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Drunk in Charge of a Vehicle

CHARGE: Drunk in Charge of a Vehicle: s 4(3) of The Road Traffic Act 1988

DEFENCE: No Likelihood of Driving

This is a charge that is quite common but one that we tend to find members of the public are unaware of. It occurs when a person is found to be over the limit and in charge of their vehicle but not actually driving. This will often be a situation where a person has been on a night out and for one reason or another ended up in their car. It is a serious matter and can often lead to a disqualification from driving similar to a “drink driving” charge. It is possible to avoid disqualification if found guilty with 10 penalty points being imposed as a minimum. Skilful preparation of a defence combined with solid representation can often lead though to an accused person being found Not Guilty.

We often meet with clients that did not realise being “drunk in charge of a motor vehicle “was a criminal offence until they are charged. Their position is often that they simply intended to sleep in their car. However, at this stage all is not lost, you may have a defence. Legal aid may also be available.

A driver will be regarded as not being in charge if they prove that at the material time there was no likelihood of them driving. This applies to the entire period that they remained unfit to drive.

Key aspects:

  • It’s a question of fact and evidence.
  • Usually the burden of proof lies with the prosecution and the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • For this defence the burden of proof rests with the accused and the standard of proof is ‘on the balance of probabilities.
  • The balance of probabilities is a lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • The defence can be established by uncorroborated evidence. This means the defence can be established by evidence of the accused alone.
  • Normally though expert medical evidence is required in such cases to allow the court to understand when you would have been fit to drive the car.
  • The court will consider your intentions in light of all the surrounding circumstances.
  • You must show that there was no likelihood of driving up to the point that you were no longer impaired. This will mean giving evidence to show that you had no intention to drive the car the morning after as well as at the material time.

Contact our Road Traffic Solicitors in Glasgow

If you are able to establish that there was no likelihood of you driving the car whilst you were over the legal limit you will be acquitted. Doing so requires excellent preparation of your case along with experienced representation in court. At The Glasgow Law Practice we can provide you with such assistance. Contact our road traffic solicitors on 0141 530 7438.