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Regrettably, Miss H had a very high breath reading, which was in excess of 120ųg in 100ml of breath. The starting point for any reading at this level would automatically attract a custodial sentence as a starting point. To compound matters, Miss H had driven into 5 stationary vehicles without stopping and caused in excess of £15,000 worth of damage. Obviously, with such a high breath reading and an aggravating feature of failing to stop after driving into a number of vehicles, there was a very real possibility that a custodial sentence would be imposed and indeed, this was indicated by the Magistrates at the first hearing and Miss H was ordered to see the Probation Service for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.
In cases such as these, if the Magistrates are considering sentencing a defendant to a period in custody, the preparation of a pre-sentence report is required by the Probation Service who will meet with the defendant and make recommendations to the Magistrates.
At the sentence hearing, Carl presented powerful mitigation on Miss H’s behalf to try and persuade the Magistrates not to impose an immediate prison sentence and to consider instead imposing a suspended sentence. The report from the Probation Service also agreed with Carl’s view that a prison sentence would have a negative impact due to Miss H’s vulnerability and she would be at risk of exploitation by other inmates. The devastating impact a custodial sentence would have on her family was also a factor as Miss H is a single mother with highly dependent children.
The Magistrates were persuaded by Carl’s representations and decided to suspend the custodial sentence. Obviously, Miss H was delighted with the outcome as she genuinely feared that she would be going to prison.