“It is a year ago today that I was stopped for alleged drink driving, performed a roadside test and as a consequence breathalysed at the police station. But due to the breathalysing machine producing both a positive and a reading of “mouth alcohol”, a blood sample was requested, which I gave. I was terrified during the whole procedure as my occupation depends on my driving and I have a company car. The circumstances prevailing this are complicated, but I want to summarise my experience with the legal engagement and my lengthy history with Geoffrey Miller Solicitors.
When I left the police station the following morning, I panicked;- I could lose my job, my marriage, my home and of course my dignity and reputation. I did not have a breath result but upon leaving I noticed on the custody board, my name and a reading of “blew 93” I knew this was more than twice the legal limit without awaiting the results of the blood alcohol sample.
In a haze, I googled “drink driving” firstly to determine the seriousness of the offence and secondly to educate myself on what my position was, I had no idea Solicitors existed that specialised in motoring offences regarding drink driving. I read through the first advertised website who were “drink drive” specialists, a family run business, great testimonials, video’s and exceptional statistics. I rang this company and spoke to one of the Directors, who explained all the different scenarios and in particular that the “CPS” are very dysfunctional, unorganised and often just drop cases. I’m sure this may be true but it wasn’t my experience.
I signed up immediately in a panic, I didn’t consider the overall costs and was told to deal with the initial case it would be £1,500. Deal done.
I then had time to research the offence in detail and came across Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, which to be honest sounded very much like my already contracted firm. I called and spoke to Eleanor Taylor, Solicitor, who basically ran through very similar scenarios as my contracted solicitor, however she was more professional in her approach, explaining procedural errors that could secure my acquittal for a blood sample and less damning about the CPS. This worried me, I had already paid a substantial amount, so I really had to trust my contracted solicitor.
I received my blood sample reading of 182mg, the legal limit is 80mg therefore the ban is 17 – 22 months. This was inconceivable to me, I was unable to tell anyone of my position which caused me enormous anxiety, sleepless nights and dreadful stress. I would lose my JOB, my HOUSE, my LIFE and my husband would never forgive me.
I attended the first hearing to plead not guilty and was annoyed that the Director I spoke to had delegated me to another solicitor without talking me through this process. The solicitor that attended court with me was nervous in his demeanour and did not fill me with confidence in his overall manner at all.
The case worker assigned was flippant with me, didn’t return calls and gave me the impression that I was just another case, nothing special. My trial was scheduled for end of March 2018 which required another £4000. A week before the trial after no defence strategy explained and very little communication, my calls weren’t returned and I wasn’t a priority. I rang Geoffrey Miller in a complete panic. My whole life was dependent on this trial and I had no confidence in this solicitor. Within an hour Jeanette Miller called me back. The conversation with her transformed my state of mind knowing I could win the case with one of the most experienced Barristers in the country. I hadn’t even been assigned a Barrister, never mind a competent solicitor.
Of course, I had to agree a new contract but Jeanette took into consideration my previous experience, but I had to re-assign for GMS resources to start from the beginning, so in effect I had to “write” off the amount I’d already paid to the previous Solicitor. There is only one option you must take and that is sign with Geoffrey Millers and do not make the mistake I made and waste money and your licence with any other company.
Now, for the rest of my journey, it was horrific and terrifying but Ellie (assigned to me) assured me and listened to all my constant queries over and over again. I had an out of office number and she always and I mean always responded to me. Jeanette talked to me and re-assured me about my case and arranged 2 conference calls with my appointed Barrister. This gave me so much confidence understanding the procedures but most importantly the defence strategies. They were all honest and straightforward with me from the start.
The end of March hearing turned into a case management hearing and then trial was adjourned to July. Again, this meant more costs but by now I understood by July how my case would be presented and during the trial, I was completely amazed at this Barrister’s complete focus on my case. He had only started cross examining the Police Officer when the case was adjourned as they do not give up on an argument. I had a forensic expert assigned as well as a Barrister. I then had 5 more months to wait for a 2 day trial, again more expense for me to gain an acquittal. This was an extremely difficult case, to prove a verdict of not guilty, to a Judge that was not familiar with the case law, which was part of the Skeleton argument and it seemed throughout he would convict whatever.
A half time submission was made by my defence Barrister and I thought the case would be won. No, the Judge said there was a case to answer and I honestly expected my Barrister to loose his focus, enthusiasm and not change tactics so late in the day. But no, he was AMAZINGLY brilliant and put the Judge into a position that proving me guilty was an impossibility for the Crown. I was found not guilty and I have my life back after this terrifying ordeal. Ellie is frankly a star and a credit to her profession. I was made to feel important and cared for as a client, I could not recommend them enough.
I still can’t believe I am free and I am ecstatic that I made the right decision with the right team and we were successful. If you have what I had to lose then you have to realise this is an expensive investment, at their results but I can honestly say that Ellie and Jeanette personally cared about the outcome for me.”Ms W - Merseyside
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