Drink, Drugs and the Driver - Offences and Defences

A guide to the law surrounding drink, drugs and driving

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Course Overview

This course, delivered by experienced practitioner and lecturer Colin Beaumont, will offer guidance on how to advise clients in respect of driving, attempting to drive orbeing in charge of a motor vehicle whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

This is an expanding area of law as clients will pay privately for the advice that you provide however, as a result client expectations are very high, so it is absolutely crucial that you get your advice right and that the letters sent to the client make it clear from the outset what the position is.

During this course consideration will be given to the practice and procedural elements at court, as well as evidential issues. The course will also discuss the new offence of driving, attempting to drive or being in charge whilst having drugs in the body above the prescribed limits which came into force on the 2nd of March 2015.

In addition, the course will consider the various defences available in relation to the actual offence of driving, attempting to drive or being in charge and the defences available in relation to a failure to provide a sample in this area. The position of passengers and supervisors will also be dealt with.

This course will consider the following topics in detail:

  • Analysis of the new offence coming into force in March 2015
  • Penalties available to the court by way of sentence
  • Ancillary orders i.e. the imposition of penalty points and disqualifications from driving
  • Special reasons, e.g. shortness of distance driven or laced drinks
  • The burden and standard of proof – legal/persuasive burdens in this area
  • Defendant’s costs orders and private paying clients
  • Committals to the Crown Court for sentence
  • Declaring the issues early and the Criminal Procedure Rules 2014
  • Expert evidence
  • Appeals and requesting ‘suspension’ until the appeal has been heard
  • High Risk Offenders and the return, or non return of driving licences
  • Mixed pleas in this area


What are the requirements?

  • Watch 1 hour recorded webinar
  • This course provides one CPD point.

Learning Outcomes

  • On completion of this course you will:

    • Be aware of the pitfalls which can catch out the unwary
    • Understand the offences, defences, practice and procedure and evidence in this area of law
    • Have considered the Magistrates’ Court sentencing guidelines and, in particular, the threshold for imprisonment
    • Appreciate the position in respect of the passenger and probationary driver
    • Have considered what is meant by ‘driving’, ‘attempting to drive’ or being ‘in charge’ and reviewed case law to this effect
    • Considered case law which defines what is meant by Road’ or other ‘public place’
    • Feel confident when advising clients as to their best course of action
    • Be familiar with the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the evidential presumptions contained within the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988

What is the target audience?

  • This course will be of interest to criminal practitioners of all levels including trainees, legal executives and paralegals. It will also benefit probationary and accredited police station representatives.


About Instructor - Colin Beaumont

Colin Beaumont graduated in law in 1981 and qualified as a Barrister in 1982. He worked for many years in the Magistrates’ Court service until 1996 when he re-qualified as a Solicitor and joined a large criminal legal aid practice. He became a partner with the firm. He retired as a solicitor in 2016 and has returned to his Inn of Court at The Inner Temple. Colin has been teaching the profession for the last 25 years and continues to do so.

Course Curriculum

Drink, Drugs and the Driver - Offences and Defences

  • Webinar
  • Slides
    21 Page


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