One of the most frustrating things a drink driving defence lawyer has to deal with is missed opportunities.
Many people who find themselves under investigation for an offence of drink driving will usually be charged if they give 2 breath specimens that show them to be over the limit. The suspect will then be bailed to attend the magistrates’ court and what may have initially seemed like a bit of a nightmare situation suddenly becomes very real when they see a court date in black and white.
It is at this stage that panic may set in and they seek legal advice. Instructing someone to help you with your case at the earliest opportunity can often prove crucial and in the scenario above, the first opportunity is usually following their release after being charged.
Drink Driving – Blood or Urine Cases
If a suspect blows into the breathalyser at the police station and, for whatever reason, breath samples are not registered or cannot be provided, the police may then have the power to require the suspect to donate a sample of blood or urine as an alternative.
In this instance, the suspect will not be charged with an offence straight away as the sample needs to be sent away for analysis. Instead of being bailed to the magistrates’ court, the suspect will be given a date to reappear at the police station to find out the results. If they are found to have been over the limit at the time, they will be charged and bailed to attend court. A similar scenario may occur if the suspect was involved in an accident and donated a sample whilst in hospital.
Is waiting to be charged the best thing to do? Instructing someone to help you may well incur fees but fees are going to be incurred if you want to defend the case. It is better to start building your defence as soon as possible rather than regret waiting at a later stage.
How we Help Pre-Charge with Drink Driving
Analysis of blood samples can often take weeks if not longer. We have dealt with clients whose bail date to go back to the police station has been as much as 4 months away and this is a long time to sit and do nothing.
When a defence to drink driving is prepared, there is often a lot of evidence that we will want to consider with two of the most important being:
1. Your testimony; and
2. Sometimes, CCTV evidence
1. Your testimony
It is often your own testimony that is the most crucial will form the bedrock of a solid defence. It is from your testimony that we can identify possible defences before seeing any of the evidence from the CPS. The sooner we identify a defence, the longer we will have to build upon it prior to trial.
If your case proceeds to a trial, you may be required to give this testimony in court and answer questions about the date of the alleged offence. A trial date could be many months after the date of the alleged offence so it is crucial that a written account is taken from you as soon as possible. Soon after being instructed, we will spend time going over your statement (called a proof of evidence) with you to ensure that all the important parts of the case are covered. This will then be referred back to throughout your case as a defence is prepared.
You may have waited several weeks for the results of analysis and forgotten some of the finer (and more important) details of your case. It is therefore imperative that this aspect of your case is dealt with as soon as possible.
2. CCTV Footage
CCTV footage could be the only evidence that can categorically prove a particular point of contention. When officers and defendant’s are all giving conflicting accounts, CCTV footage can be hugely beneficial. We have seen countless cases where an officer has given evidence only for CCTV footage to show something entirely different. As a general rule, the police are required to keep the CCTV for 28 days after which time it will be erased (usually taped over) and no longer be available. If you wait to be charged before instructing solicitors, you may well miss the window of opportunity for securing potentially crucial evidence. This could literally be the difference between an acquittal and a guilty verdict at trial.
At Olliers Motor Law, we want to prepare the strongest possible defence for you and give you the highest chance of success. We would hate to be in a position where the only piece of evidence that may exonerate you has been lost/erased simply due to the passage of time. The moment we receive instructions, we take steps to secure the evidence we need to help us prepare your defence.
Whilst it may be tempting to wait for results; this really can be to your detriment and we would always urge you to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
This is not always after you have been charged but usually the moment you can pick up the phone.