Special Reasons in Drink Drive cases

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When a client asks for representation for a drink drive charge, the process that the lawyer goes through can be quite complex. This blog is going to focus on the term ‘special reasons’.
The first issue to determine is whether the client is guilty of the alleged offence; there are a number of possible charges depending upon the circumstances. For each charge, there will be different elements that the prosecution have to prove. A quality lawyer will identify each element and check that the prosecution have sufficient evidence to prove it. The lawfulness of the arrest is irrelevant, if the specimen for analysis was obtained without inducement, threat or some form of trick.
Challenging the drink drive procedure at the police station is complex and expensive, and unless there is a genuine doubt about the level of alcohol, this is not usually a fruitful avenue to pursue. Having said that, the specimen may not be admissible if the police station procedures were not followed correctly.
It is more usual that the client accepts the level of alcohol, pleads guilty and seeks advice on whether he can avoid disqualification. We now enter the realm of Special Reasons.
Drink driving offences carry obligatory disqualification. If Special Reasons are found, the court may refrain from disqualifying. Special Reasons amount to mitigating or extenuating circumstances, not amounting in law to a defence, and yet directly connected with the commission of the offence.
Special Reasons are not particular to drink drive cases but there is a body of case law that has built up around this area. The job of the lawyer (solicitor or barrister) is to obtain the client’s instructions about the facts of the case. The facts are then applied to the categories of Special Reasons and then specifically to the case law. Each category, and generally speaking there are three, is supported by a number of previous cases which clarify the limits of the law. The skill of the lawyer is to apply the facts of the particular case to the body of case law and determine whether there is scope for the application of Special Reasons. This process depends on the ability of the lawyer to ask the right questions, and that takes time, and the lawyer’s knowledge of the case law. A further factor will be in the recent change in the law, either by statute, regulation or in the case law itself.
When you instructor a quality lawyer you pay for the ability and experience to carry out this process in your favour. When you come to us, you get over 20 years of this experience.

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