Special Reasons not to Disqualify for Drink Driving
If you are convicted of drink driving offence, the law requires that you be disqualified from driving for at least 12 months. The only way to avoid this is to establish to the courts satisfaction that there are special reasons for you not to be banned or for the ban to be for a shorter period.
Although the special reasons must be special to the facts of the particular case, there are generic principles. Unlike the Exceptional Hardship provision, the special reason must be a mitigating or extenuating circumstance directly connected to the commission of the offence. A circumstance or fact peculiar to you as distinguished from the commission of the offence will not be regarded as a special reason.
Specialist drink drive solicitors will help you consider all the facts and advise you whether special reasons can be advanced in your case. Where special reasons are put forward in cases of drink and driving, specialist drink drive solicitors will discuss with you the following and how they can be advanced in your case to prevent a ban or at least to secure the lowest ban possible:
Why you were driving. We will explore the reason why you were driving and advise you whether the reason you were driving will assist in mounting special reasons not to disqualify you from driving.
How far had you driven before you stopped or were stopped by the police. This is not as straight forward as “the shorter the distance driven, the better it will be”. The issue is all about degree and linked into the reasons why you were driving.
How were you driving? More accurately, the manner of your driving. Evidence of erratic driving, putting others in danger, speeding are all factors that need to be considered.
What was the condition of the vehicle at the time that it was driven? Often, the police on an examination of the vehicle may seek to point out every single fault with the vehicle. Expert evidence may be required to demonstrate that the car you were driving was in sound and good condition, prior to the police impounding the vehicle.
Whether you had intended to drive much further. This sits closely with how far you had travelled before being stopped. The issue here, is did you intend on driving much more before you were stopped.
What were the road and traffic conditions at the relevant time. In many cases, this can be a real issue. For example, the police may produce a statement suggesting that the road conditions were wet and that visibility was very poor. The road itself was congested with traffic as it was a main thoroughfare. Various expert evidence may show that it was raining at 3pm when the police had already been on the scene for an hour, but at 2pm when you were stopped it was clear and sunny. That at 3pm there were many cars in the area as there were parents collecting children from school but at 2pm when you were stopped, there is generally no traffic there at all.
One of the most important factors is what was the degree of danger to other road users. Again, specialist drink drive solicitors will be able to advise you of the possible expert reports that could be produced to demonstrate there was little to no danger to other road users, beyond what is faced day to day.
It has been held that the key question Magistrates should ask themselves when assessing if special reasons exists or not was:
“What would a sober, reasonable and responsible friend of the defendant, present at the time, but himself a non-driver and thus unable to help, have advised in the circumstances, to drive or not to drive?”
The onus of establishing special reasons lies on the defence, and defence solicitors are required to prove that special reasons exist on the balance of probabilities.
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