Client successfully challenges allegations of driving under excess alcohol

Posted by Barry Culshaw on
Blake Morgan's Driver defence team was consulted by a client who faced alternative counts of being in charge of a motor vehicle with excess alcohol and driving the vehicle with excess alcohol.

The prosecution case was brought by Hampshire Constabulary. Initial hearings were in the Portsmouth Magistrates' Court but the matter ultimately came before the Fareham Magistrates' Court for trial.

Our client was found slumped over the steering wheel of a motor car by police in the early hours of the morning. The car was parked in a car park which was clearly signed as being "private". Despite this our client was arrested and subsequently provided two specimens of breath in the Intoximeter device both of which recorded 92 mg/100 mls in breath. As our client maintained that the car park in question was private and was not a public place then we advised him to plead not guilty to both counts.

At the trial Crown Prosecution Service decided to offer no evidence on the "driving" count but proceeded on the "in charge" count. At the close of the prosecution case a submission of no case to answer was upheld on the basis that the Crown had failed to lead any evidence of public use of the car park. In such circumstances it is incumbent upon the Crown to prove to the usual criminal standard beyond a reasonable doubt that the public did use the car park. In dismissing the case against the client the court granted a defence costs order in the client's favour payable out of court central funds.

The case was conducted throughout by Barry Culshaw a consultant specialising in road traffic law with Blake Morgan's Driver defence team. Barry commented with regard to the outcome of this case: "Case law has established that in a case of this nature it is incumbent on the Crown to prove to the usual criminal law standard that the public at the material time had access to the road or place and not just a special class of member of the public. Furthermore, the Crown has to establish that such public use was expressly or impliedly allowed or not achieved by overcoming physical obstruction or defying express or implied prohibition."

Our client was vindicated in his decision to proceed with not guilty pleas. As our client was a vocational driver he would have lost his employment had he been convicted and sentenced to a period of disqualification."

About the Author

Barry Specialises in road transport law within our Driver Defence team. He represents clients facing allegations of careless/dangerous driving, driving with excess alcohol and speeding.

Barry Culshaw
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023 8085 7209

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