Drink Driving Charge Alloa Drunk In Charge Failing To Provide
Our client had arranged to meet some friends in Dollar following a period of working away. He had driven to a pub and was intending to stay with his family after the catch-up session finished. He was having a great time and the night slipped away. Not wishing to disturb his sister and her family late at night, he called a few taxi firms but was unable to get transport to his own address. Foolishly, he decided that his only option was to sleep in his van. About an hour later he was tucked up in the driver's seat of his van snoring away (keys in ignition, heating on) when the local constabulary happened upon his vehicle and very properly made enquiries with him where they instantly realised that he was considerably under the influence of alcohol.
Having been woken from his slumber in a state of drunken confusion, he was required to provide a specimen of breath for analysis under section 6 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, to which he responded: "f*** off". He was thereafter arrested and ultimately taken to the police station where he provided a specimen that was in excess of the prescribed limit. He faced charges of: failing to provide a specimen for analysis at the roadside without reasonable excuse (our advice was that his response was not a reasonable excuse); and being drunk in charge of the vehicle contrary to section 5(1)(b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
As a self-employed tradesman, his licence was essential. He also had on his record two previous convictions for drink-driving contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, the most recent only a couple of years ago.
We thoroughly prepared the case and advised that he was absolutely guilty of failing to provide a specimen of breath for analysis and should be pleading guilty thereto. We advised that he could avail himself of the statutory defence in relation to the section 5(1)(b) charge. We instructed a Forensic Toxicologist to prepare a report detailing our client's metabolic rate of alcohol and presented that to the Procurator Fiscal's Office. On the morning of the Trial we were able to secure a plea to the failing to provide charge and the Crown accepted a plea of not guilty to the 'drunk-in-charge' on the basis that there was no likelihood that our client would have driven the vehicle whilst under the influence.
We addressed the Court in mitigation and explained our client's position in great detail. The Sheriff very properly refrained from exercising his powers of discretionary disqualification and imposed 4 penalty points on our client's licence and a fine of £700. This was an extremely good result in the particular circumstances of this case.
This case was dealt with by Alloa Sheriff Court on 14th November 2017.
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