Road Traffic Offence Advice
General practice lawyers who deal with multiple areas of criminal law often aren’t fully familiar with the intricate legal arguments that can be put forward on your behalf if you have been accused of any of the motoring offences below;
Fail to Provide driver information
If you are caught committing a driving offence, you will be sent a S172 driver information request.
You will be given six points on your licence if you do not return the completed request.
You have 2 possible defence options, Section172(4) and Section172(7)(b) Road Traffic Act 1988.
Either, show you used reasonable diligence to identify the driver, or you didn’t receive the section 172 request to do so.
Driving With No Insurance
It doesn’t matter what your excuses for driving without valid motor insurance are, when caught, you are automatically assumed guilty.
Pleading guilty to driving with no car insurance, or being convicted of the offence will earn you 6 – 8 penalty points on your driving licence.
Drivers are often unaware that their insurance broker has cancelled their policy and not notified them.
If you can show you genuinely believed you had insurance, you can use a Special Reasons Argument.
Speed Limit Offences
Speeding offence convictions include three – six penalty points, a driving ban (depending on the circumstances of the offence), a fine and incurred court costs.
Expert evidence is required if you are going to succeed in defending your alleged speeding offence in court.
Repeated speeding offences frequently lead to 12 point totting up disqualifications, but it is possible to use an exceptional hardship argument and keep your licence even if you have 12 points or more.
An experienced motoring solicitor will be able to advise you and structure an exception hardship defence for your speeding offence circumstances.
Drinking and Driving
In the UK the maximum breath reading for drink drive is 35mg. Drinking and driving carries a minimum licence ban of one year.
To win in court, defending a drinking and driving allegation, you need to be able to prove that you were not the driver, or that you were not in a public place or on a public road, or that you consumed the alcohol after you finished driving, not before.
Other possible defences for drinking and driving charges are that you drove only for a very short distance, that it was an emergency situation, or that you unknowingly consumed alcohol without knowing at the time.
Drunk in Charge Motoring Offences
The prosecution must prove to the court you were over the legal drink driving limit and in charge of the car.
If you were not intending to drive until you were under the drink driving limit and can prove this to the court then you have a viable defence.
You can be given a discretionary driving ban in addition to a mandatory either 10 penalty points if the court find you guilty of the offence.
Mobile Phone Offences
While you are driving, you have to be holding and using a phone in order to be guilty of this road traffic offence.
This can be a grey area and different Magistrates Courts often have differing opinions.
It is still an offence if you are stationary at traffic lights or a temporary hold up.
Unless you can prove that your phone wasn’t being used to make communications while you were driving, this offence is difficult to defend.
In many instances, if it can’t be proved that you were making a call etc. but the phone was seen in your hand, you can be prosecuted for due care and attention or even dangerous driving, so it is a tricky issue to defend successfully without experienced guidance.
No Driving Licence Motoring Offences
This is one offence that often causes a lot of confusion.
If you are driving not in accordance with the conditions of your driving licence .i.e. no L plates or having never passed a test, it is an endorseable offence.
Should you fail to return your current licence to the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency when asked, and they then suspend your driving entitlement, the offence is non-endorseable.
Many people believe that ‘no licence’ means that your insurance policy is null and void. We asked one of the leading motoring law experts in the UK Emma Patterson of Solicitors Patterson Law who said, “this is not the case, your insurance isn’t automatically void because of a no licence offence. Many Courts are equally unsure of the correct legal position and a huge amount of drivers are unwittingly being penalised because they believe what they are being told.”
Many Courts and police officers are unsure as to whether this offence carries points or not. Make sure you have a motoring law specialist on hand to guide them to guarantee the best outcome for your court case.
Due Care & Attention Motoring Offences
Your driving standards have to be proved to have fallen below those expected from a competent and careful driver in order for the court to find you guilty of driving without dure care.
Motoring offences covered include undertaking on motorways and low speed scrapes.
As an alternative to being prosecuted in Court, the police can offer you a Driver Improvement Course.
Failure to Stop Motoring offences
Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that anyone involved in an accident is under a legal duty to stop and offer your details if damage has been caused to either; property, another vehicle or to a person.
If you cannot exchange details with the other party, you must report the incident to the police as soon as reasonably practicable and at most within twenty four hours.
Carrying five – ten driving licence penalty points or a discretionary ban, this is a serious offence.
If you can demonstrate to the Court that you weren’t aware that damage had been caused and that it was reasonable that you weren’t aware that you had had an accident then you have a possible legal defence.
Magistrates consider these road traffic offences to be serious. Because of that it has the power to impose community service or even prison sentences if your circumstances warrant it.
Dangerous Driving Offences
Dangerous driving convictions require the prosecution to show that the level of your driving fell well below the required standard. They will also have to prove that it would be clear to any careful and competent driver that your driving was in fact dangerous.
Dangerous driving carries a twelve month driving licence disqualification minimum, and an extended re-test and can also include custody.