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2016 in review

It seems fitting that the year our founder, Geoffrey Miller, passed away is the most successful since the firm was founded in 2000. Geoffrey was always so proud of the success of the firm and the fact that it continued to bear his name long after he retired.

Morals and Justice

To many non-lawyers, the idea of defending those accused of offences such as drink driving and drug driving is hard to compute. When asked about the moral issue, we have to explain that as a solicitor, our role is not to judge but it is to apply the law and our knowledge to act in the best interests of our client.

This year also saw the firm’s Managing Director, Jeanette Miller’s, heavy involvement in a life changing result for a client facing the most serious of motoring offences, causing the death of another whilst behind the wheel of a car. As with any case involving a fatality, there are no winners. We applied strategies beyond those in the knowledge of most solicitors to eventually ensure our client’s acquittal of causing death by dangerous driving, an offence that carried a maximum penalty of a 14 year prison sentence. However, the jury at Chester Crown Court were unable to reach a decision in relation to a lesser charge of careless driving whilst over the prescribed limit. After a 3 week retrial at Warrington Crown Court in June 2016, our client was found NOT GUILTY of this charge but convicted of causing death by careless driving. Thankfully, our client was spared a custodial penalty although, he will serve a life sentence of sorrow and grief for the victim.

This was a case where we truly believe that there is no other firm, or indeed, Defence team that could have achieved the result we did for this client.

Statistics

Our trial results demonstrate that in 94% of our 2016 trials, our skills and expertise achieved our clients’ acquittals. Despite George Bernard Shaw’s famous quote “ It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics” we think these statistics mean nothing, however, without disclosing the data behind the %.

Our overall success rate of 94% comprises 138 defended cases that were successful and 9 cases that were lost where our client was convicted.

This year saw a 100% success rate in the following case types:

100% Success Rate Case Types in 2016
Driving With Excess Alcohol – Blood
Driving With Excess Alcohol – Urine
Driving Without Due Care And Attention
Driving Without Insurance
Failing To Furnish Driver Information
Failing To Provide A Specimen
Speeding
Driving Whilst Unfit Through Drugs
Drunk In Charge
Driving Whilst Unfit through Alcohol

Alcohol and Drugs

Whilst we deal with all manner of motoring offences, by far the most common allegation we are used to dealing with involve alcohol and drugs cases. This year we achieved a verdict of Not Guilty in 125 cases and only 7 clients were convicted of the offence we defended.

A new trend has been the quantity of drug driving cases we have seen come through since the introduction of the grossly unfair drug driving laws in 2015. Again, our success rate in defending this case types is extremely high.

2016 SuccessesNumber of cases wonNumber of cases lost2016 Success Rate %
Excess Alcohol – Breath Sample64691%
Excess Alcohol – Blood Sample120100%
Excess Drugs – Blood Sample27196%
Excess Alcohol – Urine Sample40100%
Fail to Provide a Specimen180100%
Total Alcohol cases trial success rate (*figures include successful appeals and exclude cases lost that are the subject of appeal as at 23 December 2016)125795%

How cases were won up to 23 December 2016

Our strategies continue to achieve the result our clients are aiming for without a full trial being necessary. The stage at which we won our 2016 cases reflects this. 14% of the 125 cases that we won in 2016 were discontinued before trial so that the client was spared any need to attend court for the trial.

A criminal trial must follow a certain order with the prosecution’s case being presented to the court first and before any defence evidence has to be heard. At the end of the prosecution’s case, the defence are able to make a submission to the court that the case against the defence is too weak for the prosecution to continue (Submission of no case to answer). 95% of our successful cases in 2016 were won by that point meaning that no defence evidence had to be presented in those cases and our client did not have to give evidence at their trial.

OffenceDiscontinued before trialWithdrawn on the day of trialAcquittal half wayAcquittal after full trialAppeal allowedTotal number of cases won
Excess Alcohol – Breath specimen64873064
Excess Alcohol – Blood specimen1911012
Excess Alcohol – Urine specimen201104
Driving with excess drugs61821027
Failing to Provide a Specimen21410118
Total cases17891261125
Percentage of cases won14%71%10%4%1%100%

If you are reading this article and are yet to decide whether to instruct the Geoffrey Miller team, we urge you to not just rely on our case results but to speak directly to some of our previous clients who have been through the process of being prosecuted and have come through it to a successful conclusion. The odds are far better than those involved in winning the lottery but our clients tend to report similar feelings of exhilaration when they hear those words “NOT GUILTY!”

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Geoffrey Miller Solicitors are specialists defending drivers nationwide for all types of driving offences. Call our team of expert driving offence solicitors for some free initial advice.

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