It is a criminal offence to be drunk in charge of a motor vehicle and our drink driving solicitors deal with a large number of clients each year who are often surprised to learn that even where they were not actually driving they risk points, disqualification and worse merely by being inside or within the vicinity of a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol.
The words ‘in charge’ are not defined in any of the drink driving legislation; however previous cases suggest that you may be ‘in charge’ of your vehicle when you were the owner or lawful possessor of the vehicle or had recently driven the vehicle. Generally, the courts will consider whether you were actually inside the vehicle or close to it, what you were doing at the relevant time, whether you were in possession of a key that fitted the ignition and whether there was any evidence of an intention to take or assert control of the vehicle by driving or otherwise.
Every case is decided on its own facts and our expert motoring solicitors have considerable experience in this area. We can give you an honest and accurate appraisal as to whether the prosecution can actually prove that you were ‘in charge’ of a motor vehicle notwithstanding that you may have been over the limit.
It is also the case that you have a defence to a charge of being drunk in charge if you can show that there was no likelihood of you driving the vehicle while over the limit. It will not be sufficient for you to turn up at court and simply say I would not have driven while over the limit. It will be for you to prove that there was no likelihood of you driving. These cases require very careful preparation, the admission of other compelling circumstantial evidence and often expert scientific evidence also.
Take for example, the common situation of somebody who sleeps in his or her car after consuming alcohol. You will need you convince the court that when you woke up you would not have driven home while over the limit. Your chances of convincing the court of that are increased if, for example, you are able to provide evidence as to exactly when you would have been under the limit as well as alternatives to driving home in the morning (e.g. availability of public transport or house within walking distance and not needing the car for work etc).
Our quality motoring solicitors have had significant success in establishing this so called ‘statutory defence’ on behalf of our clients meaning you could avoid points or disqualification.
Even in situations where you will be pleading guilty to an offence of being drunk in charge it is still crucial that you are legally represented as unlike driving while over the limit, this offence does not carry a mandatory period of disqualification. The court does have the option of imposing 10 penalty points instead and your chances of being dealt with in that way are significantly increased if a skilled plea in mitigation is made on your behalf by an experienced motoring solicitor.
Please feel free to contact us 24 hours a day 7 days a week. You will always be advised by an experienced motoring solicitor never a trainee, secretary or receptionist.
Please see our latest success story and testimonial here in relation to being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle