what has happened (she doesn't need her car for her job). Does a character reference have to be addressed to the court? Or could it just be 'to whom it may concern'.


And if she prepares a letter to read out in court saying how sorry she is etc. etc. would you be prepared to take a look at it to make sure it's along the right lines?


Many thanks.


It can be for whom it may concern. Often references are headed in that way.

I don't mind looking at her mitigation if you want to post it.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

When you say post it, do you mean post it on this thread? Or put a hard copy in the post? If the latter, please can you let me have your address.


If the former, it won't be ready for a day or two so if I rate you (it will be excellent by the way), I believe that the thread will close so I won't be able to contact you?


I would be very grateful if you could take a look at it when it's ready. Please advise the best way to go about it.


Thanks again.

Yes I meant post it on this thread.

You can still ask questions after rating. The thread will not close from your side.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok Jo. Great!


I will post it as soon as we're ready - hopefully tomorrow.


Thank you very much for your help.



No problem and all the best.

Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

For Jo C

Hi Jo


As discussed, this is what my daughter is proposing to read out to the court. Do you think it's ok? Any suggestions? Thank you very much.



I would like to apologise to the court. What I did on that evening was inexcusable and totally irresponsible.

I take full responsibility for what I have done and am full of remorse and regret.


I am only grateful that no damage was done and no-one was hurt.


My reckless behaviour was totally out of character and the whole experience has taught me a very valuable lesson and forced me to look at my life and grow up.


It is my first offence and will certainly be my last. I have always been a very careful driver and never had an accident or a conviction for anything since passing my test first time 3 years ago.


I would like to take the Drink Driving rehabilitation course as, although this was a one-off, I believe it will be very valuable to increase my understanding of the dangers of alcohol and make me a better driver.

Thank you.


Yes, that will be great. That is one of the best mitigations they will have seen from a lay person throughout the whole of this year. That apologises and accepts responsibility whilst making the point its a first offence. The only thing thats missing is the point about her guilty plea but its always a very difficult point for lay people to make about themselves. She is entitled to one third credit for a guilty plea. If i was mitigating then I would remind them of that. You shouldn't really need to remind a court of credit for a guilty plea as its a really basic point but you never know what will happen at the Magistrates Court. They are not a very respected tribunal. They really should give her credit without being reminded though.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Brilliant Jo! Thank you.


So ... how about she ends it with:


So, I am pleading guilty and hope that you will look favourably upon my case and grant me one third credit.


Thank you.

Its a very difficult point to make in your own mitigation.

But yes something like that will be fine.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Jo. And does the one third credit relate to the fine or the length of the ban, or both?

The fine.

The ban is an ancillary order not part of the sentence.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you again Jo. You have been extremely helpful and I am very grateful.

No problem.

All the best.