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Advice Needed

Hi, firstly I'd like to say thanks for any reply I get on the following.

I recently was caught drink driving. I went out with a few friends, I had 3 drinks over the course of about 6 hours which I stupidly felt would be enough for me to get away with driving home. I was pulled over and arrested. A couple of facts about the incident.

Firstly, the car was damaged from a previous accident a few days before. I believe that is the original reason I was pulled over. i drove past the cop car coming the other way and did not stop as i drove past them however I did pull over when I realised they turned around and had their lights on.

I was taken to the station where they asked about the damage to the car, I assured them it was from a previous accident and in the morning I spoke to an officer who told me they believed that to be the case. At the station, I had a readout of 50 and 49. I was kept in and have now been given a court date. This was my first offence of any kind and as such my first time in court.

I am extremely nervous as I have often struggled with anxiety throughout my life. through research on this site, it suggests that I will receive a ban and a fine without a prison sentence. My reason for messaging is the following.

1. What will happen when I go to court and will I be asked to speak other than to plead guilty? As mentioned I suffer from panic attacks and anxiety and could imagine having one if asked to explain my actions and don't know how this would look.

2. How long will I be in court? I have booked the morning off work but I am not in a financial position to have the time off so have agreed to work an afternoon shift. I need to be at the court for 10am and I start work at 1pm.

3. For the fine, will they take my current financial situation into account, as I currently have debts that I am repaying. And also will i be able to pay it in installments or will i be expected to pay it upfront then and there. Also, if anyone thinks it's likely i would get a sentence based on the information I provided please let me know.

4. Are any personal belongings taken off you on the day when you go into court. I'm considering not taking my phone is as I wouldn't want them taking my phone off me while I attend court (unfortunately I've heard rumours of people looking through phones in possesion and I'm quite a privacy freak)

5.if someone could give me a play by play of what will happen from the moment I enter the courthouse that would be appreciated as I think if i know what to expect it will help my nerves.

6. and finally, will i have to redo my driving test at the end of the ban? I passed when i was 18 and am now 26 with no previous convictions or points on my license.

Kind regards for all/any responses.
Have you attended court yet? If not I can answer your queries below:

1. You do not have to say anything other than enter your plea of guilty. The court will invite you to talk but can make a decision regarding sentence based on the prosecution evidence. It would be helpful to outline your version and background if possible. Your reading of 49µg puts you in the lowest sentencing bracket so a ban of between 12 and 16 months is likely to be imposed. You should also be given the chance to complete a drink driving rehabilitation course which can reduce the ban by up to 25%.

2. Whilst you are in the morning list, it cannot be guaranteed that you will be heard before lunch and you may be asked to return in the afternoon. This isn't the norm but equally, is not unusual.

3. A fine will be imposed alongside a ban (your case is not serious enough to justify prison). That is calculated based on your income and the court will ask you to complete a statement of means to assess this. You can request an instalment process and the court are usually happy to agree to that if they feel it is justified.

4. You have to go through a security process on the way into court but you should not have any issue with having your belongings taken from you. You should keep your phone turned off when in court.

5. After you go through security you should book in at the front desk and you will be directed to your court room where you will be met by an usher shortly before the hearing. You will then be asked to complete a means form. If you are in the 10am list you will likely be listed alongside several other cases. The order varies dependent on the court but you may be heard immediately or may be heard at the end of the list. In court there will be a bench of three magistrates with a legal advisor or court clerk in front. Details of the allegation will be read to you and you will be asked to confirm your plea after confirming your name, date of birth and address. The prosecutor will then outline the summary of their case and you will be given an opportunity to respond. You do not have to. The court will then make a decision regarding sentence and that will be explained to you by the court clerk thereafter.

6. This offence will not involve a retest. You will need to apply for your licence by way of paper application following the conclusion of your ban (the DVLA will usually write to you prior to the expiry of the ban to invite you to apply).

I hope that assists.
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