Drive whilst unfit dropped before Court

Our client was charged with an allegation of driving whilst unfit through drink. They had collided with a bus stop post and knocked it over. The police attended the scene and breathalysed our client, who gave a positive reading for alcohol. When they reached the police station, the client provided the evidential specimen of breath, but this time the reading was under the limit. Yet the police still charged with being unfit to drive through drink.

Throughout the dealings with the officer, the client had made reference to the fact that they had been tired and at one point, the officer even stated that the client fell into a deep sleep.

Having viewed the evidence, we advised a not guilty plea. This is because the Prosecution must show that it was the drink that caused the defendant to be unfit. Our argument was that this could not be proved, as it could easily have been fatigue.

A not guilty plea was entered at the first hearing and the matter was listed for trial. In the interim we sent multiple letters and emails to the Prosecution. The Prosecution responded saying they would be willing to agree an alternative charge of driving without due care and attention. This was agreed and confirmed with the Court.

The client could not afford to receive a disqualification or more than 6 points due to their job. The allegation had both a factor indicating culpability, due to admitting driving whilst tired and factor indicating harm, as damage had been caused to property. Therefore the sentencing risk would be 7-9 points of a disqualification. However, the Court does have the power to divert from the sentencing guidelines if they feel it is in the interest of justice to do so.

We took the client’s mitigation and advised on supporting letters. They attended Court with Counsel and received 6 points and a fine. They therefore kept their employment.