Drunk in charge, Dundee, 29 March 2018, Not Guilty
Our client was prosecuted for being drunk in charge of his car. He was approximately four times the legal limit. From our assessment of the case papers, it was clear that the Crown would be able to prove that our client was indeed four times over the limit and was indeed in charge of his vehicle as he was found in the driver’s seat with the keys in his possession.
Our client’s only chance therefore was to use a statutory defence called “no likelihood of driving”. This is where an accused person leads evidence that, although they were over the limit, there was no likelihood of their driving until they could do so legally. It is a defence that requires careful preparation. A toxicology report is required to establish when the accused person could legally drive. It is then the job of the defence to prove (yes, the burden of proof lies with the defence) that the accused person would not have driven.
In this case, both police officers conceded that they did not believe that our client would have driven. We were able to obtain CCTV footage that the car had been stationary for about 10 minutes before the police arrived. When the police did arrive, the car’s engine was not running. The keys were in the ignition but only to allow our client to charge his phone (to make a call to arrange a lift). Both police officers conceded that they did indeed see a mobile phone charging. Finally we obtained our client’s phone records which proved he had called to arrange a lift home. He was in fact making a follow-up call when the police arrived but hung up in a panic.
In all the circumstances a wholly justified Not Guilty verdict was achieved.
This case was defended by Steven Farmer on 29 March 2018 at Dundee Sheriff Court. The relevant law here can be found in section 15 of the Road Traffic (Offenders) Act 1988.