Intoximeter Coin in Mouth Minimum Sentence
Our client had been with a friend and (badly) misjudged how much alcohol he had consumed. He was travelling towards his B&B a little too quickly and was pulled over by the police. When stopped it became apparent that he was over the limit. He was detained pending the arrival of a breathalyser machine and after 5 failed tests, he provided a positive specimen and was promptly arrested.
At the police station, the officers carried out the procedure under section 7 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and he provided a lower reading of 79ug per 100ml of breath.
Our client appeared on an undertaking and instructed another solicitor to appear for him. Having grown dissatisfied with the lack of contact from that solicitor, he came to our Firm.
We identified a technical line of defence to the drink-driving allegation and advised him accordingly. What made this case unusual was that the client had - in the eyes of the police - attempted to pervert the course of justice by hiding a 20 pence piece in his mouth during the intoximeter test.
We advised that in combination with an attempt to pervert charge, the Court were likely to throw the book at him upon conviction. The technical issue that we had identified was remedied by the Crown at the intermediate diet leaving our client without a stateable defence.
We understand that disqualification cases cause a great deal of distress and that sometimes blinds clients to the inevitability of their predicament. Fortunately for him on the day of the Trial he finally accepted that there was no way out and instructed that we try to strike a plea agreement with the Crown to protect him from the full force of the law. We managed to get the (arguably more serious) attempt to pervert charge dropped and thereafter addressed the Court in mitigation and - somehow - managed to persuade the Sheriff to restrict the period of disqualification to the minimum 3 year period notwithstanding that there was little utilitarian benefit and that witnesses were inconvenienced by attending.
This case was dealt with by our Mr Simpson at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on 15th June 2018.
In case you are wondering, a coin in the mouth is an old wives' tale fabled to lower a reading but it has absolutely no affect upon the reliability of the breath test.
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