With the Christmas period around the corner Prosecco and spirits will be flowing. And many people simply don't understand the impact and affect that driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs can have on you. Chloe Jackson, paralegal at Brabners LLP, breaks down the drink drive offence and provides an overview of the process in our latest blog.
When an individual is convicted of a drink drive offence and is banned from driving for 12 months or more the court may make an order that the disqualification period be reduced if, by a date specified by the court, the individual completes an approved drink-drive rehabilitation course. In law this falls under s 34 A of the Road Traffic Offenders Act (RTOA) 1988. These courses are typically around sixteen hours long and are designed to educate offenders about the dangers of alcohol and to help change their behaviour so that they do not re-offend.
The offences to which s 34 A of the RTOA 1988 applies and for which an offender may be offered a drink-drive rehabilitation course if convicted of are:
(a) Causing death by careless driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
(b) Driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle whilst under the influence of drink or drugs or driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle with excess alcohol in your breath blood or urine;
(c) failing to provide a specimen.
The decision whether to allow an individual to complete a drink-drive rehabilitation course is entirely at the discretion of the court; however they are unable to make the order unless certain factors are satisfied, such as there is a place available on a suitable course, the offender is aged 17 or over, they are aware of the effect of the order and the fees for the course and they agree to the order being made.
The length of the reduction of the disqualification (losing your licence) must not be less than three months and not more than a quarter of the full disqualification period. Alongside this the latest date for the completion of the course must be at least two months prior to the last day of the reduced disqualification period. This means that if an individual is banned for driving for 12 months they have the opportunity to reduce their ban by three months simply by completing a drive-drive rehabilitation course.
An individual must decide in court, if found guilty and offered a course, whether they wish to accept or not; it is not possible to decide whether to accept at a later date. Our advice to our clients is always to, if applicable, request that the Court exercise its’ discretion to offer them the opportunity to complete a drink-drive rehabilitation course as this gives them the opportunity not only to reduce the length of their driving ban but to educate themselves so as to diminish the risk of future re-offending.
So with this is mind, why go through the hassle. Please stay safe this Christmas holiday and make it none for the road.Chloe Jackson, paralegal at Brabners LLP