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In Charge of a Motor Vehicle - Drink or Drugs

Are you looking for the best Road Traffic Solicitors to defend you on an offence of being In Drunk in Charge of a Motor Vehicle? Or of being in charge of a vehicle whilst unfit through drink or drugs?  

When it comes to protecting your driving licence, we understand the potentially devastating impact of a road traffic charge on the reputation, livelihood and liberty of those we represent.

So, if you’re facing what for you is the legal minefield of an offence of being drunk in charge, or in charge whilst unfit through drink or drugs, tip the scales in your favour - Get in touch now.

What is the law on In Charge, Drink or Drugs?

Under section 4(2) and section 5(1)(b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, a person commits an offence if he is ‘in charge’ of a motor vehicle, having consumed alcohol in excess of the prescribed legal limit (22 milligrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath) or is otherwise regarded as ‘unfit to drive’ through drink or drugs.  

In practical terms, this offence is typically seen where a person is accused of being intoxicated and ‘in charge’ – or control – of a vehicle, as opposed to driving, or attempting to drive the vehicle. Being ‘in charge’ therefore only arises before driving has started, or after driving has finished.  

Unsurprisingly, such prosecutions are technical, complex and serious. It, therefore, makes sense to protect your licence by obtaining early expert advice as to what can be done in your case.

What are the penalties?

If convicted of being ‘in charge’ under Section 4(2) or Section 5(1)(b) of the Road Traffic Act, the consequences for you – and your family - can be severe and long-lasting.

In particular, conviction for these offences carry a minimum of ten penalty points or discretionary disqualification and a fine or imprisonment.

Again, therefore, given the potential consequences of an ‘in charge’ conviction for your licence, your job and, of course, your family, it makes sense to obtain early expert guidance on what can properly be done to avoid or reduce the penalties in your case.

How can we help?

You can count on our award-winning team to identify the right questions, provide the right answers and deliver the best solutions.

Here are just some of the ways in which we can help:

  • Were you ‘in charge’ of the vehicle? We can advise whether the prosecution is likely to meet the legal test of proving that you were ‘in charge’ or in control of the vehicle. For example, were you inside or outside the vehicle? Were you sitting in the driver’s seat or another seat? Where were the keys to the vehicle? Ultimately, every ‘in charge’ prosecution will benefit from expert assessment on the facts and circumstances of the individual case.
  • Where is the offence alleged to have happened? Many ‘in charge’ prosecutions arise where people are sleeping or resting in a parked car. If the location of the alleged offence is private property, such as a private driveway, then you may have a defence to the charge. We can guide you as to whether the prosecution is likely to be able to meet the legal test that the location was a road or other public place.
  • No likelihood of you driving? It is a complete defence to ‘in charge’ prosecutions that there was no likelihood of you driving whilst the alcohol in your system exceeded the legal limit (for section 5 offences) or whilst you remained unfit to drive through drink or drugs (for section 4 offences). Given that the onus of proving ‘no likelihood of driving’ is on the defence rather than the prosecution, such a defence requires to be presented with know-how and skill, for example, in being sure to obtain an opinion from a forensic expert - normally, a toxicologist - as to when you would have become legally fit to drive.
  • Minimising driving ban? If, after due consideration, you consider that your best choice is a plea of guilty, you can count on our considerable forensic and tactical skills to negotiate any such plea on the best possible terms,  with a view to ultimately securing for you the lowest possible penalty. For example, following a plea of guilty to an ‘in charge’ offence, if the court is considering exercising its discretion to impose a driving ban, then, on the strength of any early plea of guilty, there may be a legal basis to ask the court to “discount” or reduce any such ban down to the level of penalty points, which for an ‘in charge’ case, would be 10 penalty points.  

What are the costs?

Firstly, given the importance of you finding exactly the right lawyer to protect your driving licence, we have the confidence to provide every client with a first, diagnostic consultation, free of charge.

Thereafter, depending upon your financial position and the nature of your case, it may be possible for us to represent you under the Scottish Legal Aid scheme. If, however, Legal Aid is not available or appropriate in your case, whilst any fee chargeable thereafter will depend upon the complexity of your case, we are always happy to provide you with the certainty of a fee agreed in advance, and, if you prefer, usually the reassurance of a fixed fee arrangement, rather than fees based upon each item of work.

Equally, if you have a motor insurance policy or house insurance policy which provides you with cover for the legal costs of defending a motoring prosecution in Scotland, we would always be content to discuss acting for you on this basis. If you are in any doubt as to the terms of cover under any such insurance policy, again, we would be happy to examine the terms of any such policy at your first free consultation.

To tip the scales in your favour, get in touch now.

So, once again, why choose Adams Whyte Road Traffic Solicitors to defend you?

Here are just 5 reasons:

  • We are already the trusted choice of thousands of clients who over the years have relied on the expertise of our motoring law solicitors to deliver for them the best possible result in road traffic cases right across the country.
  • For the countless clients who, year after year, choose us to protect their driving licence, we have an impressively high rate of success and satisfaction.
  • Those who recommend or instruct us include individuals from fields as varied as law and policing, to medicine and banking, to sport and entertainment.
  • In fighting to keep you on the road, our specialist solicitors provide the highest standards of technical knowledge, forensic analysis, and courtroom advocacy, for example in exposing and arguing against any technical or legal flaws in the case against you.
  • Given the importance of you finding the right lawyer to protect your driving licence, we have the confidence to provide every client with a first, diagnostic consultation, free of charge.

To give yourself the best chance of the best outcome, get in touch now.


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