Instructing a direct access barrister when facing a drink driving charge

Facing a charge of drink driving is always a stressful time. The majority of those that face this charge will never have dealt with police before, let alone faced a Magistrates’ Court appearance. A conviction can change your life, so it is vital that you make the right moves when choosing someone to represent you.

Solicitor or Barrister?

The main differentiator between a solicitor and a barrister is that a solicitor is a more general lawyer with the qualifications and skills to deal with all manner of legal work. They do not specialise in any one type of advocacy, but have authorisation to appear in the lower courts. Barristers, on the other hand, are specialist advocates with the training to appear in Crown and High Courts. They are able to appear in all types of court.

Nowadays, direct access barristers are available to the public. Traditionally, there was no way to instruct a barrister yourself; you had to do so via a solicitor. Now, you can contact a barrister directly to have them take on your drink driving case and give them your instructions. This will allow you to have a conference with the barrister before your hearing, as well as for the hearing itself.

Some barristers even have the authorisation to conduct litigation, meaning they can deal with the entire drink driving case for you in addition to the court appearances. Your barrister will attend the court hearing with you if it doesn’t clash with another court case, but if they can’t they will appoint a suitable substitute.

Choosing the right barrister

The best starting point is recommendations. Friends, family or work colleagues may have had a good experience with a solicitor or barrister, and if that person can’t take on your case directly they can usually recommend someone good who will.

An online search, such as on Barristers4U, will help you to find direct access barristers who have a history and specialism in drink driving cases.

When you find a barrister you think would be good, you can contact them. Barristers4U offers free, no-obligation quotes, where you can find out how a barrister will help you and what their experience is in dealing with drink driving charges.

Can a barrister help with my drink drive case?

Law enforcement operatives will have you believe that drink drive cases are clear-cut and unavoidable, but this is not the case. With a good drink drive barrister by your side, you stand a chance of being able to overturn a drink drive accusation in some circumstances. Here we explore the ways in which they can help:

Speak on your behalf in court

A barrister will know what to say, how to say it and when to say it. This can make every difference in a court and can swing your chances of conviction or exoneration. You will only get one chance in court, so getting it right is essential. Make sure you have the best representation.

Give you guidance

For most drink drive offenders it will be their first time in a courtroom. This can be very intimidating and they are structured to be so. Knowing what to expect and exactly what will happen will help to put your mind at rest and allow you to keep a level head for the interactions that matter.

Give advice about your plea

Sometimes the best thing to do is to admit your guilt and receive a lighter sentence for showing remorse. A barrister will be able to tell you when this is the right course of action so that you are making the correct plea.

Build your defence

A barrister can help by building a defence for you if there is one to build. They will never create a defence where one does not exist, but they will be able to turn the real course of events into an effective defence to put in front of the court.

Determine special reasons

In some cases, drink drive defences can rely on special reasons for your actions. Your barrister will be able to help you establish this defence if it does exist.

Obtaining a quote

Getting a fee quote from a barrister will be completely free, so there is nothing to lose at the outset. A barrister could save you from significant fines and protect you from losing your license too.

Photo: Driving by Joe Le Merou licensed under Creative commons 2

Drink driving: know where you stand

When found guilty of a drink driving offence, individuals can expect to be banned from driving for at least a year, receive an unlimited fine or face up to six months in prison. When faced with these consequences, it is not uncommon to feel fearful, distraught or overwhelmed and lose sight of the reality of the situation. However, things may not be as disastrous or clear-cut as they first seem.

Required procedures

In any drink driving case, there are procedures that police must follow for a conviction to be valid. Expert drink drive barristers or speeding barristers will have experience in defending similar claims and will know which details to question, to ensure that the arrested party is not forced to accept an unreasonable punishment.

One example of a procedure that is vital to understand is the breath test. Devices used to conduct the test have been known to produce unreliable results in situations where no more than a single spirit and mixer have been consumed. A drink drive barrister can obtain calculations to determine the precise amount of alcohol in the body at the time of the test, as well as taking a careful look at the process surrounding the arrest and investigation.

Expert insight

Another example would be that there could occasionally be an unusual reason for an individual’s behaviour. Generally speaking, the court will not entertain drink driving of any kind; however, a drink driving barrister will know when a special reason can be argued. It might even be possible to demonstrate to the court why a more favourable stance should be taken.

The consequences of failing to obtain expert help demonstrate the importance of doing so: the increased cost of car insurance; the need to declare the conviction to an employer or when travelling overseas; the loss of employment where this is dependant on the ability to drive; and, of course, the penalty itself. A drink drive barrister will examine any possibility of a reduced sentence and can review an employment to determine whether there is any duty to inform an employer.

Deciding not to seek assistance may seem like an easier option, especially during stressful circumstances, but, by using a trained legal professional, individuals stand the best chance of clarifying where they stand and not having to suffer any undue consequences.

At Barristers4U, we are particularly experienced at helping you save your driving license, but we don’t stop there – we have over a thousand accredited barristers who can provide you with expert advice on all aspects of the law. To get a free quote and find out how we can help you, contact us today.