If you’ve been caught drink driving you will most likely be facing a conviction. This may be a distressing time for you and your family, but having as much information prior to your hearing will help to calm your nerves.
We’ve put together some tips for preparing for your drink driving court case, so that you can go into the courtroom feeling mentally prepared.
Start doing your research ASAP
Once you’ve been caught drink driving, you will be invited to attend a compulsory magistrates court hearing.
This court hearing may take place just a few days after the offence took place, so it’s important that you do some research as soon as possible. If you plead guilty at your hearing, the court will want to hear of any mitigating factors that may affect your case.
Relevant mitigating circumstances include:
- Circumstances relating to how or why the offence occurred.
- The implications that a driving ban will have (i.e. if you drive for a living).
- Any steps you have taken to prevent further offences (i.e. if you have started attending AA meetings).
If you choose to plead not guilty, your case will be adjourned in order for a full trial to take place. This could be anything from a few weeks to a few months after your hearing.
Obtain legal representation
Although it’s by no means compulsory to hire a solicitor to represent you during your hearing and/or court case, we strongly recommend doing so.
Attending your own drink driving court case is most likely going to be a stressful situation, and will only become more stressful if you choose to represent yourself. A solicitor will have had years of experience in dealing with these types of cases, and so will be fully aware of the proceedings and the best angle to take when it comes to your defence.
If you do choose to represent yourself, however, make sure that you do plenty of research, as the court will not make allowances for you if you aren’t prepared.
When attending your court case, make sure you dress smartly.
A full suit and tie and smart shoes is the preferred attire for the courtroom. However, if you don’t own a suit then a pair of smart trousers and a long sleeved shirt will suffice. Avoid wearing jeans, trainers or sportswear.
Don’t be tempted to have a drink beforehand
Going to court can be a distressing and nerve racking experience, and it’s normal to feel anxious beforehand. However, do not be tempted to have a drink just to calm your nerves.
If you show up to court drunk, or with alcohol on your breath, this will harm your case significantly.
Don’t bring young children
Although you may want the support of your whole family, it is unlikely that the court will allow children under 14 into the courtroom, unless they are there to give evidence.
Be prepared for the fact that when you are finally allowed back on the road you may have some difficulties finding car insurance, you will need to seek specialist drink driver insurance.