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Is there any way to get out of a drink driving ban?

Updated: Dec 10, 2023


how to get off a drink driving ban? 3 police officer investigating a scene
Is there any way to get out of a drink driving ban?


IF YOU'RE convicted?

No.

If you’re convicted, you will be disqualified. That’s because you have to be.

That begs an obvious question.


Why does a judge have to disqualify you?

Couldn’t they just decide not to?

Afraid not.


The role of a judge is to apply the law, not make it up.

If you’re convicted the law orders that you be disqualified.

You may privately disagree with this but that is the law.


As we discussed earlier, the job of a judge is to apply the law.

Apply the law, not create, massage or ignore it.

Apply it.


When losing isn’t an option
it tends to focus the mind.
Specifically on the evidence.
Generally, the longer you look at
something the clearer the picture becomes.

A judge has to enforce what the law says.

They may personally feel very sorry for you.

They may feel that your circumstances are very unfortunate, that this will bring terrible hardship or that you were simply unlucky.


They may feel all of these things, but if they decide that the State has proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt you will be convicted.


If this happens you will be disqualified.

Disqualification always follows conviction.


Always.

For how long?

It depends on the level of alcohol in your blood, breath or urine.

The higher the level of alcohol, the higher the disqualification period.


DISQUALIFICATION PERIODS RANGE from 3 months to 4 years.

If you’re in the 2-year disqualification band and you’re convicted, you’ll be disqualified for two years, not three years or one year.


If you’re in the 3-year disqualification band and if you’re convicted, you’ll be disqualified for 3 years, not 2 years or 4 years.


If you're convicted a judge will ask your lawyer about your circumstances e.g., whether you’re married, have children, what your job is etc.

The judge is doing this partly because they want to know something about the person they’re about to disqualify and partly because they want to assess how much of a fine they’ll impose.


If you’re income is low, they’ll keep the fine generally low. They’ll allow you between (on average) 3 months and 12 months to pay it.

Fines can range from about €400 to €2,500.


Generally, on a first offence the fine is about €500 on average.

But this is an irrelevancy in most people's eyes.

Disqualification is the major threat.


What to do?

Well, the obvious trick is not be convicted.

Easier said than done.

But there are things that your lawyer will do.


They’ll examine the evidence and prepare to defend, fight or argue the case sufficiently to win.

They’ll use precedent and case law to help do this.


This is easy to say, harder in practice to accomplish.

Why?

Because the Gardai are very well educated in drink driving law.

It certainly took up a lot of my time when I was in the Garda College in 1997/’98.

Not much has changed since.


They spend a lot of time on drink driving law and some Garda prosecutors around the country know as much about drink driving law as any criminal lawyer.

Some, a lot more.

So, the challenge is real and it is tough.


Tough but not impossible.


Disqualification always follows conviction.
Always.


AS ANY PRAGMATIC GARDA Inspector will tell you (privately) these cases can be dismissed for any number of reasons.


When losing isn’t an option -because you know what the result will be- it tends to focus the mind.

Specifically on the evidence.

Generally, the longer you look at something the clearer the picture becomes.

The same sometimes applies to evidence.


Cases are always hard but sometimes the answer is staring at you from the pages of the evidence you’ve been provided.







IN THE MOVIE Shawshank Redemption warden Samuel Norton hands prisoner Andy Dufresne a bible and tells him “salvation lies within”.


In real life this isn’t always the case.

But sometimes it is.



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