Defences against drink driving in England and Wales

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There are often news stories about celebrities getting into trouble with the law, but the past few weeks have seen the drink driving charge laid against England rugby star Danny Cipriani unfold. In the latest development, his application to have the case thrown out of court due to a faulty breathalyser test was dismissed.

In light of this recent legal battle, today’s post will centre around the various defences that can be put against such a charge, and the evidence needed to support them.

Defence on grounds of equipment

It is always possible that a machine cannot be proven as being accurate and as such it is always possible to challenge a reading in court that you feel is faulty. If you think that you have not consumed sufficient alcohol to result in the reading produced, a specialist solicitor will be able to put forward this as a case for you.

In the case of Danny Cipriani, the District Judge dismissed a submission by the defence of no case to answer but that does not mean that the prosecution has proven its case and the trial continues. If your solicitor takes issue with the accuracy of an evidential reading, it is up to the prosecution to prove its reliability. You can also provide evidence in your defence, such as expert witnesses and those were with you before you were arrested. CCTV of the room where the evidential machine was operated is often made available.

Defence on medical grounds

A defence can be made if you feel that you have been accused wrongly due to a medical condition. For example, at the time of giving a breathalyser test, did you have a lung or chest condition that may have prevented you from blowing properly into the machine?

This may have been charged as a failure to provide specimen but if there is a reasonable excuse for the failure this should be supported with an independent medical report.

Defence on grounds of error

If the procedure for obtaining specimens has not been followed correctly in accordance with the law this will result in an acquittal. The procedures for obtaining bodily specimens from hospital patients are more complicated than at the police station which means that the scope for arguing procedural error is usually greater.

In all of these cases, the key to being acquitted of a drink driving accusation which you feel you have been wrongly charged with, is gaining expert legal help and guidance. With 25 years’ experience and over 300 cases acquitted since 2012, Kenway Miller, the drink driving solicitors, have plenty of case studies online for you to what they have come up against and successfully won. They also have significant experience with all of these defences in particular and will be able to advise you on how to go about progressing your case.

Have you been acquitted of a drink driving charge? Please feel free to leave a comment about your own story.