Some 100,000 people are prosecuted each year for drink-drive offences. Suspects are required to give evidence against themselves by providing specimens of breath, blood or urine, while the legislation affords certain safeguards to counterbalance the powers of the police.
These provisions have given rise to a wealth of case law - testimony to the reluctance of drivers to forfeit their licences and to the ingenuity of the arguments devised to challenge the system. Police and prosecutors seek to tighten their procedures, while creative lawyers look for chinks in their armour. The conviction rate is high, yet it is estimated that some twenty per cent of cases feature undetected procedural errors, which might have led to acquittal.
Drink Drive Case Notes adopts a neutral standpoint between the various interested parties. It comprises summaries of the cases which have come before the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords over the past twenty years. Nearly 600 cases are summarised, almost one third of which are not otherwise reported. Each note is presented as a citation; headnote; short statement of the facts of the case; the question(s) put to the appellate court; and an extract from the judgment.
The notes are intended to provide starting points for those seeking guidance on particular aspects of this dense and complex area of law. The case notes are arranged by subject matter, ranging from the initial requirement to provide specimens, through to special reasons for not disqualifying.
This second edition features some one hundred cases decided since the first edition was published, including two cases which went as far as the House of Lords Russell v Devine and Sheldrake. Recent themes include the question of mouth alcohol, whether software modifications affect type approval, and human rights aspects.
The up-to-date text of the much-amended drink-drive provisions of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 is set out in an Appendix.