Drug Driving

We adopt a methodical seven stage process to safeguard your licence

STEP ONE – GENERAL DEFENCES

We will assess your case to see if any of the following general defences apply

Private land

Where you drive on a private road or place e.g. car park the offence of driving above the specified limit in drugs may not have been committed as the vehicle must be driven in a public place. Some car parks are open to the public but have limited class of users. In this case you may escape a conviction. For example, in one case decided by the Courts, a university campus was held to be private land.

Duress of circumstances

Where the driver fears life or serious harm to oneself or someone else this may amount to a legal defence which may avoid not only a ban but also a conviction and criminal record. In other cases of emergency this may amount to special reasons to avoid a ban (see special reasons)

Evidence of driving

Being sat in or near the vehicle may amount to evidence of being in charge above the specified limit (which usually carries 10 points) but not driving above specified limit. Sometimes the only evidence of driving will be a roadside confession. If the driver has not been given a caution we can stop the police using this evidence. Even where you have been interviewed at the police station we can exclude confessions and submit no case to answer where you were not told of your right to speak to a solicitor by phone after declining a face to face.

STEP TWO – POLICE STATION PROCEDURE

We can view the CCTV from the police station or the officers body worn video in hospital cases to assess whether there has been a significant breakdown in police procedure.

In this situation the Court has the power to disallow all prosecution evidence against you, resulting in dismissal of the charges.

These are just a few examples, many of which have been used successfully to avoid bans for clients of this firm.

Where the officer fails to read out essential information from the blood specimen booklet this can invalidate the whole process.

The police must demonstrate they can account for the whereabouts of the blood sample at every stage of the testing process and that the sample not been tampered with. This is called ‘continuity’. Charges have been dismissed where the packaging is damaged when received by the laboratory, labels have been wrongly completed, serial numbers do not match or the officer has not completed the blood specimen booklet properly.

The charges may be dismissed if the police fail to inquire about medical problems preventing you from providing blood, or dismiss medical reasons you give without consulting a doctor.

The doctor fails to shake the container after taking the sample as required by guidance.

If you are not provided with your own blood sample, or not told how to store the sample, or you are discouraged from taking your blood sample away with you or having it tested, this may result in a defence to the charges.

If you have been given a blood sample we can have this tested using one of our approved independent labs. Cases have been dismissed because the level in drugs was below the specified legal limit.

The police fail to arrange a translator where you have limited English for example you have difficulty with technical jargon or procedural terms.

Here are some example cases dealt with by the firm

 Basildon MC – R v MS

The client was prosecuted for driving above the specified limit in cannabis. The issues in the case were the failure by police to notify the client how to have the sample independently tested and ask if there were medical reasons why blood should not be taken. There were also continuity issues as to the storage of the sample and the SFR1 (level 1 forensic report) had no name for the scientist who carried out the analysis. The case was discontinued before trial after written representations by Sandra Cooper (reviewing lawyer) that as the datapack had not been served the prosecution had failed to comply with criminal procedure rules.

Wimbledon MC – R v MH

The client was prosecuted for driving above the specified limit in cannabis. The issues in the case were continuity and reliability of the blood sample as the container was not shaken for 30 seconds. Neil Blackaby (reviewing lawyer) raised disclosure issues throughout the case including non service of the unused material. After rejecting the SFR2 (level 2 forensic report), the statement from the health care professional and opposing an application for the analyst to give evidence by live link the prosecution discontinued the charges before trial.

STEP THREE – LEGALITY OF ARREST AND POLICE CONDUCT

In some situations the Court has the power to disallow breath specimens as a result of the unlawful arrest where this amounts to a serious mistake in procedure or from the conduct of the arresting officers.

Here are some examples:

 

  • Excessive force or intimidation. A number of clients have had charges dismissed due to intimidation, and the inappropriate use of strip searches and taser guns.
  • Using handcuffs without justification contrary to ACPO guidelines
  • The police mislead you on the reasons for stopping your vehicle. This may amount bad faith or ‘mala fides’ for which the Court has the power to disallow all evidence against you.
  • The police falsely claim there were given permission to enter your property.
  • Insulting or inappropriate behaviour can result in the case being dismissed. A case against one of our clients was dropped due to unwanted attention.
  • You are not taken to hospital immediately after a road traffic accident or the police delay your treatment to obtain a blood sample at the police station. The police are required by force policy to arrange hospital assessment where your vehicle airbags inflate.

STEP FOUR – NON DISCLOSURE

A high proportion of successful cases are where the police fail to comply with their disclosure duties.

If we are unable to prepare your case due to the prosecution failing to supply evidence you are entitled to an acquittal.

Here is an example:

Stratford MC – R v HD

The client was charged with driving above the specified limit in cannabis. Sandra Cooper (reviewing lawyer) made written representations to the prosecution for the case to be reviewed as the police had failed to serve an SFR2 (level 2 forensic report), full analytical data pack and HORT/5 (statement of nurse taking the blood sample). The prosecution was persuaded to discontinue the charge before trial.

STEP FIVE – DISCONTINUANCE

In some cases we can persuade the CPS to drop charges before the case proceeds to court.This saves you the expense and worry of having to attend Court.

Here are some example cases dealt with by the firm:

Manchester and Salford MC – R v ZU

The client was charged for driving above the specified limit in cannabis. The nurse had taken a blood sample despite pain and discomfort caused from abortive attempts to find a vein. It was submitted there were medical reasons for abandoning the specimen procedure and the continuity of the chain of custody in relation to the blood sample was in dispute. Laura Heywood (reviewing lawyer) persuaded the prosecution to discontinue the charges after they failed to provide the SFR2 (level 2 forensic report) and data pack for the use of the defence expert.

Wimbledon MC – R v MH

The client was prosecuted for driving above the specified limit in cannabis. The issues in the case were continuity and reliability of the blood sample as the container was not shaken for 30 seconds. Neil Blackaby (reviewing lawyer) raised disclosure issues throughout the case including non service of the unused material. After rejecting the SFR2 (level 2 forensic report), the statement from the health care professional and opposing an application for the analyst to give evidence by live link the prosecution discontinued the charges before trial.

STEP SIX – PLEA BARGAIN

This can be a quick way of resolving the case at the first hearing without the need for a trial. We offer a guilty plea to a less serious offence usually drunk in charge provided the prosecution agree to drop the drink driving offence.

Here is an example case:

Kings Lynn MC – R v JJ Joyce

The client was prosecuted for driving above the specified limit in cannabis. The issues in the case included whether there was sufficient evidence of driving. The client had given a confession after a false assurance by the officer that he would be dealt with as in charge not
drug driving. Sneha Shrestha (Platinum lawyer) persuaded the prosecution to discontinue the driving allegation at the first hearing with 10 penalty points for being in charge instead of the mandatory ban for drug driving.

STEP SEVEN – SPECIAL REASONS

Special reasons can avoid a driving ban where no legal defence is available. In some cases even a criminal record may be avoided and your legal fees reimbursed.

Here are some examples:

Emergencies

You may have believed at the time of driving you had no choice but to do so despite having misused drugs. Where this happens you may be able to argue “special reasons” as a way of avoiding a driving ban. The typical cases involve some kind of emergency.

Cases have been upheld for medical reasons e.g. getting someone urgent medical treatment, to avoid threat of personal safety or that of others, and where people have driven due to concern for missing children.

Short distance driven

The Courts can waive a driving ban where you have driven a short distance so that no real risk was posed to the public.

Spiked/ laced drinks

If someone added an illegal substance to your drink we may argue special reasons against a ban on your behalf.

Call us now on 0800 044 3730 to find out how we can help you

Call Our Experts Now

Free Helpline:
0800 044 3730

Spend just 5 to 10 minutes with us answering a few questions about your case and give yourself the possibility of avoiding a criminal record and driving ban.

We are open for calls any day until 9pm

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Urine Specimens

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Driving under the Influence

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Drunk in Charge

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Fail to Provide Cases

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