Drink Driving Solicitors in Manchester

We understand the prospect of a prosecution for driving with excess alcohol has enormous implications.  The prospect of being disqualified can have the most serious consequences, including loss of employment, and hardship not just for you but perhaps for others, including your family.  In addition, there can be substantial fines for this type of road traffic offence and in the most serious of cases Community Orders and, exceptionally, imprisonment. 

With the drink drive limit in the UK one of the highest in Europe, it has become increasingly more concerning watching the number of accidents caused by drink driving increase over the past few years. In 2016, it was reported that around 240 people were killed in drink-drive related accidents, up from 200 in the previous year. Both the total number of accidents and casualties increased by around 500 in 2016, compared to the previous year. 

Drink driving sentencing guidelines

What will largely determine the severity of the sentence given for a drink driving offence is the level of alcohol that was in the defendants system when the offence was committed. The court will take into account any aggravating or mitigating circumstances surrounding the case and the level of harm caused, or could have been caused when the offence was committed. These are the maximum sentences that can be given:

Driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol

  • 6 months in prison
  • £5000 fine
  • Driving ban of between 1 and 3 years (this is obligatory)
  • Between 3 and 11 penalty points

Causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of drink

  • 14 years in prison
  • Unlimited fine
  • Driving ban of 2 years minimum (this is obligatory)
  • Between 3 and 11 penalty points

Defences for 'Drink drive' charges

We would never dream of letting you plead guilty without having considered the evidence against you and giving you an honest opinion about whether a defence is available in your case. 

As every case of drink driving is unique we need to carefully examine the circumstances which surround your arrest including the procedures the police have followed. Some examples of defences that would be applicable are:

  • Consumption of alcohol after you have driven somewhere
  • Factual dispute about the driving
  • Police failures in the statutory rules governing drink drive procedures
  • Failure to comply with procedures
  • Unreliability of analysis

If you have a defence, we will fight to secure your acquittal. 

If we do not think you have a defence, we would not encourage you to throw good money after bad, but would instead seek to obtain for you the best possible outcome on sentence. 

In some cases, there may be no defence, but there may be ‘special reasons’ why you should not be disqualified, e.g. laced drinks. 

Our Drink Driving Solicitors give Examples of Defences to charges

Take a look at some real life scenarios where we have defended our clients.

Consumption of alcohol after you have driven somewhere

We represented Mr A, who was charged with driving with excess alcohol.  His instructions were that he had consumed a small amount of alcohol in a public house before getting in his vehicle and driving home, where he then consumed further alcohol.  The police arrived at his house and arrested him and he later provided a sample of breath in excess of the prescribed limit.

We secured evidence from witnesses to confirm his account of what he had drunk and we secured expert evidence to prove that but for the post-driving consumption of alcohol, his reading would have been below the limit.

As a result, he was acquitted.

Factual dispute about the driving

Miss A was arrested on suspicion of driving with excess alcohol.  She told the police that she had only driven in order to get away from an abusive boyfriend.  This was disputed by the prosecution, but after we called evidence in support, our client was found not guilty.

Police failures in the statutory rules governing drink drive procedures / failure to comply with procedures

We represented Mr M who was charged with failing to provide a specimen of breath for a breath test.  The defence was based on two issues, first that he had a medical condition which amounted to a reasonable excuse, but secondly that the officer in the case had following the incorrect procedure at the Police Station.

Following cross examination of all police officers and, in particular, the officer who had conducted the procedure, the court discarded the evidence of the Intoxilyser print-out on the basis that they could not be sure the correct procedure had been followed.

The evidence of the officers in relation to the procedure was inconsistent. 

We represented Mr M, who was charged with driving with excess alcohol.  It was contended that following the provision of a sample of blood for a laboratory test, the sample handed to him was not labelled, leaving room for doubt as to whether or not he had in fact been provided with the correct sample for testing and whether therefore the procedure had been correctly followed.

At the trial, a preliminary issue arose when the health professional, who took the sample, failed to appear to give evidence and an application by the prosecution for an adjournment was refused and the case was dismissed.

Unreliability of analysis

In a number of cases before 2015, we represented clients who had provided a sample of breath which provided a reading of between 40 – 50.  As the law stood at that stage, they were entitled to have the opportunity of providing a sample of blood. 

In all those cases, the analysis of the blood was just in excess of the permitted limit, but the analysis of the defendants’ samples was proved to be just below the permitted limit.

In particular, we represented Mr H at a trial where the experts for both sides were called.  The prosecution contended that their analysis was reliable, but that of the defendant’s expert was not reliable.  A District Judge was persuaded that in a case where two experts disagreed over some fine issues, it was not clear that the court could be sure which method it ought to prefer and the defendant was found not guilty.

Although the law has changed and the police are no longer obliged to offer a defendant the opportunity of providing a blood or urine sample in a case of a breath reading between 40 – 50, there are still occasions when it will be necessary for the police to take a blood or urine sample and in those cases where the reading is just above the prescribed limit, it may be possible to challenge that reading if appropriate steps are taken at a very early stage.

Contact Brian Koffman & Co.

If you are facing a ‘drink driving offence' it is important you are legally represented. Brian Koffman Solicitors are specialists in drink driving offences so understand the strict procedures that the Police must follow. With a wealth of experience in the sentencing guidelines the Courts will apply, we can help you in presenting your best case, providing evidence that will allow the Courts to deal with you in the fairest way possible.

Your chances of a better outcome are increased when you have an experienced motoring offence solicitor representing you.

We have over forty years’ experience. We specialise in entirely in the areas of motoring offences and crime generally.

We are highly regarded as being in the top rank of motoring offence solicitors.  We have been included in Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Professional and the Legal 500 for many years, as well as receiving accolades from many other publications. 

Your case will receive the personal attention of Brian Koffman. 

Every case is of the utmost importance to us.  We provide nationwide coverage and have access to forensic experts throughout the UK.

Please contact Brian Koffman & Co on 0161 832 3852 for a free consultation, or submit an enquiry.