How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jo C. Your Own Question
Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71154
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
Type Your Law Question Here...
Jo C. is online now

Hello. I have been charged with drink driving with a reading

This answer was rated:

Hello. I have been charged with drink driving with a reading of 88 microgram mess of ahold in 100 millilitres of breath. My court date is on the 17th July and I have not yet sought legal representation, and am now concerned that I should have done so. I intend to plea guilty, but feel that there are several mitigating factors that could lessen the severity of the disqualification period. I also want to take character witness statements and need to know how to go about this in the correct manner.

Mitigating factors are-- clean driving licence, no previous criminal convictions of any kind, I drove less than half a mile to a local shop at midday after sleeping through the morning following heavy drinking the night before and did not realise I was over the limit, although clearly my judgement was impaired. There was no accident or anyone else involved. I have also been suffering from depression and suspected bipolar disorder after a marriage break up and losing my job. I stopped taking my prescribed anti depressants approx 4 months ago due to concern about relying on them long term and am going to see my doctor before the court date to assess if I need to start taking them again as I believe I have been effectively self medicating with alcohol. I know belatedly realise that I need legal advice and representation to help with the character statements and mitigation plea. Any advice would be very gratefully received.

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

How can I help with this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Jo, thanks for responding. I would like your opinion regarding the mitigating factors and advice as to how I seek legal representation as I am currently unemployed, ie through legal aid. I am concerned about the fact that the court date is now only 8 days away.

Can I just check that this is definitely a breath reading not blood or alcohol?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Yes, it was a breath reading.
Ok. Thanks.

That is a high reading and you cannot hide from that.

However, you do have good mitigation although it needs honing.

On no account mention anything about bipolar or depression. Magistrates will think you are making excuses. I'm afraid there are a lot of people who do use mental illness as an excuse. Also, if you say you stopped taking your pills then that will hugely aggravate the sentence. There is direct case law on that point although it does arise from diabetics and insulin top ups. Furthermore, if the DVLA get wind of anything like that they will say you are a risk to public safety and revoke your licence even if you are not upon a ban. They may revoke anyway with a reading of 88 but at least you shouldn't give them ammunition.

It is good mitigation though to make the point that you have no previous convictions and drove only a short distance which is not short enough to amount to special reasons. Also, you will plead guilty which will entitle you to credit.

If this is a reading of 88 though then you may be able to use the duty solicitor at court.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Ok that is good to know re not mentioning the depression etc. I am still concerned about relying upon a duty solicitor as my research indicates that I am not guaranteed to have one on the day, also I want to prepare as fully as possible in advance my mitigation plea and character witness statements. I know I will be eligible for legal aid, but what is the best way to go about this over the next week? I cannot afford to pay much for legal representation,if you could please advise what I should do next to organise legal representation that would be appreciated.
No, you are not guaranteed.

But you will not get legal aid for this so the only other option is to pay privately or self represent.

Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Would you think it advisable to self represent? If I am pleading guilty and stating the mitigating factors discussed above, ie clean record and driving a short distance I may be comfortable with that. Is it a mitigating factor that I drove the day after drinking ie not deliberately as in from a pub? Also if self representing should I just bring along character statements on the court day?
Well, no. Its always dangerous. But the difficulty is that securing representation will rack up costs for you and the question is whether you would be willing to incur them.

It is mitigating factor that this was the morning after effectively.

Character statements are always useful.