I was involved in an accident whilst over the limit. I have been charged with both drink driving and driving without due care.
Are these two charges the same? If I was over the limit surely I could not be driving with due care?
Yes you can be charged with both, if you drove without due care and attention whilst being over the drink drive limit.
However, there have to be separate instances. So drunk driving is not in itself careless driving, there has to be a drop in the standard of your driving as well as driving above the limit.
If there is no drop in the standard of your driving then you may be able to defend it on the basis that the charges are what’s called duplicitous, that means you have been charged for the same offence twice.
If there are separate instances, so for example if you have been both swerving in between lanes and at the same time you were above the legal alcohol limit there is nothing stopping the police charging you with both offences. But, there are still a couple of ways around it.
The first is that you can ask the court to apply the same occasion principles and what is called the totality principle in sentencing, to get all matters dealt with at the same time and hopefully persuade the court to only sentence you for the more serious offence, which in this case is drink driving.
You may Aaso be able to get the CPS to drop the due care charge if you can persuade them to just put the full facts of the case to the court in the context of the drink driving charge.
It might mean you would receive a slightly higher sentence for drink driving because they will use it as an aggravating factor against you, however it may save you being convicted or two separate offences.