If you’re worried about a driving offence prosecution in the Salisbury, Andover, New Forest, Devizes, Chippenham or Marlborough area, our expert road traffic offence solicitors can help. With increasing numbers of speed cameras on the road, it’s getting harder to keep your driving licence clean of penalty points.
Don’t automatically assume, just because you intend to plead guilty to a driving offence, that you don’t need a solicitor at court. There are many situations where you may be able to avoid or reduce a penalty such as a disqualification from driving.
Road Traffic Offences – How our legal team can help you
If you are being investigated, or have already been charged with committing a driving offence, we can provide you with clear, practical and straightforward advice as follows:
- Advice and assistance at police interview
- Representing you at court – if you are pleading guilty or not guilty to the charges
- Applying to keep your driving licence and avoid disqualification
Driving Offence Advice When You Need It
Quite often, the need for specialist advice on road traffic offences issues crops up outside office hours.
During office hours you can call us on (01980) 622992
But if you’re looking for the right legal advice about a possible driving offence outside normal 9 to 5 PM office hours, you can call us on 075912460.
Penalty points and disqualification from driving
Whilst some motoring offences carry automatic disqualification, or give the Courts power to disqualify if they think fit, 6 months automatic disqualification also occurs when a driver picks up a total of 12 penalty points within 3 years – known as ‘totting up’. Just one brief lapse of concentration can lose you your licence – with devastating consequences for many people. Penalty points are imposed for a number of relatively minor driving offences e.g. simple speeding may carry as little as 3 penalty points.
However, in highly limited circumstances it is possible to avoid a driving ban even after getting 12 penalty points – our expert team have regularly used ‘special reasons’, exceptional hardship and mitigating circumstances as reasons to keep the driving licences of many clients. See below for more details about how we can help you argue special reasons and exceptional hardship.
Driving Offences – Our fees
Whilst every case is different we give you the option of a fixed fee for most motoring cases – so you know exactly how much you have to pay. We accept debit and credit cards and act for individuals and both large and small businesses.
If you are worried about a motoring offence prosecution – contact our expert Road Traffic Offence solicitors today.
Careless driving, or driving without due care and attention, is widely defined. Broadly the offence is committed by someone driving below the standard expected of a reasonable driver. The offence can take place not only on public roads but also anywhere else where the public has access. You don’t even have to be driving a car – any mechanically propelled vehicle will do.
- Penalty – 3–9 penalty points and a fine of up to £2500. Magistrates also have discretion to consider disqualification.
This is an extremely serious offence, carrying an automatic minimum disqualification of one year and a risk of imprisonment. It covers the situation where the standard of driving falls far below what would be expected of a careful driver and it would be obvious to a careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous.
Like careless driving this offence can take place anywhere where the public have access and can be committed in any mechanically propelled vehicle. A particularly serious case may end up in the Crown Court.
In certain circumstances our expert team have been able to convince the court not to disqualify but instead endorse a driver’s licence with between 3–11 penalty points.
If you are charged with dangerous driving, we suggest you contact our Road Traffic Offence Solicitors immediately.
- Penalty – Magistrates Court: up to £5,000 fine and maximum 6 month prison sentence.
– Crown Court: unlimited fine, and maximum 2 year prison sentence.
Most speeding offences (and over 2.2million drivers were caught speeding in 2020) go unchallenged and motorists frequently accept speeding convictions without attending court or seeing the evidence against them. Don’t assume that police evidence or photo evidence can never be challenged – they can.
To convict, the court must be satisfied the case is proved beyond reasonable doubt – if you think police evidence may not be correct – contact our Solicitors. Speed cameras need to be properly placed, its users properly trained and proper procedure followed.
Speeding fines arising from speed cameras are usually dealt with by way of a fixed penalty fine with no need, except in totting up cases,for representation by a solicitor.
- Penalty – 3-8 penalty points. Conviction can result in a driving ban for the offence alone, in addition to the risk of disqualification for ‘totting up’ 12 penalty points, and a fine of up to £1000.
Drink driving offences carry an automatic minimum 12 month driving ban and a fine up to £5,000. On very rare occasions it may be possible to challenge a conviction or automatic disqualification. Our road traffic solicitors have helped some clients keep their licences on procedural grounds or by successfully arguing that, for example, the alleged offence did not occur on a road or public place, or that alcohol consumption after driving caused the high reading.
A driver banned for at least 12 months for driving with excess alcohol may be offered a Drink Drive Rehabilitation Course – which when successfully completed can reduce any ban by up to a quarter.
- Penalty – The penalty varies according to the alcohol level. The minimum disqualification is 1 year with a fine of up to £5,000. More serious levels of intoxication (broadly three times the legal alcohol limit of 35µg of alcohol in 100ml of breath and above) causes Magistrates to consider a prison sentence of up to 6 months. A second alcohol related offence in 10 years increases the minimum ban to 3 years.
Unlike drink-driving, where there will be no conviction if the alcohol is under a certain limit, there is broadly zero tolerance to illegal drugs – and in particular to the following 8:
cannabis, cocaine, heroin, ketamine, LSD, MDMA (ecstasy), meth and speed (amphetamines).
However, a minimum limit is set where any claims of accidental exposure can be excluded.
But beware – it’s important to know that it’s not just illegal drugs that can result in a road traffic offence being committed. You also commit an offence if you drive with over specified limits in your blood of nine prescription drugs if you have not been prescribed them. They are:
- morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, e.g. codeine or tramadol
- Penalty – Magistrates Court – drug driving carries a minimum 1 year driving ban, an unlimited fine as well as up to 6 months in prison. In addition, your driving licence will show an endorsement for an 11 year period that you’ve received a drug driving conviction
What’s more, that disqualification period is increased to a minimum of 3 years if the driver has been convicted, in the last 10 years, of a number of other drug or alcohol related driving convictions
Driving without insurance
This carries a minimum of 6 penalty points and is “a strict liability offence”, i.e. once it is established you were driving without insurance there is generally no defence.
Problems can occur when employees drive company cars – employers can be prosecuted for the offence of having no insurance if the employee driving a company vehicle was uninsured – any employer or employee in that situation should contact our Road Traffic Solicitors immediately as there are certain limited defences to such charges.
- Penalty –6–8 penalty points and a fine of up to £5,000. Magistrates can also disqualify.
Mobile phone offences
Since February 2007 using a hand-held mobile whilst driving has attracted penalty points. And you commit the offence even if you are sitting stationary in traffic – unless you have switched off your engine. Recent Crown Prosecution Service guidelines show a clear intention to tighten up mobile phone prosecutions.
The only defence is when the driver uses a mobile phone to make a 999 call in the case of genuine emergency and when it is unsafe or impractical to stop.
- Penalty -3 penalty points and a fine.
Your Driving Offence – Avoiding Disqualification – “Special Reasons”
Where a motoring offence carries an automatic ban, the driver will only avoid disqualification by proving ‘special reasons’. That ‘special reason’ is a factor special to the offence and cannot be something special to the driver. ‘Spiking’ a drink, or a genuine emergency are among the most common special reasons.
If Magistrates find ‘special reasons’ they can reduce the number of penalty points and length of the driving ban, or impose no penalty points or ban at all.
Proving special reasons is tricky and technical – if your case may involve special reasons do contact one of our driving offence solicitors.
Your Driving Offence- Avoiding Disqualification –Exceptional hardship
A driver facing a ban for ‘totting-up’ may be able to avoid disqualification by arguing that they would suffer ‘exceptional hardship’ as a result. Common grounds for proving ‘exceptional hardship’ include the driver inevitably losing his job as a result of any driving ban and any hardship suffered by the driver’s family, employer or employees. The same grounds for exceptional hardship cannot be argued more than once in a 3 year period.
Our motoring offence team have decades of experience of arguing exceptional hardship – so if you want to keep your licence and think you may suffer exceptional hardship if you’re disqualified, contact our road traffic today.