Pleading Not Guilty to Drink Driving

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Pleading Not Guilty to Drink Driving

If you have been accused of drink driving, the expert motoring solicitors at JMW can help, regardless of whether you wish to enter a not guilty or guilty plea. We can advise you on the best route to take and give you the best chance of getting the outcome you are after.

The sooner you seek legal advice the better, so contact our expert team today. Simply call us on 0345 872 6666 or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


Answer the 4 questions below to get an idea of what the penalty for your motoring offence could be.

Q1. What type of test were you given?

Options for Pleading Not Guilty

If you have been accused of drink driving but believe you are innocent, or that you have been treated unfairly, you may be in a position to challenge the prosecution. Our drink driving solicitors are here to help and there is plenty of work that can be done prior to your first appearance at court. For instance, we can help you with matters such as:

  • Securing vital police evidence
  • Contacting witnesses in order to obtain statements
  • Liaising with and instructing experts
  • Obtaining and reviewing prosecution evidence

By seeking expert legal help you can ensure you are in the best position possible to challenge an accusation that you believe to be unfair or false. The team at JMW can advise you on all options available to you and provide expert guidance throughout your case.

Options for Pleading Guilty

If you have already decided to plead guilty to a drink driving allegation, the type of penalty you face will be based on a number of factors, such as:

  • Your blood, urine or breath alcohol level
  • Whether or not there are any factors that aggravate the offence
  • Whether you have any previous convictions for an excess alcohol offence within the last ten years

We can provide the expert assistance you need to make sure your penalty is as minimal as possible by looking into your particular circumstances in relation to each of these factors and advising you of the best course of action specific for you.

What are the Risks Involved In Pleading Not Guilty?

When you plead not guilty to a drink driving charge, you essentially challenge the prosecution to prove the case against you beyond reasonable doubt. This means your case will go to trial, which comes with certain risks.

  1. Potential for higher penalties: if found guilty at trial, you may face a higher penalty compared to if you had entered a guilty plea at an early stage. Courts offer a reduced sentence for early guilty pleas.
  2. Legal costs: taking a case to trial can be more expensive than pleading guilty, particularly if you engage a solicitor to represent you in court. If you are found guilty, you may also be ordered to pay the prosecution's costs.
  3. Time and stress: court proceedings can be lengthy, potentially taking many months before a verdict is reached. This process can be stressful and time-consuming.
  4. Uncertain outcome: the outcome of a trial is uncertain. Even with a strong defence, there is always a risk that the court could find you guilty.

Before making any decisions about responding to a motoring offence charge, speak to a specialist drink driving solicitor, such as those at JMW Solicitors.

The Consequences of a Drink Driving Conviction

It is important to remember that if you are convicted of drink driving, not only will you have to deal with the penalty imposed by the court, you will also have to contend with the impact a drink driving conviction will have on your personal and professional life.

A drink drive conviction could result in one or more of the following:

  • An unlimited fine
  • A minimum driving ban of 12 months
  • A possible custodial sentence if you are a repeat drink driving offender or have been found to be several times over the drink driving limit
  • A criminal record, which may affect your ability to continue in your current job, particularly if you are a professional or work with vulnerable people
  • Attendance on a rehabilitation course recommended by the courts
  • An increase in motor insurance premiums
  • Difficulties hiring a vehicle; both at home and abroad
  • The possibility of undergoing a DVLA medical examination, which will determine whether you will be allowed to drive again
  • Visa restrictions (in particularly, there may be difficulties in terms of entering the USA)

Our Guilty Plea Fixed Fee Service

At JMW, we offer a ‘fixed fee’ service designed to assist you in preparing detailed and effective mitigation aimed at persuading the court to exercise leniency when imposing the penalty.

For most people, a court appearance is alien to them. Some people find standing before the court very difficult and quite daunting. This can sometimes impact on their ability to communicate all of the information and issues they wish to be taken into consideration by the court. JMW is here to do the talking for you.

With our fixed fee service we are able to offer the following:

  • Telephone conference/personal meeting with your solicitor
  • Representation at the hearing by either a partner or an expert motoring law barrister
  • A full pre-hearing briefing with regard to court procedures and what to expect at court
  • A conference with your legal representative on the morning of the hearing
  • A full post-hearing debriefing to discuss the penalty imposed, the implications and any further options that may be available to you

What Defences May Be Used Against a Drink Driving Charge After Making a Not Guilty Plea?

Defending against a drink driving charge can be complex and requires careful examination of the facts surrounding the case. However, several potential defences may be used, subject to the specific circumstances of the incident:

  1. No intention to drive: if it can be proven that the accused person had no intention to drive whilst they were over the legal limit, this could serve as a defence. For example, if you were sleeping in your car to 'sleep off' the alcohol.
  2. Emergency situations: if it can be demonstrated that the person was driving under the influence due to an emergency situation, it might be a valid defence.
  3. Inaccurate breathalyser results: the reliability and accuracy of the breathalyser machine used at the time of the arrest could be called into question, albeit difficult. This would require expert evidence demonstrating that the machine was faulty or improperly used.
  4. Improper stop: if the police did not have a valid reason to stop the vehicle in the first place, it may serve as a potential defence.
  5. Post-incident drinking: if the accused person drank alcohol after driving but before the police conducted the breath test, this may affect the breathalyser results and thus could serve as a defence. This is often referred to as a 'hip flask' defence.
  6. Not driving: if the accused was not driving the vehicle at the time alleged.
  7. Incorrect handling of samples: if there are procedural errors in the collection, storage, and analysis of blood or urine samples, the evidence may be deemed inadmissible.

What Counts as Being 'In Charge' of a Vehicle?

Being 'in charge' of a vehicle generally refers to the person who is in control or has the responsibility for the vehicle at a given time. However, the interpretation of this phrase can sometimes be subject to a court's discretion based on the specific circumstances of the case.

Typically, one is considered in charge of a vehicle if they have the keys and are in close proximity to the vehicle, even if they are not physically behind the wheel. For instance, if you are found intoxicated while sitting in the driver's seat, even with the engine off, you could be considered as being in charge of the vehicle. Similarly, if you are near the vehicle with the keys, you may also be deemed to be in charge.

Am I Required to Attend Court for a Drink Driving Offence?

Drink driving is a criminal offence and therefore a court appearance is usually mandatory. Failure to attend could result in a warrant for your arrest or the case being heard in your absence, potentially leading to a guilty verdict. However, your solicitor will be by your side to represent you, and will guide you through the entire process.

Am I Required to Speak in Court?

With the help of a professional solicitor, you will most likely not be required to present your own arguments during your court hearing.

You may be required to give evidence under oath as part of your defence, in which case you will need to answer questions from both your legal representative and the prosecution. But rest assured, your legal representative will prepare you for this.

If you plead guilty, your solicitor will argue on your behalf about the circumstances of the incident and about your character, which may help to mitigate the sentence.

Why Choose JMW?

Our motoring law solicitors are highly skilled and highly experienced, with a great track record in helping clients secure the outcome they are hoping for. Our involvement in a case can assist in asking the court to depart from their guidelines and can often lead to a penalty being imposed that is far less severe than the guidelines suggest.

With our guilty plea fixed fee service, you can be sure of the very best advice and representation for a price that will not spiral out of control.

Talk to Us

Talk to us about your drink driving plea options by getting in touch today. Simply give us a call on 0345 872 6666 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will call you back at a time convenient for you.