You do not have to give evidence against yourself
The starting point is to look at the historic legal context. The basic position in our law is that you do not have to give evidence against yourself. This “judge-made” law has, however, been overtaken by an Act of parliament (the Road Traffic Act 1988). This Act forces a suspect to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine, depending upon what the police require: if you fail to provide then you will be prosecuted for just that, “failing to provide an evidential sample”. However, if the police make a serious mistake then, depending upon the nature of that mistake, that should result in either “discontinuance” by the prosecution or an acquittal before the court. This is one line of attack upon the prosecution case: there are many more depending upon the circumstances of the case. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX7lj6z7d3I
It follows that your lawyer MUST obtain as much of the prosecution evidence as possible, before you enter the court room, on your first appearance, to give your plea. It is only by examining the witness statements made by the police, the DVD of the recording of the breath test procedure, that your lawyer will have any idea about the strength of the case you face. That, however, is just the start. Your lawyer will also need to see the police form MG DD/A, your Custody Record, the witness statement’s of other witnesses (possibly civilians), the initial police reports, any record of interview with you under caution, etc.
If you plead not guilty then he/she will need to see the schedule of unused material, any initial crime reports, details of previous convictions recorded against prosecution witnesses, etc. In short your lawyer will need to keep on badgering the prosecution for all of the material they hold in the case. He or she may need to make direct application to the court for an order for further disclosure (of police and prosecution unused material), if it is felt that evidence, etc., is being withheld for no good reason.
Keep this in mind: the prosecution must prove every “element” of the case. Thus in a drink driving case they must prove
i) that you;
ii) “drove or attempted to drive”;
iii) a “motor vehicle”;
iv) on “a road or other public place”
vi) “consuming so much alcohol” and
vii) “that the proportion in your breath, blood or urine exceeded the prescribed limit.”
If the prosecution fail to prove any one of the seven “elements” of the charge mentioned above, then the case fails: no exceptions.
Putting the Crown to Proof
You are perfectly entitled, if you wish, to put the prosecution “to proof” on anyone, or more, of the seven “elements” mentioned above. However, to go down this route without expert legal assistance would be foolish in the extreme. Putting the “Crown to proof” may have many ramifications for the defence of the case of which a non-legally qualified person would be completely unaware.
The considerations mentioned are just a few amongst many issues to consider, when fighting a drink drive case. Why not consult a barrister with 35+ years driving law experience to learn more?Book FREE consultation