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In recent drink driving news, a teenager from Haslingden who was banned from the roads last year for drink-driving has had his conviction overturned on appeal.

Kyle Andrew Siddle was found guilty of drink-driving at a McDonald’s car park in Rawtenstall following his arrest on July 19 last year after a minor collision where he was found to be over the drink-driving limit.

A judge at Burnley Crown Court, however, has overturned his conviction after hearing that the teenager only failed the breath test because he had consumed alcohol after the incident, and wasn’t driving at the time.

Defence barrister Gwyn Lewis told the court that Siddle had consumed just one pint of Foster’s lager at a nearby pub around half-an-hour before the collision, and this would not have taken him over the limit.

Then 17 years old, Siddle drank 250ml of an unknown alcoholic drink from a bottle inside his car before police arrived to take the reading, explained Mr Lewis.

McDonald’s CCTV captured the collision, but the period where Siddle returned to his car to consume the offending beverage was not, due to a ‘jump’ in the footage.

According to Roger Brown for the prosecution, Siddle had ‘more than just one drink’ at the pub, and was in fact over the limit at the time of the collision, adding that the only bottle found in the car by police on the day after his arrest was a clear bottle containing water.

Mr Brown asked Siddle why he had consumed the unspecified alcoholic drink following the collision, he replied: “I was a bit panicked and a bit stressed.”

Following his arrest, Siddle repeatedly told the arresting officer “I haven’t been drink-driving, I’ve been drinking on the car park’.

Mr Lewis then went on to explain that police officers had not checked Mr Siddle’s version of events at the time of the incident, and neither did they “ask what he had drunk, or show what he had been drinking”. He told the court that Siddle appealed the conviction ‘to make sure my dad knew I was telling the truth’.

The alcohol consumed after he had stopped driving increased Siddle’s reading up to 61mcg alcohol per 100ml breath, said Mr Lewis. The legal limit is 35mcg.

Originally found guilty of drink-driving at Blackburn Magistrates Court, Siddle, now 18, was banned from driving for 16 months and fined £180 last October. This conviction has now been overturned.

LEARN MORE: If you would like to know more about our drink driving defence services and how Freeman & Co. can help your case, just click the link.


Drink Driver Convicted For Second Time Almost Exactly Ten Years On

A 34-year-old woman has received her second conviction for drink-driving, ten years and two days on from her first. Had she been picked up just two days earlier, she would have received a minimum three-year ban.

Lisa Hughes was stopped by police officers after being seen swerving “all over the road” following a night out. She was pulled over in the early hours of the morning, her speech was slurred, and officers could instantly smell the alcohol on her breath.

She tested positive on a roadside breathalyser, saying “I’m sorry”, before being taken to the station. Subsequent tests showed Hughes to have 110mcg alcohol per 100ml breath – over three times the legal limit of 35mcg.

North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard that a police officer was on today in Hanley at 3.50am on February 10 when he saw a white Ford Focus. John Dove, prosecuting, said: “It was swerving all over the road. It crossed the centre white line and nearly mounted the pavement on two occasions.”

“He was forced to pull the vehicle over just over the brow of the hill because he feared it was about to cause an accident.

“The defendant was in the driver’s seat and she opened the window. The officer could instantly smell alcohol. Her eyes were glazed and her speech was slurred.

“She gave a positive roadside breath test and was arrested. She replied, ‘I am sorry’. She was taken to the police station where she gave a reading of 110 micrograms.”

Mitigating, Hayley Keegan explained that Hughes had been out with friends in Hanley following the breakdown of her long-term relationship. She bumped into her ex-partner and panicked. “She consumed alcohol. She did not intend to drive. She got in her car and drove,” she said.

“She wants the opportunity to work with probation. It is a long time since she has had any intervention from the probation service.”

Hughes was banned from driving for 28 months and handed a 12-month community order with requirements to complete a thinking skills programme and an eight-day rehabilitation requirement. She was also fined £120 and ordered to pay £135 costs and a £85 surcharge.

Her ban may be reduced by a quarter on completion of the drink-drivers’ rehabilitation course.

LEARN MORE: If you would like to know more about our drink driving defence services and how Freeman & Co. can help your case, just click the link.


Drug Driver Who Smashed Ferrari Banned And Fined

A man who crashed his relative’s £100,000 Ferrari Spider while drug-driving has been banned from driving for a year.

Bolton Magistrates heard how police were called to the scene of a road traffic accident involving a single vehicle in Bolton just before 2pm on November 25.

Naeem Patel, 28, had lost control, colliding with the central reservation before rebounding into a lamp post.

Police found the supercar straddling two lanes of the dual carriageway with ‘extensive damage’, extending all down the off side of the vehicle.

Police spoke to Patel at the scene, who admitted he was the driver, and carried out a mouth swab which returned a positive result for cannabis. A further blood test confirmed it.

Patel told the court he was returning the car to a relative at the time, and pleaded guilty to drug-driving with a concentration of a specified controlled drug in the body above the specified limit.

Magistrates fined him £400, adding costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £45, as well as the twelve-month ban.


Mobile Phone Driving Arrests Halved Since Penalties Doubled

Figures obtained by the AA have revealed that the number of motorists caught using a mobile phone while driving has almost halved since the penalties were doubled in March last year.

Between March and December last year, around 39,000 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were issued to drivers, compared to 74,000 the year before, according to police data.

Since March 1, 2017, drivers caught using a handheld mobile phone at the wheel have faced receiving six points on their license as well as a £200 fine. A driver stands to lose their license if they receive 12 points in a period of three years, or just six points if they are within two years of passing their test.

The figures come following a Freedom of Information request by the motoring organisation to all 45 of the UK’s police forces. Of the 45 forces, 41 responded.

March saw the most FPNs issued with 8,500 caught as most forces started a clampdown on mobile phone usage and distracted drivers. The lowest total came in December, with police focussing their attention on drink-drivers during the festive period.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “It will take time for a wholesale change in attitudes to really take effect.

“While some have got the message and changed their behaviour, many drivers still believe they won’t get caught.”

In other research from the RAC, nearly one in five businesses say their employees have been involved in an accident where the use of a mobile phone was involved and of the 1,000 UK businesses surveyed, five percent admitted it happened ‘on a regular basis’.

Figures from the Department for Transport show that 780 people were injured in accidents in 2016 when a driver was distracted or impaired by their phone – an increase of 10 percent on 2015.

About Freeman & Co.

Freeman & Co. are a specialist firm of road traffic and criminal defence solicitors based in Manchester but with nationwide coverage.

Freeman & Co. specialise in a wide variety of road traffic cases, ranging from drink driving, speeding and mobile phone offences, to name but a few.

The firm was created by Nick Freeman, who has been dubbed “Mr Loophole” by the press for his technical legal ability and robustly challenging the prosecution.

Nick is well regarded as an expert road traffic lawyer and has successfully represented many high profile clients for a variety of motoring offences as well as criminal offences.

The firm of Freeman & Co. embodies the way Nick works, with minute attention to detail and challenging the prosecution at every turn.

If you are facing a road traffic matter or criminal offence and need the services of Freeman & Co. please call on 0161 236 7007.

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