Friday, 16 May 2014

Happy Asparagus Month! Guestblog by Jonathan Berry

We like to provide interesting information about motoring law in our blogs and other online material. So, when I was informed that May is “National AsparagusMonth” and I was to somehow link motoring law to this, I accepted the challenge!

How on earth can a specialist motoring solicitors write a relevant blog on asparagus I hear you cry?!



Asparagus is a classic vegetable usually accompanied on a plate with a nice fillet steak. Unfortunately, the humble asparagus gets a lot of bad press! Whenever you hear people mentioning that they had asparagus for tea last night, most people’s instant reaction is “Doesn’t that make your wee smell?!”

Wait for it… here is the (tentative) link...

Out of all of the drink driving procedures commenced at the police station, urine is the most uncommon. The procedure will usually start with a breath test. If the machine is not working or you are physically unable to provide a breath test due to a medical condition, you will be REQUIRED to provide either a blood or urine sample. 

In cases where you have blown between 35ug and 50ug, you will be given the OPTION to replace the breath test with either a blood or urine sample. Most police stations will opt for a blood sample which will be conducted by the Doctor or Health Care Professional. Some however will opt for urine.

Now, don’t worry, asparagus and the smell of your urine will not affect the drink drive procedure and it is completely safe to eat asparagus and drive. There is no medical evidence to suggest that asparagus can have an adverse effect on your driving ability.

I am reliably informed that the "delightful" smell that accompanies the consumption of asparagus comes from the way certain chemical compounds in asparagus break down inside the body. (I told you the link was tentative!)

Whilst it is completely safe to eat asparagus and drive, it certainly isn’t safe to drink and drive.

What is the legal limit?

The legal limit for a urine sample is 107ug per 100ml urine.

So how many pints/glasses of wine can I have to be under the limit?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive amount of alcohol you can consume to be under the limit. Your alcohol levels will be dependent on many factors such as height, weight and waist measurements along with the times of your drinks.

What is the procedure after providing a urine sample?

After providing a urine sample at the police station, you will be given a bail date to return to the police station. This may be up to 3 months as the police will have to send the urine sample off to a laboratory for forensic testing. Depending on the result, you will be charged and bailed to attend court or released without further action being taken against you. You should also be given your own urine sample so that you can have this tested. It is strongly advised that you get this sent off for independent testing and you should receive a leaflet at the police station with details of independent analysts you can approach for this.

What should I do once I have left the police station?

If you are waiting for test results or have been charged with drink driving following a urine test, we strongly recommend you get in touch immediately for advice from our team of experts.

What sentence can I receive?

With that legal limit in mind, a borderline case can result in a minimum 12 month driving disqualification. In severe cases of high readings, up to 6 months imprisonment can actually be considered by the Magistrates’ Court.  If you have a previous conviction for an alcohol related offence within the last 10 years there is a minimum of 3 years disqualification.

What are your success rates?

In 2012, we successfully defended 100% of urine cases, and in 2013 we successfully defended 75%. Since January 2014, we have secured acquittals for 100% of our clients facing urine drink driving charges.

Call us now on Freephone 08000852784 to speak to one of our specialist motoring offence solicitors. It is only once you decide to instruct us that payment will become necessary and we can often arrange instalment plans to assist you.

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