Ban for drink driving father who had child in the car

By Neil Logan

A man has been given an 18 month driving ban after he was found to be nearly two times over the legal drink-drive limit with his 7-year-old child in the car.

Michael Shephard, aged 37 of Hampton, was found to be nearly twice the legal drink-drive limit when his Renault Clio was stopped by police. The officers were alarmed to note that his 7-year-old child was a passenger in the car at the time. He was ordered to pay £285 in fines and costs by the Magistrates' Court, and was told his disqualification from driving could be reduced to 14 months if he takes a drink driver awareness course.

There have been a number of cases reported in the media recently of drink driving parents who have had their children with them when stopped by the police. While drink driving is always alarming and dangerous, it is of special concern when the offence takes place with child passengers in the car.

Most drink driving offences tend to happen fairly late at night, or very early in the morning after a night out, when the motorist is returning from the pub or other social event. For drivers to be found over the limit during the day with children on board, is particularly alarming.

The minimum disqualification for those persons that either plead guilty for drink driving or indeed are found guilty following trial is a twelve month disqualification. If however there are additional aggravating factors as is the case in this example the disqualification period may be increased. Factors such as the amount of alcohol in any sample taken and the distance driven by the Defendant are very relevant in the sentencing process.

There is a worrying pattern of individuals charged with motoring offences going to Court and representing themselves. Unfortunately for the Defendant Legal Aid is not available in the vast majority of driving offences however the cost of instructing an experienced motoring offence Solicitor may well prove invaluable in the long term. Our team of experienced motoring offence Solicitors are able to present all mitigating factors to the Court on your behalf and ensure that the Judge is aware of all of the background to the offence and the offender.

If you require legal advice in respect of driving offence from a motoring specialist solicitor in Northern Ireland, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by calling 0800 840 0546.