Thursday, 15 February 2007

A bit special

I had a trip to a nearby Magistrates Court today to represent a woman charged with drink-driving. "Wow, how thrilling!" I hear you thinking, and I accept it wasn't the most exciting case I'd ever had. She pleaded guilty but advanced a special reasons argument. When somebody is convicted of drink-driving, disqualification for at least a year is obligatory unless there are special reasons, in which case the magistrates can impose a very short ban or 10 penalty points instead. Special reasons are typically found in cases where people have driven as a result of an emergency and/or driven a very short distance in circumstances where nobody was put at risk. In this case the defendant was seen by police reversing out of her own driveway and maintained she never intended to drive any further than than. Happily, she was believed and the magistrates found that there were special reasons not to disqualify for the standard period. Instead, she was banned for 7 days. "Yes, yes, but what's the point of this story? And what is the legal beagle doing fighting traffic cases in the Mags in the first place?" the reader may ask. Well, to answer the second question, in these hard times I'm not too proud to do a bit of Mags work (especially if, like this, it was privately paying!) and in answer to the first, my client was very grateful for all I'd done for her. This might not seem like much but other lawyers will know that most of the time clients show, and doubtless feel, no gratitude for (or even recognition of) all the hard work that has been done on their behalf. So when a client recognises that they've had a good result and says "thank you" for your efforts, it gives you a lovely warm feeling inside.

1 comment:

Paracelsus said...

As an expert witness who has done a fair number of Drink and drug driving cases, assisting the court at the request of both prosecution & defence, I can confirm that they can be fascinating, amazing issues of both science & law can come up and one can even occasionally get a not guilty verdict.