High Reading Drink Driving

Reduced Sentence
Edinburgh Sheriff Court and Justice of the Peace Court

Having crashed her car on a late night journey home from work, our client in this case was charged with driving her car whilst the proportion of alcohol in her breath was 118 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath, contrary to the Road Traffic Act 1988 section 5(1)(a).  This is, effectively five times the prescribed limit, which in Scotland is set at 22 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath.

A second allegation of failing to identity the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident, a contravention of the Road Traffic Act 1988 section 172(2)(b) and (3), was also libelled.

The potential ramifications of this were obvious.  A Sheriff would be perfectly entitled to consider a custodial sentence or, failing that, a community-based disposal such as unpaid work. 

Our task was set at trying to mitigate the sentence imposed.  We were able to agree that Crown should accept a plea of not guilty to the second, less serious, section 172 matter.  Whilst in and of itself this had a limited effect it certainly painted the accused in a better light by allowing the Court to focus on the more pressing charge.

What was most in our client’s favour was the fact she had never been in trouble before.  Although serious, her actions had clearly been an aberration and her remorse was both considerable and genuine.  The presiding Sheriff was persuaded to restrict the headline disqualification to 18 months and not consider any additional penalty as noted above.  Moreover, upon completion of the drink drivers rehabilitation course the currency of the ban would be reduced by 25% to a net 13 and-a-bit months.

Published: 11/02/2020

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