The Hearing relating to a drink driving offence is similar to that of other offences, until sentencing has taken place. If the accused is found guilty, a sentence is pronounced, this will normally include a ban from driving for a minimum of 12 months, plus a fine or probation order, community service or a custodial sentence.
After sentencing, the Court may offer the offender the option to participate in the Drink Drive Rehabilitation Scheme. If the offender accepts, the Court will indicate the reduction in the disqualification period which will be allowed if the course is completed and paid for in full.
The Court will provide two dates:
The reduction in the driving ban will be for a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 25% of the original ban. The course must be completed at least 2 months before the end of the reduced ban.
Attitudes to this scheme differ in various parts of the UK. As a result, some Courts may not offer your client the opportunity to attend a course. In these circumstances, it is important that you or your client ask the Court, at the time of the hearing, whether he/she can be referred. A referral to an approved course is an order made at the time of sentencing and will be recorded in full on the Court Register (the Court Minutes in Scotland). A referral to the Scheme cannot be made at a later date unless the case is re-opened and, whilst this is not impossible, it is very unlikely.
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