Who Is A Drink Driver?



Katie Forrest of Forrest Williams

Katie Forrest of Forrest Williams

Who is a Drink Driver?


Last week I was contacted by a very respected, intelligent, professional who was charged with Drink Driving and due to appear in Mansfield Magistrates Court. He was ashamed.  He’s a clever guy and was disgusted at what he had done – in his eyes he saw it as he “has a PhD but was stupid enough to do this”.  Filled with remorse, he didn’t want to fight the charge – he just wanted support through it.


He needed reassuring that he was not alone.


My client had a reading of almost 3 times the legal limit, and he does not know how he came to be in his car – drinking that much and driving had never been his intention – he’d only gone for a drink with a friend. He was not excusing it though; he just needed someone with experience to guide him though the upcoming court case. We worked with him to prepare his case for mitigation – he understood that community service was an option and we talked him through this – we’ve even followed up with him since the hearing to see how he is getting on.


Drink Driving is a very emotive subject – for most people it’s a very clear cut and wrong thing to do – and they often have preconceived ideas about the ‘type’ of people who would commit such a “heinous crime” – so when they find themselves charged with this same offence it can really knock them. We understand that for many people it was a misjudgement, a mistake and that what they need is the support to come to terms with the events which led to their being in this situation.


Let me be very clear about this, there is no one type of “Drink Driver”. Everyone has their own story, their own circumstances. We know this and we know how important it is that your story be heard. In the past few months I have had calls from a primary school teacher, a university professor, a charity worker, a serving soldier, a plumber, an accountant, a stay at home mum, a salesman – the only thing connecting them was a charge and a deep sense of remorse for their actions. None had deliberately set out at the start of the night to commit an offence and some were even caught the day after.


We do not have a ‘one size fits all’ service – we know that each client has different needs. If you are charged with an offence and you want open, honest advice from a firm who will actually listen to you and build your case with you then give the Forrest Williams Team a call on 01623 600645. 




Minimum Ban For Drink Driving Client



Helen Newman of Forrest Williams

Helen Newman of Forrest Williams

A Firm That Listens To You
by Helen Newman


I recently had a client charged with Drink Driving appearing in St Albans Magistrates Court. She was guilty of the offence, she fully accepted that she had been out drinking and had taken the decision to get in her car and drive home. Based on her reading a disqualification of 17-22 months was expected as that is what the sentencing guidelines suggest.


Except that wasn’t the full story. Yes she drove, but she drove to get away from unwanted attention, to get away from a guy that was not only following her but had climbed into her car uninvited and who she had to trick to get  back out the vehicle.


This client may have had a defence, she definitely had grounds to consider a Special Reasons application not to disqualify her – but she didn’t want to go down either of these routes. So instead we worked with her to build a case for mitigation and persuaded the courts to deviate from the sentencing guidelines and only impose the minimum tariff the law allows – 12 months which they then further reduced to 9 should she complete the Drink Driving Rehabilitation course, giving her the absolute lowest ban possible for any drink driving conviction.


We pride ourselves on our client care at Forrest Williams – to us every client should feel like they matter because they truly do! We have a hand picked selection of Barristers we use regularly who, like us, know and believe that every client deserves to have their story told. In this case once the Magistrates had passed sentence our Barrister challenged the Bench on something they said and then got them to reduce the sentence down further!


A FANTASTIC result for our client!


Now compare this with a call I had from an enquiry who had been promised by another firm that they would get her off her Drink Driving charge – they were 100% confident… they have a 94% success rate at trial… they can make sure she is not convicted of the offence – but when I asked her how they were going to do this she told me about a procedural error the police had made which meant the case would be dropped. Except the other firm hadn’t told her that the law on that point changed a few weeks ago and her case came after the change, so it was not a defence.


We do not make promises we cannot keep. We will not give you a success rate based upon a %. What we will do is advise you openly and honestly about your options. We do have a good success rate, but in large part because we do not suggest clients pursue cases unless we truly believe they have a good chance of success.


If you want your case handled by a firm who pride themselves on client care, who will listen to you, your needs and your views, understanding that it is your case and your life, then give the Forrest Williams team a call on 01623 600645.



Second Time Drink Driving With Breath Reading of 102mg Escapes Prison


In Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court this week, Ben Wrigley told Steve Williams, Senior Partner of law firm Forrest Williams, that he was extremely relieved to have avoided the custodial sentence he had been dreading.


For Ben, the experience was a painful reminder of a similar occasion four years ago when he had first been disqualified for a drink driving offence. At that time, he had resolved never to come before the magistrates again. But, during a period of crisis in his life he had make the fateful decision to drive after drinking and the police had pulled him over as he was making his way home.


With a third category breath-alcohol reading of 102mg, and a previous recent conviction for the same offence, Ben realised that he was facing more than a long disqualification period (at least 36 months) and a financial penalty.


Forrest Williams had made him aware that, however genuine his mitigating factors, he still faced the possibility of prison.


However, Steve Williams made the court aware of the personal factors which had resulted in Ben’s error of judgement, and also the fact that he had finally accepted he needed support with his misuse of alcohol.


The court was therefore minded to impose a disqualification of 40 months, with the offer of the drink drive rehabilitation course, which – on completion – will reduce Ben’s disqualification period by 25%.


It is hoped that, with professional support, Ben will now be able to take the steps needed to ensure he keeps his earlier promise of never appearing before the magistrates again.


If you have been charged with a drink driving offence, get the experts on your side by calling Forrest Williams now on 01623 600645.



Drink Driving Accidents and Casualties


Estimated number of reported drink driving accidents and casualties, by month (Great Britain, 2005/09 average, 2011 and 2012).


These Department for Transport statistics summarise the estimated number of reported drink driving accidents and casualties for three time periods: 2005/09 (average), 2011 and 2012, with a monthly breakdown from January to December and a yearly total for each period.


What is initially interesting about these figures is that after the initial 2005/09 total figures for accidents (9,080) and casualties (13,760), there is a noticeable decrease in 2011 for both accidents (6,690) and casualties (9,930), followed by very little/no change in 2012, with a decrease of just 60 for accidents (to 6,630) and no change for casualties (remaining constant at 9,930).


If there is a relationship between the number of drink drive accidents/casualties and the time of year, then this is not reflected in these official statistics. For example, the highest number of accidents (830) and casualties (1,260) were reported in May of the 2005/09 average period.


However, the figures for 2011 indicate that the highest numbers of accidents (600) occurred in three months: July, October and December, with the highest number of casualties (920) being reported in July.


In 2012, the highest number of reported accidents had fallen (to 590), with the highest number of casualties dropping also (to 900, for the months of March and October).


When considering the lowest figures, there would appear to be more consistency in the data. A pattern can be identified in that February was the month in which the lowest numbers of accidents and casualties were reported for almost every time period. The figures for accidents fell, and then rose slightly, as follows: 690 (2005/09 average), 480 (2011) and 500 (2012).


The figures for casualties for the month of February also fell, and then rose slightly, as follows: 1010 (2005/09 average), 680 (2011) and 760 (2012).


Why the figures for accidents and casualties should be lower for the month of February, in these statistics ranging from 2005 to 2012, is impossible to explain. No qualitative data is presented with this table. It would be interesting, however, to capture and analyse further data across wider time periods (ie pre-2005 and post-2012) to see if the patterns remains constant.    


If you have been charged with a drink driving offence, call our expert team now for honest advice on 01623 600645.



Reported Road Accidents Involving Drink Drivers



Estimated number of reported road accidents involving a car drink driver, by driver age, accidents by licence holder and per mile driven (Great Britain, 2005-2009 average and 2012).


In these Department for Transport statistics, the focus is solely on reported road accidents involving car drivers who were over the drink-driving legal limit. Two time periods are used for comparison: the average from the years 2005-2009 and the figures from 2012. These figures are presented in nine age categories, starting with those under 17 years of age and ending with those aged 60 years or over.


The total for all age categories for the 2005-2009 period was 8,170 car drink drivers, whereas this number had fallen to 5,920 in 2012.


The highest number of car drink drivers for both the 2005-2009 period and 2012 was the 20-24 years age group whilst – understandably – the lowest for both periods was the under 17 years age group.


Interestingly, the second highest number of car drink drivers for both periods was the 25-29 years age group, which means that the highest concentration of car drink drivers is in those aged 20-29 years.


Whilst the trend was for the numbers of car drink drivers to reduce between the first and second time period, in just one case this did not happen. For those in the 60 or over age group, the number actually increased from 300 to 310.


The number of reported road accidents involving a car drink driver, per licence holder, fell from 22 in the 2005-2009 period to 15 in 2012. The decrease was constant across all age groups.


Similarly, the number of reported road accidents involving a car drink driver, per mile driven, fell from 33 in the 2005-2009 period to 24 in 2012. Again, the decrease was constant across all age groups.


So, in summary, the trend illustrated by these official statistics was a falling number of reported road accidents involving a car drink driver – however these figures are presented (ie by driver age, accidents per licence holder or per mile driven). That the only increase is in those car drink drivers aged 60 or over may be worthy of further investigation, but it is interesting to speculate why this should be the case.


If you have been charged with a drink driving offence, get the experts on your side by calling our team of drink drive solicitors on 01623 600645.




Death by Drink Driving: Fatality Blood Alcohol Levels

Blood alcohol levels of reported fatalities aged 16 and over (Great Britain, 2012)


In these Department for Transport statistics, total fatalities include car and other vehicle drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists and also passengers and pedestrians.


Interestingly, the highest number of reported fatalities where blood alcohol level was above the legal limit was for pedestrians – 137 out of a sample size of 158 people. This figure was much greater than the second highest category, which numbered 77 car drivers out of a sample size of 329 people.


The figures for the reported fatalities who tested below the legal limit were higher for motorcycle riders, other vehicle drivers/riders and passengers, although in each case the difference between those under and over the limit is not great (not more than 9 people – passenger category).


However, for the reported fatalities who tested above the legal limit, car drivers, pedestrians and cyclists showed the strongest tendency towards the higher figures, with the differences between those under and over the limit being much higher (up to 47 people – pedestrian category).


The data in these statistics is also presented in the forms of percentages of reported fatalities (over the limit) by time of accident (22:00 – 3:59 and 04:00 – 21:59). This breakdown shows that the highest figures were, in every case, for those fatalities which occurred between the hours of 22:00 and 03:39. Fatalities were therefore less likely to have occurred between the hours of 04:00 and 21:59.


As with all statistics, caution needs to be taken when interpreting figures, especially those for small sample sizes. A note at the foot of this table indicates that the groups for ‘other’ and ‘cyclists’- together with possible bias – means that these results are less robust than for other groups.    


If you have been charged with drink driving or have caused death by drink driving, get the experts on your side now by calling our expert team of drink drive solicitors on 01623 600645.


Young Drink Drivers Over The Limit Killed


Young drivers and riders (17-24 years old) over the legal alcohol limit killed or seriously injured in reported accidents (Department for Transport, GB, 2001-2012)


During the 12 years during which these statistics were collated by the Department for Transport, the trend has been a decreasing number of young drink drivers and riders over the legal alcohol limit who were killed or seriously injured in reported accidents.


For example, the number of young drivers/riders who were killed or seriously injured fell from 390 in 2001 to 200 in 2012.


The number of casualties who were passengers of young drivers over the limit also dropped – from 410 in 2001 to 130 in 2012.


For other casualties, there were 190 in 2001, a number which fell to 60 in 2012.


Although not all figures for each category dropped consistently over the 12 year period, this did happen for the number of other casualties, which reduced year on year.


The number of casualties who were passengers of young drivers over the limit initially rose over two years, from 410 in 2001 to 460 in 2003, then reduced in a fairly consistent way until 2012, when the figure was 60 – the lowest figure of all those presented in this table.


That the figures for all casualty types has decreased significantly over the 12 year period is very good news. For two out of three of the categories (casualties who were passengers and other casualties), this decrease is just over 68%.


So, although we may see the road as an increasingly dangerous place for young drivers and riders (and their passengers), these particular statistics would suggest that in fact the reverse is true – it is actually becoming safer and safer as time goes by.


If you or a loved one is facing a drink driving charge, get the experts on your side now by calling us on 01623 600645.  We are specialist drink drive solicitors who can prepare your case and represent you at court for a fixed fee.



Drink Driving: Killed Drivers By Blood Alcohol Levels

Killed drivers/riders resulting from reported accidents, by blood alcohol content category and age (Department for Transport, GB, 2012)


These statistics indicate that of those drivers/riders who were killed as a result of reported accidents, 18% were over the legal blood alcohol limit, and, of these, 11% were over twice over the legal limit.


In 8% of those people killed, alcohol was present but not over the legal limit (ie 10-80mg).


The good news is that these statistics report the fact that in 74% of those killed, no alcohol (ie 0-9mg) was present.


The figures for deaths by reported accidents in Great Britain in 2012 total 568, which is made up of 479 male and 89 female victims.


The age range in which there were the highest number of deaths is in the 60+ group, which numbered a total of 100 people. The lowest incidence of deaths was in the 35-39 age group, which numbered 45 people.


The highest figures for those who were twice over the legal limit (161mg+) were in the adjoining 25-29 and 30-34 age groups (13 and 14 people respectively).


These higher figures are mirrored in the category of deaths where drivers/riders were over the legal limit (81mg+) – 21 and 19 people respectively.


The highest figures for alcohol being present, but not over the legal limit (10-80mg) are for the 50-59 age group, which numbers 10 people.


Of all the categories, the highest figures of all appear within the ‘no alcohol present’ (0-9mg) data, which numbers 421 deaths in total. Of these, 345 are male and 76 are female.


In summary, those killed as a result of road accidents are, according to the Department for Transport statistics, over 5 times more likely to be male. In addition, they are more likely to be over 60+ years of age, and to have had no alcohol present (0-9mg) in their blood when killed.


If you have been charged with drink driving, get the experts on your side now by calling Forrest Williams on 01623 600645.




Drink Driving Death Statistics: 1979-2012

Drivers and riders killed – percentage over the legal blood alcohol limit (Department for Transport, Great Britain, 1979-2012).


Statistics released by the Department for Transport are presented by age, type of vehicle driven/ridden and the year for which data is made available.


From these most emotive of statistics, it is somewhat heartening to report that the total number of fatalities who tested over the legal blood alcohol limit has fallen from 32% (in 1979) to 18% (in 2012).


The sharpest drop is that of motorcycle riders, which saw a fall from 31% to 6% over the 33 year period in question.


The reduction for the deaths of car and other motor vehicle drivers was less pronounced, falling from 32% to 24%.


Whether the person killed was driving a car/other vehicle, or riding a motorcycle, the highest concentration of deaths is to be found in the 20-29 years and 30-39 years age groups.


Interestingly, the figures for deaths in the 16-19 years age group, for drivers of cars/other vehicles, is almost always higher (on just one occasion equal to, and never less than) the figures for deaths in the 40+ years age group.


As these official statistics focus on the percentage of motorists killed who were over the legal blood alcohol limit, the figures have to be reversed in order to identify how many were under the legal limit.


For example, the most recent data, for 2012, indicates that 94% of motorcycle riders and 82% of car/other vehicle drivers would have been under the legal limit at the time of their deaths.


These up-to-date figures are much more positive than the figures for 1979, which indicate that 69% of motorcycle riders and 68% of car/other vehicle drivers would have been under the legal limit when they were killed.


If you are being charged with drink driving or any other motoring offence, it is vital that you seek expert legal advice immediately.  Our specialist team are here to help.  Get the experts on your side on 01623 600645.



Drink Drive Casualties – Statistics For 2013

Estimated number of drink drive casualties by casualty type, Great Britain, 2013


The Department for Transport statistics relating to drink drive casualties are broken down by age, gender, pedestrian/type of vehicle ridden or driven and whether casualty was killed/seriously injured or suffered less serious injuries.


From a total of all casualties (9,930), most of these (5,630) were in the 25-59 years category, whereas the lowest number (390) were in the 0-15 years category. However, the number of older casualties (60+ years) was also quite low, at 590. There were 3,230 casualties in the 16-24 years category, which is closest to the number of casualties aged 25-59 years. However, when comparing these figures it should be noted that the groupings are not of equal age bands, with the 25-59 years category spanning 34 years, which is much greater than for any other category.


Of those people who were killed or seriously injured, 1,070 were male and 360 were female. Most of these (360) were car drivers who were found to be over the legal limit (590), with the second highest figure being for car passengers (360). Those drivers found to be under the legal limit (120) come next, with the remaining figures being for pedestrians (80), other (60) and motorcyclists (30).


The good news is that there were no cyclists killed or seriously injured through drink driving in Great Britain in 2013, according to these statistics.


Another positive way to interpret these statistics is that out of the total of 9,930 casualties reported, only 1,430 people were killed or seriously injured.


That this number could – and should – be lower is self-evident and something that we should all be working towards. 


Forrest Williams are specialist drink driving solicitors.  Our dedicated team are on your side.  If you are charged with a drink driving offence, contact us now for expert legal advice on 01623 600645.