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Study sponsored by Department of Transport looking for people who have been caught drink driving to take part in telephone interview. More details here.

Drink drive help please

Rosie Lee

New member

My best friend was arrested and charged on Sunday with drink driving. She was stopped just around the corner from her home and asked that she be allowed to speak to her teen daughter (who was home alone) before being taken to custody. This was refused by officer. She went into house anyway and asked him to remain outside so as not to frighten daughter. He refused and very roughly handcuffed her causing significant bruising and swelling to her wrists.
Also radioed that she was refusing arrest and had a further 2 police cars called. Completely over the top reaction to a small woman wanting to check on her child. Once she had spoken to her daughter, she went without issue with the police.
At police station she did not get legal representation as she just wanted to get home as quickly as possible to her daughter.
Court date is set for a couple of weeks. As she works in education does she have to declare to employer? Should it affect her job other than transport? What are likely results - is a 12 month ban mandatory? And is there any way to speak to a duty solicitor before the actual court date? She cannot afford representation and would likely not qualify for legal aid. Apologies for so many question s but this is completely new to us.
Thank you in advance.
Whilst it may have been a distressing time for your friend the police are under no legal obligation to allow her to return home before she was taken to custody as this would have delayed obtaining the sample. If you friend has concerns about how the police handled her assist she may be able to raise a complaint but it is unlike to impact on the charge.

In terms of your questions, I will deal with each one in turn.

  1. Does she need to declare this to her employer?

I cannot give specific advice on this as I am unaware of the terms of her employment but drink driving is a criminal offence and most employers will require you to disclose this.

  1. Should it affect her job other than transport?

This would depend on the terms of her employment and her job role within the education sector. Certain professional such as teachers may be required to disclose the conviction to their professional regulator. This may result in the regulating body opening a fitness to practise investigation.

  1. What are the likely results – is a 12 month ban mandatory?

The Court will use sentencing guidelines to determine what sentence to impose but there is a mandatory driving disqualification for at least 12 months. The Court will determine what sentence to imposed based on the lowest breath reading she provided at the police station. Without knowing this reading, I cannot confirm which category she ould fall into. As long as she has not committed a similar offence within the past 10 years, depending on the reading the Court can impose a driving disqualification for up to 36 months as well as a fine or community order or custodial sentence.

In relation to the period of disqualification, the Court can also be invited to use its discretion to allow her to complete a drink driving rehabilitation course which will ultimately reduce the period of disqualification imposed by the Court by up to one quarter, provided it is completed within a timescale set by the Court.

  1. Is there any way to speak to a duty solicitor before the actual court date?

    No it is not possible to speak with a duty solicitor prior to the court date but there are also no guarantees that a duty solicitor will be available on the date of the hearing, especially if there is no risk of a custodial sentence. If a duty solicitor is unavailable and she cannot afford private representation, she will need to represent herself.