Can I Argue Laced Drinks For A Drink Driving Charge?
- Are you charged with Drink Driving?
- Did your reading surprise you?
- Do you think you should have been under the limit?
- Do you think the reading was wrong?
- Is there a possibility that you were given additional alcohol that you were not intending to consume?
If you answered yes to all of these questions then you may have a case to ask the courts not to impose the otherwise mandatory disqualification associated with a Drink Driving conviction.
We recently represented a client with such a case in Warwickshire Magistrates Court. He was having a few drinks with friends (bottles of beer decanted into glasses), he was not pouring the drinks himself. It was a Polish beer he was unfamiliar with. He did not realise that his friend, when pouring the drinks, was mixing additional alcohol with the beer. His friend did not realise he was going to be driving later and was simply mixing our client identical drinks to those he was making for himself and their companion. This scenario is a perfect example of laced drinks. There does not need to be a malicious element, it is not the press image of ‘spiking’ someone’s drink – it is being given alcohol you had not asked for and were unaware of consuming, and it is something that happens often.
When putting a laced drinks argument to the court there are a number of elements to be satisfied:
- Were you given alcohol you were unaware of?
- Was it reasonable for you to be unaware of this additional alcohol?
- Should you have known you were unfit to drive even if you hadn’t realised it was due to excess alcohol?
- Would you have been under the limit had it not been for the additional alcohol?
The easiest way to answer the first question is to have the individual who laced the drinks or a witness to that lacing give evidence to the court, though this is not vital. The second and third points will be covered when you give evidence. And to prove the fourth point, one of our forensic experts can provide a report to calculate what your blood alcohol would have been without the additional drink or, in some cases, it can be clear using common sense that the expected alcohol consumption could not have provided such a reading.
Laced Drinks cases are not straight forward and we would always suggest that expert, specialist advice is obtained. There will be at least 2 hearings and prosecution evidence to be interrogated.
If you have been charged with Drink Driving and you believe you may have a laced drinks case then give the Forrest Williams Team a call on 01623 397200 and we will be happy to advise you further on the likelihood of any such application being successful.