A member of the Criminal Defence team at Ringrose Law, Kerry Woollason, successfully defended a client recently who had been charged with driving offences including Failing to Provide a Specimen of Breath for Analysis.

The police had come across the client’s vehicle which had come to a halt across a carriageway. The police suspected that the client had been drinking as he smelt strongly of alcohol and was in such an intoxicated state that he could barely stand up. The police managed to conduct a roadside breath test which came back with a reading of 138 micrograms; nearly 4 times the drink drive limit of 35 micrograms in 100 millilitres of breath. Due to failing the roadside breath test, the client was arrested on suspicion of drink driving and taken to the police station. As the roadside breath test in itself is not reliable enough to be used as evidence, the police had to obtain 2 further breath samples using a specialised machine called an intoxilizer machine, which is standard procedure.

The client refused to provide the tests and could not provide any reason for his refusal. Failing to provide 2 specimens of breath is an offence which is usually treated more seriously than Drink Driving. The client was subsequently charged at a later date with failing to provide a specimen of Breath for Analysis as a result of his refusal to provide 2 further specimens of breath.

During the Court hearing, the Court heard evidence of the apparent high level of intoxication and the circumstances under which the client was found in a vehicle, which was straddled across the carriageway. Ordinarily, a Court would consider these facts to be significant aggravating features, which would easily attract a custodial sentence and substantial disqualification from driving. However, Kerry Woollason put forward full mitigation on her client’s behalf and explained that shortly after the client had refused to provide the samples, he became very ill and had to be taken to hospital by ambulance where he remained for 4 days. In the circumstances the client should not be treated as though he had deliberately refused to provide the sample, nor should he be treated as though his demeanour at the roadside was due to intoxication, as it may well have been a result of her client’s illness. The client was sentenced to a fine and 10 points on his driving licence, avoiding disqualification.

If you are arrested or charged by the police for drink driving, contact our Criminal Defence Team for help and advice.

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