Charged with drink driving - what should I do?
1. Consult a solicitor
Do not underestimate how seriously the criminal justice system views drink driving. Courts impose far stiffer penalties for drink driving convictions than other road traffic offences. If you've been charged with a drink driving related offence, you need to know the law and consider your position very carefully. In every case, you are strongly advised to seek legal counsel. A solicitor will explain the elements of the offence you've been charged with, along with potential defences and penalties -- which could include imprisonment, a long-term driving ban, and a heavy fine. You can find a criminal law solicitor in your area via Contact Law. And if you have limited means, you may qualify for free legal help through the Criminal Defence Service.
2. Make notes
While everything is still fresh in your memory, you may want to write down everything that happened to you in the hours leading up to your arrest until you left the police station. This will help your solicitor evaluate your case and potential defences, and decide whether the police acted correctly and followed proper procedures. If the police failed to act properly, the court may decide to throw out evidence related to your drink driving test results and notes on your sobriety and appearance.
3. Carefully consider your plea
After you've been charged, it's important that you are honest with yourself and carefully consider the plea you intend to give. In sentencing, a court will take into account whether or not you pled guilty or not-guilty and the stage at which you did so. Avoid making a decision too early , however -- as a general rule of thumb, always consult your solicitor first.
4. Do not drive to court
Do not drive to court alone since if you are handed a driving disqualification it will take effect immediately. To avoid getting stuck, arrange alternative transport.
5. Arrive on time
Plan your route to court several days in advance of your hearing and make sure you arrive on time. The judge will not be amused if you turn up late or fail to arrive, and will punish you accordingly.
6. Seek help
Many people who drink and drive have wider issues with alcohol, so if you accept you were over the limit, you should seriously consider seeking professional help. You may also want to look into attending a drink driving rehabilitation course , which could also reduce the length of your driving ban by as much as 25%.
- Drink driving law overview
- Drink driving FAQs
- I don't think I was over the limit: what should I do?
- How will a drink driving conviction affect my career / job prospects?