In charge of a vehicle and over the limit.

02baldwinc

Member
So here’s my story!
I’d left my car at a local train station and got the train into Manchester for a few drinks after work. On my arrival back to the station I was going to get a taxi back home. No taxis could be seen at the taxi rank. It is absolutely freezing at this point (midnight) and the fresh air has hit me like a train. I walk to my car, get in and was sick outside the drivers door.

Next thing I know, two police officers arrest me and take me back to the station. I was in the station a total of 14 hours until I was questioned. Apparently someone called the police and told them a man was being sick on a car. (Calling for medical help might of been more appropriate!) It was my intention to get a taxi home, and if it wasn’t for the bitter cold I wouldn’t have got in my car.

My reading was 59mg (breath).

I’ve had no previous encounters with the police. I’m absolutely gutted something like this has happened and did nothing but cooperate with the police while is custody

My court date is 16th May. What is my likely outcome?

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02baldwinc

Member
I’m being charged for. And I quote ‘were in charge of motor vehicle on a public place’.

The keys where in the ignition, but engine wasn’t on.
 

price1367

TTC Group
As the offence is “in charge” then the court have discretion to not disqualify but give 10 points instead.
There is a defence that can be put forward “not likely to drive whilst still over the prescribed limit.”
The prosecution do not have to prove that you were going to drive, that is presumed to be the case unles you persuade the magistrates “on the balance of probability” that you would not have driven until you were under the limit.
This could be shown if you had called a taxi and you were awaiting its arrival, otherwise it is just your word.
 

02baldwinc

Member
Am I looking at a likely ban? I can only see one other case similar to mine on drink drive sentence thread. And they’d admitted to driving but pulled over. And had drugs in their system! They got a 6 month ban.

I didn’t ring for a taxi, I was back in my car for barely 10 minutes before the police arrived.
 

TipsyNurse

Well-known member
The normal issue is that if you're in the drivers seat, with the key in the ignition, you're in the pretty weak position to actually defend the charge. Unfortunately, you're up against a lot of dishonest defendants who will also swear blind they were going to call a taxi.

The good news, for you, is that you squeak into the lowest sentencing band, which suggests 10 points, and magistrates very seldom stray from sentencing guidelines. So as long as you don't antagonise the magistrates, you are very unlikely to be banned, although of course any further speeding/traffic light etc offence in the next three years from the date of the offence, will mean you are banned for six months. You will also likely see a rise in your car insurance.

https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/magistrates-court/item/excess-alcohol-in-charge-revised-2017/
 

02baldwinc

Member
I originally pleaded not guilty in the interview. I’d been in the cell for 12 hours and still wasn’t sure what was going on! Didn’t know what the exact law was.

Would it be wise to plead guilty at court? Having done my own research I don’t think I stand much chance of getting away with it. I’ve no real evidence of my intentions of getting a taxi home but my own word.
 

Hobgoblin

Active member
Unless there are aggravating circumstances, pleading guilty to this charge is not likely to result in a ban. I wouldn't like to advise how to plea. It's possible the duty solicitor at the court might be able to help.
 

TipsyNurse

Well-known member
Probably the only thing you would have is if you had told a colleague before the event that you were planning on leaving your car and catching the taxi before the event. Problem being is that the prosecution would probably dispute their statement and require them to attend court which may be beyond what they are prepared to do.

Otherwise you would need to convincingly explain why you put the keys in the ignition. It is entirely arbitrary but in general if you have your keys in the boot or back seat then you aren't seen as drunk in charge. As soon as you put the keys in the ignition the assumption is you are going to start the car.

If you plead not guilty and lose the prosecution will ask for £62O costs for a contested trial, vs £85 for a guilty plea, so there is quite a bit of money on the line.
 

price1367

TTC Group
A decent result, thanks for letting us know.

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