When bringing a charge of unfit through drink or drugs, it is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove that:
Impaired driving offences can lead to a complicated legal process. This is why it is highly recommended that you consult reliable drink driving offence solicitors if you are charged.
Here at the London-based Adam Bernard’s, our drink driving offence lawyers can help you navigate the complexities of the legal process. You can consult our motoring offence solicitors for comprehensive legal help, advice, and guidance.
Section 4 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 defines the impaired driving offence. Under this section, you can be found guilty of this offence if you are somehow impaired in your ability to safely operate a vehicle.
As noted above, the onus of proof lies on the prosecution. The prosecution must show that you were impaired in your driving abilities and that alcohol or drug consumption led to this impairment.
It is important to note that this offence is not limited to impairment by illegal drugs and substances. You may be guilty of the charge even if prescribed medication or any over-the-counter medication caused your impairment.
Qualified drink driving offence solicitors can help you comprehend the relevant laws. Once you understand the laws, you can make an informed choice on how to proceed with the help of drink driving offence lawyers.
If an officer believes you have failed impairment tests, you will likely be arrested and taken to the police station. At the station, you are asked to provide a blood or urine sample to ascertain the presence of alcohol or drugs.
You can refuse to provide this sample upon which you will be held guilty of ‘Failing to Provide a Specimen.’ This can lead to driving disqualification and hefty fines.
However, there are situations where you may have a reasonable excuse for refusing to provide a specimen. Our drink driving offence solicitors can assess your case and see if this is true for your case.
The law stipulates stiff penalties if you are found guilty of driving whilst unfit due to impairment. Depending upon the nature of the offence and any aggravating circumstances, you may face a fine of several thousand pounds and even a prison sentence.
If you have been charged with the offence for the first time and have no recent relevant offences, you face a fine of up to £5000 and driving disqualification for at least 12 months.
For a second similar offence committed within ten years, the penalties are more severe. In such a case, you face driving disqualification for at least three years. There is no limit on the fine a court may impose in this case.
If your second offence comes within three years of a previous offence, or if you are found guilty of extreme impairment, you also face the additional penalty of a prison sentence. You may be sent to prison for up to 6 months, with the actual duration depending upon the circumstances of the case.
In addition to these penalties, you may also face the long-term consequences of a conviction. This is why you must consult qualified drink driving offence solicitors before you plead guilty.
Other consequences of a conviction include:
You must get in touch with experienced drink driving offence lawyers when considering your options in a drug driving offence.
You may be arrested if you are stopped by the police and show any signs of impairment. Signs of impairment can be reckless driving, red eyes, impaired speech, or virtually anything else that may indicate that you are unable to drive at the required standard.
If an officer suspects you of being unfit to drive due to alcohol or drugs, he may ask you to exit your car. The officer will then ask you to undergo several impairment tests. This process is known as the ‘field impairment assessment.’ The tests are typically conducted by the roadside.
Impairment testing may comprise one or more of the following:
The police officer asks you to stand on one leg and count out loud to a specific number. The aim is to see if you sway or lose balance. You may be asked to undergo the exercise with your right foot raised first, and then with your left foot.
This test comprises walking along a straight line. You are asked to take around ten steps along this line so that you plant each foot right in front of the other foot. In other words, you must walk each step heel to toe. The officer will ask you to recount your steps aloud as you take them. If you don’t fully understand the test, the officer must first demonstrate it.
This test checks your perception of environmental depth and physical balance is sound. It is conducted by asking you to stand with your feet together. You are then to bring your arms straight in front of you, with the palms pointing upward and fists closed.
The officer will then instruct you to raise the index finger of both hands. You must then tilt your head slightly back, close your eyes, and touch your nose with the finger of your left or right hand, as loudly instructed by the officer.
This test essentially checks your sense of time and overall balance, both of which can be impaired by the use of certain drugs. In this test, you are asked to stand straight with your toes and heels together. The police constable then asks you to tilt back your head a little, close your eyes, and count to 30 seconds.
You must say out loud the word ‘Stop’ after you think 30 seconds have elapsed. The officer measures time on their watch to see how accurately you could estimate the 30 seconds.
This is a simple test in which you must look straight ahead. A police officer then measures the size of your pupil to determine if your pupils are unusually dilated.
Many of these tests can be daunting, even when you are completely sober. So field impairment tests are not enough to show that you were impaired at the time. Qualified drink driving offence solicitors can cross-examine how the tests were conducted and successfully question the results.
Here at the London-based Adam Bernard’s, our drink driving offence lawyers have a long history of helping clients facing drink driving or impaired driving charges. Our motoring offence solicitors believe in everyone’s right to a fair defence. This is why we work with you to evaluate your case.
Our personal injury solicitors will examine the case from the very beginning. Why did the police stop you in the first place? Did they have sufficient reason to do so? Were the impairment tests properly conducted? Did the office guide you about these tests before conducting them?
Our personal injury solicitors know which questions to ask. This helps us see the weak points in the prosecution’s case. We work with you to build up a solid defence and help you seek reduced penalties or a complete dismissal of charges.
A proper defence in an impaired driving case is particularly important because of the hefty penalties and other consequences. In almost all cases, you can immensely benefit from retaining professional personal injury solicitors.
Get in touch with our motoring offence solicitors today to discuss your case in detail. You can schedule a free preliminary consultation by contacting us.