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Drink Driving Conviction

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    Hi folks,

    I'd really like to pursue a career in the legal profession. I'd ideally like to become a barrister eventually.

    The trouble is, I made a very silly mistake in July this year and I received an 18 month ban for drink-driving. This will be reduced to 13.5 months on completion of a drink drive rehabilitation course. It will be classed as 'spent' after 5 years. I have no other convictions and I am thoroughly ashamed of my actions.

    How would this affect my chances of applying for the bar vocational course and subsequent pupillage? Is completing a Law degree going to be a complete waste of time?

    Thanks in advance.
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    (Original post by Hex1986)
    Hi folks,

    I'd really like to pursue a career in the legal profession. I'd ideally like to become a barrister eventually.

    The trouble is, I made a very silly mistake in July this year and I received an 18 month ban for drink-driving. This will be reduced to 13.5 months on completion of a drink drive rehabilitation course. It will be classed as 'spent' after 5 years. I have no other convictions and I am thoroughly ashamed of my actions.

    How would this affect my chances of applying for the bar vocational course and subsequent pupillage? Is completing a Law degree going to be a complete waste of time?

    Thanks in advance.
    Spent convictions must be disclosed to the Bar Standards Board and Solicitors Regulation Authority.

    Cases are considered on an individual basis. A drink driving conviction will not automatically rule you out of qualifying but you will have to explain yourself, probably in person. They will be interested in the circumstances of the offence. An 18 month ban suggests that you were twice the legal limit
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Spent convictions must be disclosed to the Bar Standards Board and Solicitors Regulation Authority.

    Cases are considered on an individual basis. A drink driving conviction will not automatically rule you out of qualifying but you will have to explain yourself, probably in person. They will be interested in the circumstances of the offence. An 18 month ban suggests that you were twice the legal limit
    Thanks for the reply. The reading was 66 microgrammes, the legal limit being 35, so yes, pretty much.

    I would be quite happy to explain myself in person, but I don't wish to try to make excuses about what happened. In relation to the circumstances of the offence, there was no accident, it was simply a case of being stopped at night. I had had a business meeting with a bar manager who had been giving me drinks. I had been going through a lot of stress in my personal life at the time and I was being treated by my GP for this. I admitted the offence in court at the earliest opportunity and I will shortly be embarking on the rehabilitation course in order to reduce the ban by 25%.

    Would it be helpful to engage in some kind of voluntary work with an organisation such as DriveWise, in order to practically demonstrate my remorse?
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    (Original post by Hex1986)
    Thanks for the reply. The reading was 66 microgrammes, the legal limit being 35, so yes, pretty much.

    I would be quite happy to explain myself in person, but I don't wish to try to make excuses about what happened. In relation to the circumstances of the offence, there was no accident, it was simply a case of being stopped at night. I had had a business meeting with a bar manager who had been giving me drinks. I had been going through a lot of stress in my personal life at the time and I was being treated by my GP for this. I admitted the offence in court at the earliest opportunity and I will shortly be embarking on the rehabilitation course in order to reduce the ban by 25%.

    Would it be helpful to engage in some kind of voluntary work with an organisation such as DriveWise, in order to practically demonstrate my remorse?
    Yes
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    Let's be honest, it will be extremely difficult for you to pursue a legal career with a criminal conviction. Drink driving is a serious offence and the fact that there was no accident is no mitigation - it doesn't matter that you were unlucky enough to get caught, what matters is that you got behind the wheel of a car while significantly over the drink-drive limit.

    The first thing you should do is contact one or more of the Inns of Court if you want to be barrister and ask them if you will be allowed to join - I fear the answer may well be no, or at least not until the conviction is 'spent', which would mean a long stretch doing something other than law. You can't even start the Bar course until you are a member of an Inn so there's a danger any qualifying law degree / GDL you are on will expire before you are able to begin the vocational stage of your training.

    The same applies if you want to become a solicitor - you should contact the SRA now and see if they would admit you as a student with your conviction. Again, it is unlikely that the would.

    I agree, some volunteering with relevant organisations to show some degree of reparation is much better than saying you're really sorry for what you did with no evidence of trying to rectify your mistakes. I suggest the best thing you can do for now is contact the relevant authorities and clarify what their position is in relation to convictions.
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    (Original post by d2009j)
    Let's be honest, it will be extremely difficult for you to pursue a legal career with a criminal conviction. Drink driving is a serious offence and the fact that there was no accident is no mitigation - it doesn't matter that you were unlucky enough to get caught, what matters is that you got behind the wheel of a car while significantly over the drink-drive limit.

    The first thing you should do is contact one or more of the Inns of Court if you want to be barrister and ask them if you will be allowed to join - I fear the answer may well be no, or at least not until the conviction is 'spent', which would mean a long stretch doing something other than law. You can't even start the Bar course until you are a member of an Inn so there's a danger any qualifying law degree / GDL you are on will expire before you are able to begin the vocational stage of your training.

    The same applies if you want to become a solicitor - you should contact the SRA now and see if they would admit you as a student with your conviction. Again, it is unlikely that the would.

    I agree, some volunteering with relevant organisations to show some degree of reparation is much better than saying you're really sorry for what you did with no evidence of trying to rectify your mistakes. I suggest the best thing you can do for now is contact the relevant authorities and clarify what their position is in relation to convictions.
    I agree that you should get in touch with your Inn of Court if you're planning on becoming a barrister. They will likely ask various questions and make a judgment based on the facts.

    I disagree that your conviction is a "serious offence" in this context. I dislike drink drivers a great deal and find their activities selfish and exceptionally dangerous. However, it's a motoring offence and fortunately no one was hurt. The Inns tend to be more concerned with offences relating to dishonesty. You will most likely have to explain your offence; showing that you've learned from your mistake is a good idea in my view. The fact you pleaded guilty at an early stage is a good thing too.

    The only way you can find out it is to get in touch with your Inn or the SRA depending on whether you want to be a solicitor or barrister.
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    (Original post by d2009j)
    Let's be honest, it will be extremely difficult for you to pursue a legal career with a criminal conviction. Drink driving is a serious offence and the fact that there was no accident is no mitigation - it doesn't matter that you were unlucky enough to get caught, what matters is that you got behind the wheel of a car while significantly over the drink-drive limit.
    I appreciate your feedback, however I was no inferring that because the fact there was no accident was some sort of mitigation. I was highlighting the fact that there were no aggravating factors.

    As I said in my previous post, I do not wish to make excuses about what happened, however, everyone makes mistakes - people from all walks of life. I made a mistake and am currently living with the concequences.

    I find it hard to see why a stupid one-off action should completely bar me from entering into a legal career for the rest of my life? Surely the focus should be on assessing whether a person has learnt from their error and determine whether or not there is any reasonable probability of them repeating their actions?

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