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What Is A DR10 Conviction & What Are Your Options
A DR10 conviction refers to when someone is caught driving with excess alcohol under Section 5(1)(A) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Schedule 2 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. This is more commonly known as ‘Drink driving’ and will result in the DR10 offence code being applied to your driving licence record if charged with the offence.
A DR10 conviction refers to an offence of driving with excess alcohol under Section 5(1)(A) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Schedule 2 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. This is more commonly known as the offence of drink driving. DR10 is the code which appears on a DVLA driving licence check as a result of drink driving.
This code will appear on your driving licence if you have been convicted of an offence of drunk driving. This code will not appear if you have been charged with an alleged offence of drink driving and currently have ongoing proceedings with the Magistrates Court. This is to uphold the presumption of innocence.
Drink driving law is a vast area of motoring law and ranges from factual issues such as simply I was not driving to procedural issues such as whether the statutory warning was given. Due to the wide array of issues which this offence can give rise to, it is exceptionally important that you identify the right issues as well as achieve the objective which is most important to you. Whether that be accepting guilt and seeking to obtain the minimum sentence or raising a defence because you were not driving.
If you have been charged with the alleged offence of driving with excess alcohol or are concerned about the implications of having a DR10 conviction on your driving record, the team at Caddick Davies Solicitors can help.
We are a motoring law specialist firm whose solicitors can give honest advice and guidance to help you to secure the most successful outcome possible when facing driving charges as well as identity and successfully argue your defence. As we only deal with motoring law cases day in and day out, if you have a defence, we will find it.
The legal limit of alcohol that can be detected when driving in England and Wales varies by the type of test that is being carried out.
Upon being charged by the police you will be released with a charge sheet with a court date stating the date, time and court in which you are bailed to appear before. This is to enter a plea. This will usually be about 3 – 4 weeks following the initial charging.
You are then faced with a very daunting decision which will have a significant impact on your life. Understandably, this is an exceptionally stressful time, and you must obtain correct and informative legal advice which provides you with your options.
Unfortunately, you cannot ignore this date and hope that this will go away as you are bailed to attend court which will mean that if you do not attend then a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
When entering a plea, you will be faced with two options, pleading guilty or not guilty.
Faced with this decision you may be wondering whether there are circumstances in which you can challenge an alleged offence of drink driving.
There are several issues which may give rise to a defence in law, and these fall into the categories of ‘Factual Defence’, ‘Technical Defence’ and ‘Procedural Defence’.
The following are all examples of factual defences that could be applied to a drink driving charge.
The following are all examples of technical defences that could be applied to a drink driving charge.
The Defendant’s recollected consumption of alcohol does not correlate with the breath reading
You may feel that the reading that was detected was higher than you expected and does not correlate with how much you have had to drink as per the principle set by Cracknell v Willis .
An independent expert would be instructed to comment on your recollected breath consumption compared to the reading provided and to the potential reasoning for the difference. If the report is positive, then this places doubt on the prosecution’s case as this infers that the machine is unreliable or faulty.
For the prosecution to be successful they must prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. If doubt can be established, then this calls into question their case.
Post alcohol consumption
If you are not stopped by the police whilst driving, it may be that between the time of your driving and providing an evidential specimen, you have consumed alcohol.
If this is the case, then it can be argued that had it not been for your post-driving consumption then your evidential specimen would have not exceeded the legally prescribed limit at the time of driving.
To argue this defence an independent expert will need to provide a “back calculation” report, which will provide evidence of what your specimen would have been at the time of driving.
If it is proven on the balance of probabilities that it is your post-driving consumption that has caused you to exceed the specified limit, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.
The following are all examples of procedural defences that could be applied to a drink driving charge.
The statutory warning was not provided
You may be wondering what is the statutory warning. When stopped by the police under the suspicion of driving with excess alcohol then they are required to warn you of the following:
“I require you to provide two specimens of breath for analysis by means of an approved device. The specimen with the lower proportion of alcohol may be used as evidence and the other will be disregarded. I warn you that failure to provide either of these specimens will render you liable to prosecution.” “Do you agree to provide two specimens of breath for analysis ?”
How important is this warning? In Simpson v Spalding, Lord Justice Ralph Gibson said, “I can see no escape from the conclusion that a failure to warn… causes the requirement made without that warning to be ineffective.” If the statutory warning is not provided, then this gives rise to an automatic defence which will secure an acquittal.
You may be wondering how can I prove that this warning was not given? Well, once this issue is raised the prosecution is required to prove that the statutory warning was given and so the burden is not placed upon you.
Taking urine samples
Two specimens of urine must be taken within one hour of one another. If however, there is insufficient time between specimens or one specimen is split into two, this specimen will not be admissible and you will be acquitted of the offence.
Taking blood samples
A blood sample must be taken by a medical practitioner and consent must be given to them for the specimen to be taken. If either of these things is not provided or requested, then the specimen will be inadmissible which will result in your acquittal.
If you have been charged with an alleged offence of drink driving, and subsequently found to be guilty, the table below provides the guidelines and starting position that the magistrates will consider when imposing a sentence. In all cases where a driver is convicted of drink driving, a mandatory disqualification of a minimum of 12 months will be imposed.
|Starting point||Range||Disqualification||Disqualification if second offence within 10 years.|
|120 – 150 and above||276 – 345 and above||367 – 459 and above||12 weeks custody.||High level community order – 26 weeks’ custody.||29 – 36 months (Extend if imposing immediate custody)||36 – 60 months.|
|90 – 119||207 – 275||275 – 366||Medium level community order||Low level community order – High level community order.||23 – 28 months.||36 – 52 months.|
|60 – 89||138 – 206||184 – 274||Band C fine.||Band C Fine – Low level community order.||17 – 22 months.||36 – 46 months.|
|36 – 59||81 – 137||108 – 183||Band C fine.||Band B Fine – Band C fine.||12 – 16 months.||36 – 40 months.|
At Caddick Davies Solicitors we understand how important holding a driver’s licence is and the implications should you lose it e.g. loss of employment and ability to support your family.
If you wish to plead guilty to an alleged offence of drink driving or have been convicted then we will help prepare your case and present mitigation to the court in view of obtaining the minimum sentence possible as well as obtaining a ‘drink drive awareness course’.
This course aims to stop you from drink-driving again. They are face-to-face, take place over 16 hours (usually run on 3 days spread over 3 weeks), and will have other drink-drive offenders at them. Once completed you’ll get a ‘certificate of course completion’ from the course provider and if completed in the required time frame by the court, then the disqualification will be reduced by 25 %.
If you received the minimum disqualification of 12 months, then if the course is completed this will be reduced by 3 months and as a result the disqualification served will be 9 months as opposed to 12 months.
Where a community order/custody sentence is being considered then a meeting with probation will be arranged to ascertain the correct sentence. The probation team will then draft a report on their recommendations for the sentence which the Magistrates’ will take into consideration.
There are circumstances where a person will enter a guilty plea to drink driving and thereafter not be imposed with a disqualification from driving.
Examples of special reasons which can be argued before the court are as follows:
Special reasons are extenuating circumstances which would not give rise to a defence hence the guilty plea entered. Special reasons take into consideration moral culpability and look at the reasoning behind your actions.
If you have been found guilty before the Magistrates’ Court of drink driving, then you have the right to appeal within 21 days. If outside of these 21 days then an explanation will need to be provided to the court as to why this appeal is late. The Crown court will consider this and then decide whether they will allow an appeal to be heard.
It may be that you were unrepresented at the Magistrates’ Court or came up against a difficult bench, appealing this to the Crown Court is complete re–hearing and would allow your case to be heard again.
If you have pleaded guilty before the Magistrates’ Court for an alleged offence of drink driving, then you will be unable to appeal.
If you have been charged with an offence of drink driving or have a conviction for drink driving, then a DR10 code will show on a licence check for 11 years. The conviction will be classed as spent following this period. This could be particularly concerning if you need to submit a driving check with an employer or have insurance concerns.
If you have been charged with a further offence of driving with excess alcohol, then this will only be relevant when considering sentencing if you have been charged with the further offence within 5 years of the first offence of driving with excess alcohol. The conviction will be classed as spent following this time period.
If you have been convicted of a further offence of driving with excess alcohol within this time frame, then this will result in a harsher sentence than the initial offence of driving with excess alcohol.
The sentencing guidelines provide that if convicted of a further offence of driving with excess alcohol within 10 years then this will result in a minimum driving disqualification of 36 months with the maximum being 60 months depending upon the reading.
If charged with a further offence of drink driving, then this also significantly increases the risk of a custodial sentence.
A DR10 conviction covers the offence of drink driving and if convicted, DR10 is the code that would appear on your driving licence for a period of up to 11 years. If you are facing DR10 allegations or charges, there are a wide range of factors to take into consideration when entering your plea.
At Caddick Davies Solicitors, we have a team of specialist motor defence lawyers that specialise in representing motorists charged with drink driving. From the simplest to the most complex of cases, we are here to help. We start every enquiry with an informal discussion to get a clear understanding of your circumstances and are here to answer any questions that you may have in confidence.
Our leading team of motoring offence solicitors at Caddick Davies have a reputation for success when it comes to defending motorists charged with driving offences. We work with clients all over the UK and are rated in the top 20 law firms on TrustPilot.
For efficient and effective legal advice for motoring offences, please get in touch to discuss your case with our friendly team today.
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