Hospital Cases

Taken to Hospital by the Police

Sometimes, a driver may be taken to hospital in order to provide a specimen, typically one of blood.

If a driver is taken to hospital, there are special procedures that must be followed by the police to ensure that statutory safeguards are complied with. Any person taken to hospital – whether arrested or not – is at their most vulnerable. They may not be able to understand the information given to them or fully comprehend their surroundings. This gives rise to a number of important defence issues.

When challenging a drink driving hospital case, there are a number of different things to consider. For example:

      • Did you provide your clear and unconditional consent to giving a sample?
        If you did not give consent, then the sample was not lawfully taken and cannot be used as evidence against you.
      • Does the CPS have the relevant certification to prove that your consent was obtained?
        Consent cannot be proven by the word of an officer alone, which is a common misconception among police officers. There must be a correctly filled out legal certificate to prove that you gave your consent consent. If this certificate does not exist, then the police have no case against you.
      • Were you administered pain-relief medication?
        It is not uncommon for hospital patents to be given some form of medication, usually via intravenous drip. Pain relief medication such as morphine can affect your judgement and make you drowsy. If you cannot understand the requirement to provide a specimen, or the consequences of failing to provide, but the officer still asks for your consent, the court should not convict you.
      • Was an MGDDC document filled out correctly?
        This document is an essential piece of evidence in the prosecution’s case against you. If there is fault with this evidence, our team will find it, and this could secure your acquittal.
      • Were the police authorised by an A&E Doctor to take a sample from you?
        A&E Doctors are extremely busy people, but this is no excuse for the officer not to request his permission. The involvement of the A&E Doctor is crucial and should be documented correctly.
      • Was any information incorrect or missing on the sample vial?
        Missing or incorrect information makes it difficult for the court to be certain that the sample in question did indeed belong to you. Typically, just a name alone is not enough to establish this certainty.
      • Was the vial sealed in a tamper-proof evidence bag?
        If it wasn’t, then it may not be able to be used as evidence in court.
      • Was the sample was stored appropriately before being sent to the laboratory,and can the CPS prove this?
        It’s not uncommon for police officers to store samples in ‘unusual’ places – such as the footwell of a police vehicle or even their own pockets. Blood is organic matter, and it can be easily changed and affected by temperature, which makes the conditions that any sample is stored in vital to the case.
      • Was an approved and recognised method used to analyse the sample? Was this documented correctly?
        The forensic analysis of a blood sample can, legally, be very complicated. Luckily, the team here at MAJ Law have an in depth knowledge of these processes, and will easily spot any errors that have been made, which could be enough to acquit you. Why not put our knowledge to the test?
      • Were you provided with part of your specimen?
        You are legally entitled to part of a blood sample that you have given, and you should be automatically provided with this. A failure on the police’s part to follow this procedure is enough to render the CPS’s sample inadmissible, leading to a complete acquittal for you.

The law governing hospital cases is complex. We recommend you seek specialist legal advice if you are seeking to mount a defence relating to any of the issues above. We will be pleased to discuss your case in complete confidence. All initial advice is completely free of charge.

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I’m so glad I trusted the team at MAJ Law who behaved with professionalism from start to finish and achieved what many had told me was next to impossible

Camberwell Green Magistrates Court - BK

 A police officer present at the hospital can require you to participate in a preliminary breath test. The results of this test are not evidential and cannot form the basis of a prosecution against you. It will simply indicate whether you are above the prescribed limit.

It’s important to note that the doctor in charge of your care can object to the officer requesting a preliminary breath specimen if the test would interfere with your proper care and treatment.

In most cases, of course, the purpose of the hospital procedure is to obtain an evidential specimen from your body. This will be either blood or urine.

The MGDDC document is a 30-page instruction manual. This should be read and completed by the officer, in your presence, before they obtain an evidential drink driving sample from you.

In essence, there are two routes an officer can choose when commencing the MGDDC procedure:

      • The first route (C5) should be taken in all cases where the patient is awake and alert. To take this route the officer must be certain that the patient can provide their informed consent.
      • The second route (C37) should be taken in all cases where the patient is incapable of providing their consent. In our view, this is the safest approach to take.

Surprisingly, there is no guidance offered to the police force regarding consent in drink drive hospital cases. This decision is made by the officer alone. Consent is a legal issue, rather than a medical one, so the hospital doctor should not be asked for his opinion.

Our forensic experts can determine whether you had the capacity to consent to the provision of a sample. In our most recent 2016 hospital case, an officer claimed our client provided his consent – whilst he lay on a stretcher with a neck brace on. Our expert concluded that the client was actually unconscious at this time, and therefore could not provide consent.

In these circumstances, the police are permitted to obtain the evidential sample from you on the premise that they obtain consent at a later date, usually after your release from the hospital. However, the forensic sample cannot be analysed before your consent is obtained.

The MGDDC procedure requires the police to arrange a mutually convenient time to attend your home address to obtain your consent, usually within 14 days of your hospital release date. The police may use this as an opportunity to conduct an ‘informal’ interview, which could result in additional driving charges (such as careless driving or dangerous driving). Don’t forget that you have the right to a solicitor during this visit.

It’s clear that the unconscious patient route is far more complicated and time-consuming than simply obtaining consent at the time the sample is taken. Consequently, many officers will save themselves the hassle and will (wrongly) take your consent at the hospital.

The main concern among many of those seeking legal help with their drink driving hospital cases are the costs that are associated with instructing a solicitor. Many may worry that the full cost is unclear at the start, and that there is the potential for it to rise if a case lasts longer than expected.

Well, luckily, you don’t have to worry about that with M.A.J. Law.

We have a fixed fee pricing structure that means that you will pay the price that you are quoted – even if the case becomes more complicated down the line and ends up lasting for a longer period of time and requiring more work.

We’re also happy to talk to you and advise on any other potential costs that may be incurred throughout the case, giving you complete peace of mind that there won’t be any nasty surprises along the way.

We can also help you to recover defence costs after your case has closed. We have a team of dedicated Cost Recovery Administrators who can process your paperwork immediately, allowing you to claim back your costs from the Central Funds Office of the Government.

Transparency and honesty – especially when it comes to costs – are core to our values and the way that we work here at M.A.J. Law, and it’s with these that we have built trust and long-lasting relationships with our clients over the years.

Now that you have a better understanding of the legal procedures around proving a blood specimen at the hospital, you might be ready to instruct a solicitor to take on your case.

It’s important that you take your time when choosing your legal representation, and that you vet potential contenders before making a decision. For instance, you may want to consider the following points:

  • Is the solicitor a specialist in motoring law, drink driving law specifically?
  • Is there a fee for an initial consultation?
  • Can the solicitor provide you with examples of past successes and client testimonials?
  • Is your solicitor available outside of office hours?
  • Have you spoken personally with the solicitor that will be handling your case?
  • Does the solicitor have access to expert witnesses and specialist senior barristers?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above, then you may want to question whether the solicitor you’re considering is the best available option.

M.A.J. Law is able to provide all of the above in our legal services, and we approach every case with positivity and dedication. It is this attitude and work ethic that has helped us to become the best motoring defence lawyers in the UK.

But don’t just take our word for it, read our client testimonials.

MAJ Law are specialist motoring defence solicitors. We have an in-depth knowledge of hospital drink drive procedures having dealt with these cases for years. If you were arrested and taken to the hospital, no doubt you will be extremely worried. Hospital drink drive procedures are, in our view, the most complicated drink drive related procedures that exist. The purpose of this page is to offer you a breakdown of the important defence issues that should be considered in any hospital drink drive case. If you would prefer a personal discussion relating to your case, please call us on 0151 422 8020.

Call our Motoring Defence Experts Today

We won’t charge anything for an initial consultation, where we’ll get a good understanding of your situation, and provide you with advice on your case. For a no obligation chat, call:

0151 422 8020

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