Drunk or On Drugs In Charge of a Motor Vehicle
Have you been accused of being drunk or on drugs while in charge of a motor vehicle, and are now facing a driving ban, a criminal conviction - or worse?
Are you looking for a specialist solicitor to help you defend yourself against the allegations and avoid a conviction?
Would you like to speak to a specialist legal team with more than 100 years of combined experience in representing clients charged with motoring offences, who will provide you with the best possible chance of a successful outcome?
If so, call MotoringOffences.com straight away. We have dealt with countless drink driving and drug driving cases over the years, and can help you avoid losing your licence and your livelihood by putting together a robust defence.
How Can We Help?
MotoringOffences.com is part of JMW Solicitors. Our team of highly-qualified specialists have been representing people facing motoring offence charges since 1978 and have more than a century of combined experience, making them the country’s most experienced motoring offences team.
With accreditations from prestigious bodies such as Chambers and the Legal 500, our team has earned respect and recognition for the high-quality, personalised service we provide. We have dealt with thousands of cases, with examples of our work including:
- helping a client to avoid a potential prison sentence and reduce a three-year driving ban to 17 months and a nominal fine after a drink driving-related accident
- getting a drink driving case dismissed after proving that the client was put under unnecessary and unlawful pressure by the police
- securing a “not guilty” verdict in a drink driving case following a factual dispute relating to the identity of the driver
We understand that people charged with drink and drug driving offences are often facing delicate and distressing circumstances, which is why we are dedicated to dealing with every case in a sensitive, reassuring and empathetic way.
- assess all of the details of the incident in question to find evidence that you were not in control of the vehicle
- advise you on the best available legal defence
- represent you in court to argue your case
We attend courts across England and Wales and can take instructions by phone, email or in writing for your convenience. In many cases, it may be possible to persuade the prosecution to drop the case and avoid a court date altogether.
By calling us on 0345 241 1326, you will get a free initial consultation, during which we will offer a clear picture of the costs involved.
What Constitutes Being 'In Charge' of a Vehicle?
When consumption of drugs or alcohol has rendered you over the legal limit, it is a criminal offence to be caught “in charge” of a motor vehicle on a road or another public place, even if you are not actively driving it at the time.
Examples of this may include:
- Being close to a vehicle in possession of the keys
- Being behind the wheel of a stationary vehicle
- Being asleep inside a vehicle
It is important to note that there is no precise legal definition of what constitutes being “in charge” of a vehicle. When a person is charged, it is up to the courts to decide whether the defendant was planning to drive the vehicle or not, based on the evidence available.
Can I Avoid a Disqualification?
If you and your solicitors are able to prove to the court that you had no intention to drive the vehicle in question while over the prescribed limit, you may avoid a conviction altogether.
This is possible in the following cases:
You were not “in charge” of the vehicle at the time of the incident, meaning you were in no position to drive the vehicle
You had no intention of actually driving the vehicle while still under the influence of alcohol or drugs
What is the Difference Between Driving While Over the Alcohol or Drug Limit, and Driving While Unfit Through Drink or Drugs?
If you are charged with a drink or drug driving offence of this kind, you may face one of two legally distinct offences: driving while over the alcohol or drug limit, and driving while unfit through drink or drugs.
When you are charged with driving while over the alcohol or drug limit, authorities will need to have a breath, blood or urine specimen to demonstrate that you were over the legal limit for the substance in question.
In cases where no specimen was taken, you may be charged instead with driving while unfit through drink or drugs. Authorities will then need to provide another form of evidence that you were unfit to drive, due to the influence of drink or drugs.
If found guilty, you will face similar penalties for each of these charges, but they are considered separate offences from a legal perspective. This means the prosecution will provide different types of evidence in each instance, and you will need to tailor your defence accordingly.
What Happens if I am Found Guilty?
If you lack a strong defence and are found guilty of this criminal offence, you could face a number of serious legal penalties, including:
- a potential driving ban, depending on your level of intoxication and your past driving history
- a fine of up to £2,500
- a minimum addition of 10 points to your licence
- a prison sentence of up to three months for serious cases
These penalties are less severe than being caught outright while drink driving or drug driving, but can nevertheless severely impact on an individual’s personal or professional life.
By consulting a specialist solicitor, you can increase your chances of potentially reducing the sentence by mounting a defence that highlights any mitigating circumstances and special reasons that might be relevant to your case.
Talk to Us
If you have been accused of being drunk or on drugs while in charge of a vehicle, you can call our expert solicitors on 0345 241 1326 for a free initial consultation. You can also complete our online contact form to request a call back at your convenience.