Our team of specialist solicitors have years of experience in representing clients throughout courts in England and Wales.
We are able to explain in straightforward terms what is likely to happen in your case.
A breath reading cannot, on its own, make you guilty of drink driving. The starting point is to check all the evidence produced by the prosecution service. – Conor Johnstone
M.A.J. Law has recently secured an exclusive contract with a number of high-profile specialist barristers, known widely for their case victories. This means that by instructing M.A.J. Law, you are also gaining exclusive access to some of the country’s leading motoring defence barristers.
All our cases start with a positive breath reading, this does not make you guilty of drink driving. It’s important to consider the case as a whole and check the evidence against you. You may be surprised to find that it doesn’t exist.
The police and the courts like to ‘process’ drink driving prosecutions very quickly. This can lead to motorists feeling pressured into making hasty decisions, often without full knowledge of the options available.
The team at M.A.J. Law have specialist knowledge of drink driving case law and statute – often winning cases by advancing complex legal arguments and unique defence strategies. We also work closely with independent expert witnesses, toxicologists and forensic scientists who can provide evidence to strengthen your defence.
Consider the following;
It’s impossible to discuss all drink driving defences on a single page. We have therefore summarised the main points below.
We would strongly advise that you contact our team of specialist solicitors who will be able to outline your options and discuss a defence strategy suitable for your circumstances. We are confident that following a phone call to our team, you’ll have complete confidence.
Your breath alcohol concentration will reduce as you eliminate and ‘burn off’ the alcohol that you have consumed, the speed at which you do so is known as your ‘elimination rate’.
Alcohol can be eliminated at such a rate that there’s a risk that you will fall below the prescribed limit by the time you are placed on the evidential breath test machine (EBM) at the police station, even if your roadside reading was high.
The difficulty the police face is that the roadside reading is non-evidential, meaning it can’t be used as evidence in court. If you fail at the roadside, the police will want to get you to the station as quickly as possible, in order to get the highest breath reading from you on the evidential device.
This often leads to police officers cutting corners and skipping the important procedures that should be completed before you’re placed onto the EBM. If you felt like you were being rushed through the process, you may not recall the MGDDA procedure.
Police officers are given drink driving pro-formas called MGDDA documents. These ‘dummy guides’ were introduced to help prevent the police breaching procedure and obtaining unreliable and unlawful specimens of breath. That was the idea, at least. In theory, they are idiot proof. In reality, they are an inconvenience.
The MGDDA document contains in excess of 20 questions the officer has to ask you, as well as a number of legal requirements. This booklet should be completed with you before the officer places you onto the evidential breath test machine. Don’t worry if you can’t recall it; there’s a good chance it wasn’t completed.
N.B. Don’t mistake the MGDDA procedure with the ‘checking-in’ procedure completed at the custody desk.
As above, it doesn’t take an expert to know that the level of alcohol in your body will reduce overtime. If the officer were to spend 30 minutes asking questions, recording your responses, ticking the correct boxes and reading the legal warning, there’s a very good chance that the level of alcohol remaining in your body would be substantially lower than at the roadside, you may even be below the prescribed limit. An outcome any officer will want to avoid.
M.A.J. Law find fault with drink driving breath procedures in over 85% of cases, usually leading to a complete acquittal.
We’re all aware of the struggle faced by front-line services as a result of increased budget cuts. As a cost-cutting measure, a number of police forces now employ civilian staff members to carry out day-to-day work within the police station (e.g. preparing meals for detainees).
In an attempt to get ‘more for its money’, the police force began using civilian officers to conduct breath test procedures, rather than using the ‘bobby on the beat’ (who’s time is more expensive).
The difficulty here, however, is that a civilian member of staff is not a constable and, by law, cannot give the important legal requirements detailed in the MGDDA document. In short, if the civilian gave you the warning, you cannot be convicted.
Indeed, you may recall that the procedure was, in fact, conducted by one of the officers who had arrested you or even the custody sergeant. If this is the case, is does not mean the the procedure was correct. Lack of formal training, coupled with the pressures placed on individual officers, results in them not understanding the MGDDA procedure.
M.A.J. Law has expert knowledge of Evidential Breath Testing Devices currently in use in the UK. This means that we can advise you on the merits of challenging the accuracy of the EBM without having to consult an independent expert (thus saving you time and money).
If, following our initial review, you decide to instruct one of our independent experts, we can then obtain a full expert report focusing on the particular issue. Most of our experts have arrangements in place with UK laboratories and machine manufacturers, meaning we can gain exclusive access to important records without having to go through the CPS’s lengthy disclosure process.
There are three EBM’s currently in use in England and Wales, all of which are type-approved by the Secretary of State. These are:
1. The Lion Intoxilyser 6000 UK
2. The Camic Datamaster
3. The Intox EC/IR.
By law, you should have been provided with a copy of the printout produced by the machine at the end of the procedure (it looks very similar to a till receipt). This printout contains very limited data, but it can be helpful. If you are not provided with a copy, there is no evidence of the machine’s calibration (thus the court should not convict you).
If you are charged with drink driving, a motoring defence solicitor may use one of a number of defences in court. A few examples include ‘the hip flask defence’, arguing post driving consumption, and technical defences. To read more about these defences, as well as a number of others, please see the ‘Drink Driving Defences’ document on the Resources page.
Choosing the right solicitor for your drink driving case is vitally important. There is a genuine and honest belief amongst our team that we are the best motoring defence practice in the UK (and our clients agree!). We challenge all cases with a positive attitude and will never ‘throw in the towel’. It’s this mindset that has allowed us to quickly become one of the leading drink driving defence practices in the UK.
We aim to make choosing a solicitor easy. Consider the following points:
Here at M.A.J. Law, we are completely transparent about our fixed fee pricing structure, as well as any potential additional costs that might be incurred throughout your case, so you can ask us about your drink driving case cost with confidence.
we promise that our quoted fixed fees will not change, even if your case becomes more complicated than originally anticipated. Over the years, our team of specialist solicitors have built long-lasting, honest and trustworthy relationships with each and every client. This has helped us become one of the leading drink driving defence solicitors in the UK.
M.A.J. Law also employs a number of Cost Recovery Administrators who will process your Defence Costs Order immediately (following a case victory). This allows you to claim back your costs from the Central Funds Office of the Government (subject to assessment).
Below are the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines. These are used by courts across England and Wales when sentencing for a drink driving offence. You can also use our Drink Driving Penalty Calculator to get an indication of what your sentence might be.
|Breath alcohol level (mg)||Blood alcohol level (ml)||Urine alcohol level (ml)||Starting point||Range||Disqualification (first offence)||Disqualification (2nd offence in 10 years)|
|36 – 59||81 – 137||108 – 183||Band C fine||Band C fine||12 – 16 months||36 – 40 months|
|60 – 89||138 – 206||184 – 274||Band C fine||band C fine – Low level community order||17 – 22 months||36 – 46 months|
|90 – 119||207 – 275||275 – 366||Medium level community order||Low level community order – high level community order||23 – 28 months||36 – 52 months|
|120 – 150 and above||276 – 345 and above||367 – 459 and above||12 weeks custody||High level community order to 26 weeks custody||29 – 36 months||36 – 60 months|
M.A.J. Law specialise in defending motorists nationwide. Our team have over 50 years of combined experience and first-hand knowledge of most courts in England and Wales. Free advice? Please get in touch.