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Failure to provide specimen

rufus

Active member
#1
Hi all, like most here looking for some advice - I had a tire blow out, the car was stuck on roundabout, police came I was breathalysed and arrested. At the station I was asked to provide a specimen, I asked for legal counsel before I did provide and have been charged with not providing. No excuses - I will be pleading guilty and I am willing to go on any course the deem fit.

I was receiving alcohol counseling and also suffer from depression which I take citralopram - I am getting back in touch with my counselor to start treatment again and giving up alcohol for good but should I mention this on the court day as I can plead guilty beforehand to save it going to court for a reduced sentence.

Do I need a solicitor at all if I am not contesting it
 
#2
The last part of your post is not quite clear.... it has to go to court, whether you plead guilty or not you have to be there for the hearing.
On the day you can plead guilty and put forward mitigation. Your problem is that if you go at the "I am seeking help for my alcohol problems" angle, you are drawing attention to something that the court perhaps do not need to know about and they could be harder on you. I think your mitigation should centre on you (if true) only having had a couple of drinks and you foolishly thought that you were entitled to legal advice before you blew into the machine. Therefore you failure to provide was based on a belief that you should have that advice before you decided.

The court sentencing for a failure to provide is divided into 3 brackets. 12-16 months for an honestly held belief (but not a defence) that you did not have to provide. 17-28 months where you simply refuse and 29-36 months where you refuse and there is evidence on considerable impairment. Your mitigation should point you towards the lowest one if possible......

you our do not need a solicitor if you are pleading guilty. You could ask to speak to the duty solicitor on the day at court, this is free but he / she may not go into court to speak for you, depending on how busy they are. You can write down what you want to say to the magistrates and read it out if you are really nervous, or hand it in as a letter. I think they like to hear in person if possible, don't worry about seeming really frightened, if you sound very confident they they may feel that you don't really care about the predicament that you are in!
 
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rufus

Active member
#3
Hi, thanks for your advice, I thought if I pleaded guilty then I would be sentenced in my absence, now I had reread the charge sheet it has now become clear.

Thankyou ever so much for clearing that up as I would have made an enormous mistake.

Will the court get to know that I was breathalysed at the scene and the result of that or just that I refused.

I wasnt trying to avoid being tested at the station, I thought (wrongly) I was entitled to legal advice and would have complied if they advised me to do so.

As it stands I was wrong to refuse and fully accept I should have provided & regret not giving a sample regardless of it being under or over.
 
#6
Oh dear,
well that isn't actual evidence, only an indication.
in theory it shouldn't be given in evidence, but a good prosecutor will sneak it in......
best to hold off on the "I hadn't had much to drink" in your mitigation to see if the prosecutor does mention the 110. If he does, ditch that part and stick to just the "I thought I was entitled to legal advice first" part only.
 
#9
No, only used if a person pleads not guilty and denies impairment.
Why do I think that there may be more questions?
 

rufus

Active member
#10
I thought it might be used to show that I asked for legal advice but the prosecution may use it to show impairment

I will be pleading guilty to the charge of failure to provide, do they also ask about impairment?
will any evidence be required at all from any side if pleading guilty?
will I be questioned about the circumstances?

sorry about all the questions but I have never been in court so have no idea how the system works and I am very nervous about it just want to prepare myself
 
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#11
On a guilty plea the only thing that is used is a summary read out by the prosecutor.
the summary may well say about indications of how impaired you appeared to be, but it will be words, not videos.

You are first asked how you plead. Once you say "guilty." The prosecutor reads out the summary. The magistrates then ask if there is anything that you want to say. This is not on oath, or in the witness box, you just say what you want to say, or read out what you want to say, or indeed hand the court a letter. Your problem is that you MIGHT want to say you hadn't had a great deal to drink, and were confused because you ought that you could have legal advice before you blew.... but if the prosecutor sneaks in your roadside score then you only want to mention the second part. That is why saying what you want to say rather than handing in a letter would be the better option.

The magistrates might ask a question or two, but usually they just listen to your explanation, then consider what punishment to give yo?
if they do not offer a 'Drink Drive Rehabilitation Course with your sentence, ask to be allowed to do one. This can reduce your ban by up to 25%. It has to be offered and accepted on the day - but you do not have to do the course if you change your mind.

You could visit the court in the days before you are due in yourself to see how the process runs. Anyone can attend court as an observer so long as it is an adult court.
 
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