What Happens after I Have Been Charged with Drink Driving?
Finding out that you have been charged with drink driving can be a stressful and frightening experience, made more difficult by uncertainty about what happens next.
At Richard Silver Solicitors, our expert drink driving defence solicitors have over 25 years’ experience in handling cases like these and can explain the process to you clearly and directly, as well as advise you on how to achieve the best outcome. Contact us today to find out how we can assist with your case.
Release on bail
After you have been charged with drink driving, you will normally be released on bail until you are required to attend court. You will be issued with a charge sheet setting out the details of the offence by the police if you are charged in a police station. Our expert solicitors can help explain what the charge means to you and advise you on the next steps, as well as help you gather forceful evidence for your defence. Even if you intend to plead guilty, our solicitors can advise you on any mitigating factors which may apply to your case and help you to put forward your side of the story in a way that can help lessen your penalty.
Going to court
Going to court can be a stressful experience, which is why having an experienced and empathetic lawyer, such as those at Richard Silver Solicitors, can really help. In court, you will be asked to confirm your name and address and asked whether you plead guilty or not guilty.
If you plead guilty, the prosecution will then set out their case against you, including any evidence that has been gathered, such as witness statements. When they have finished, it will be the turn of the defence (you and/or your solicitor) to state your version of what happened, why and put forward any mitigating circumstances. Since you have already pleaded guilty, there will not be a trial, and the next step will be sentencing, which usually happens the same day. How well your defence is constructed can have a considerable impact on the severity of any penalty you receive, so hiring an expert motor offence solicitor can make all the difference.
Pleading not guilty
If you plead not guilty, the case will be adjourned for trial, which means you will have to come back to court at a later date. This gives both sides time to prepare their arguments and the evidence they will be putting forward, for instance by asking expert witnesses to come to court.
If you have pleaded not guilty, there will be a trial. The general structure of a trial is this:
- The prosecution summarises the case against you.
- The prosecution calls their witnesses, who give statements about what they saw or experienced.
- The defence has the opportunity to question these witnesses about their account of events.
- The defence summarises your side of the case.
- The defence calls their witnesses, who give statements about what they saw or experienced. You (the accused) will usually be the first witness called.
- The prosecution has the opportunity to question these witnesses about their account of events.
- The defence gives a closing speech summarising your defence.
- The judges leave to consider their verdict.
If you are found not guilty, the case ends there and you will receive no penalty. If you are found guilty, whether because you plead guilty or were found guilty by the court after a trial, the next step is sentencing.
The sentence you receive will depend on both the offence of which you have been found guilty (naturally, more serious offences attract more serious sentences) and the individual circumstances of your case, such as the presence of any mitigating factors. There is a general practice of giving similar sentences in similar cases, so an experienced road traffic law solicitor like Richard Silver Solicitors will be able to advise you about what outcomes are possible in your specific case.Properly presented mitigation can make a huge difference to the outcome of your case.
If you do not agree with the verdict and/or the sentence you receive, you can appeal against it. This means that the reasons you do not agree with the result in the first court will be presented to a second court, which will then decide to alter the outcome of the case or send it for retrial if they agree with your arguments. An appeal is not like a second trial, and there are complicated legal rules about seeking permission to appeal. Richard Silver’s drink driving lawyers are qualified to represent you in all levels of the court system, so we will be able to draw on our extensive experience to support you in any appeal case.
Serving your sentence
If you have been given a sentence, the next step is to serve it. You can receive any number of penalties including:
- A custodial (prison) sentence
- A suspended sentence, which you do not have to serve as long as you meet certain conditions for a specified period of time (if you do break these conditions, you will then have to serve the custodial sentence)
- A fine
- Penalty points
- A driving disqualification
Any of these penalties can also carry indirect consequences, such as an impact on your ability to earn a living or help family members. Talk to Richard Silver Solicitors if you are worried about this and our empathetic, highly knowledgeable staff will be able to explain these potential consequences to you and advise on how their likelihood can be minimised.
Contact our Drink Driving Solicitors Manchester, UK
Richard Silver Solicitors is based in Manchester and represents clients throughout the UK. We know criminal prosecution can be very frightening and uncertain, so we aim to keep matters as certain for you as possible with practical and reliable advice on drink driving law and transparent fee information. To find out more about what we can do for you, contact our team on 0808 302 8114 or use our online contact form.