We also have a team of specialist solicitors defending drivers with a whole host of matters including Speeding, Driving Whist Disqualified, Driving with Excess Alcohol, Careless Driving, Driving Without Insurance, Mobile Telephone Offences, Totting up to name but a few.
Our specialist team of lawyers will look after your interests from the Police Station through to the Criminal Courts. Our objective is to achieve the best possible outcome and nothing less.
Our experienced lawyers all have a wealth of Advocacy experience right from the Magistrates Courts, through to the Crown Court and also the Court of Appeal.
We will not take on your case, unless we know that we can help you. From the very beginning, you will be given a detailed explanation of the entire process, including any possible difficulties that there may be with your case. In such an event, you will no doubt be seeking to minimize the impact on you.
We know that 3 points to you can mean the difference between keeping your license, continuing your current employment and ultimately having the ability to support your family. For this reason, our lawyers will rigorously represent your interests when the matter goes before the courts.
Summarily only offences (offences which are dealt with summarily at the Magistrates court)
DRIVING WITH EXCESS ALCOHOL
FAILURE TO PROVIDE A SAMPLE OF BREATH FOR ANALYSIS
DRIVING WHILST DISQUALIFIED
DRIVING WITHOUT INSURANCE
MOBILE PHONE OFFENCES
In normal circumstances, prosecutions for summary offences have to begin within six months from the date of the alleged offence. This does not mean that you would have had to receive the summons within six months of the date of the offence. This means that the Prosecution has to provide details of the offence to the court.
The time limit itself begins on the date of the offence and not from the date of the discovery of the offence.
Almost all motoring offences and many public order offences and even some involving violence are what are known as summary offences that is to say they can only be dealt at the magistrate’s court.
In normal circumstances prosecutions for summary offences have to begin within six months from the date of the alleged offence. Additionally, unless you were warned of possible prosecution at the time of the offence, you must be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) which should be received within 14 days of the alleged offence.
However, the law allows extensions to these periods in certain circumstances. For example, in motoring offences which have been detected without the driver being stopped, the NIP must be sent so that in normal circumstances it is received by the registered keeper within 14days. However, if it is delayed in the post, or if, say, it is eaten by the recipient’s dog, the prosecution is not automatically made void. Prosecutors are also allowed and extension to the NIP period if they can show that it took longer than usual to trace the registered keeper or the driver. Extensions to the six month overall period are more difficult to secure but are sometimes allowed.
You should also bear in mind that six months is the time allowed only for the prosecution to begin which normally means a first hearing date in court. Many cases take much longer than this to reach a conclusion.
Finally, the failure of a defendant to respond to any paperwork relating to either the NIP or the court case itself so that the six month deadline is passed will not normally lead to the case being timed out. In these circumstances the prosecution may go ahead in the absence of the defendant. When he is finally informed of the courts’ decision it will be for him to show why he failed to respond.
THE FIRST APPEARANCE
When you receive a summons, you will be given the date of the First Hearing of your case. This is the hearing in which you will enter a plea of either Guilty or Not Guilty.
What if I wish to enter a guilty plea?
If you wish to plead guilty, you should attend court on the date of your First Appearance. You should take with you all the evidence that you have in order to keep the penalty to a minimum. You can also do this in advance of the hearing, by sending a statement of mitigation. You should also take with you the following;
1. Your driving license, including the paper counterpart
2. A completed statement of your income and expenditure.
3. Any other mitigation which you may wish to have considered by the court (for e.g., letters of reference from your employer, community heads or even close members of family.
The reason for providing a letter of reference to the court, particularly from your employer, is so that the court can understand how important it may be for you to be able to keep your driver’s license and continue to drive. A taxi driver or a delivery driver may depend on their license far more than an individual who only uses their vehicle for long distance trips once every fortnight.
The underlying reason for this is to explain to the court, the impact that it would have on you, your employment and possibly other people around you (if for example you are the sole bread winner in your family)
Other factors which you may be of relevance in your mitigation are whether you are single or married, have children or other dependents, whether your job involves much travel, whether your job involves delivery or visiting sites, whether you have been banned previously and the effect on you and your family if you lost your job ( this list is non-exhaustive)
What if I wish to enter a not guilty plea?
If you wish to enter a not guilty plea, then you do not have to attend court on the first date. Instead, you can write to the court indicating that you wish to enter a not guilty plea. However, avoid going into any detail as to your reasons for entering a not guilty plea, because the court will not be interested in dealing with the facts at this stage. You will have the opportunity to argue your innocence at a future date, which will be set by the court after it is informed of your intention to enter a not guilty plea.
After you send your letter, it is advisable to telephone the court and confirm that your letter has been received. Failure to inform the court of your desire to enter a not guilty plea, could lead to you being convicted in absence.
Being charged at a Police Station
This is different from the situation where you receive a summons to appear before the court.
If you are charged and bailed from a Police station, then you must attend court on the date and time detailed in your bail sheet. If you fail to attend court on the specific date and time, you will be committing a separate criminal offence. This means that a warrant will be issued for your arrest. In this situation, you cannot enter a not guilty plea in writing. You must attend court in person.
Can I represent myself?
In the Magistrates court, you can represent yourself. However, be aware that your lack of legal training will not excuse a poorly prepared case. You must take your time and give careful consideration to all the facts and issues.
Can I ask for the Duty Solicitor?
For driving offences, you cannot usually seek the assistance of a Duty solicitor. However, where the offence is of a serious nature, you may be directed by the legal advisor or even the magistrates to speak to the Duty solicitor. These are often situations where there is the possibility of a custodial sentence
Can I apply for legal aid?
The scope for application of legal has been reduced dramatically over the years, and the likelihood of being granted legal aid for motoring offences is very rare. The most common instances of legal aid being granted for motoring offences are those involving Dangerous Driving, Excess Alcohol (where there is the likelihood of a custodial sentence) or where there is a particularly complex point of law involved.
Can I ask a friend or family member to talk for me?
Generally, you are allowed to take a friend or family member with you to assist you. This is known as a McKenzie Friend. The McKenzie Friend can help you by taking notes, giving you advice etc. However, the McKenzie friend cannot present the case on your behalf.
What should I take with me to court?
Driving license (both the photo-card and paper counterpart)
Statement of your means (income and outgoings). A form will be available for you to complete at court
Your evidence (photographs, medical notes etc)
The witnesses who you seek to rely on
Any character references
If you have a general inquiry about a Motoring offence, you may contact one of our team of dedicated lawyers will be able to assist you. It is important, particularly with motoring offences that representations are made within the specified time limits. Failure to observe such time limits may result in further costs and inconvenience to you.
The information contained in this website is not intended to substitute or take the place of a solicitor. We strongly suggest that you consult a solicitor who will be able to address your individual needs.
The laws and regulations contained are contained from professional sources, and are subject to change and differing interpretations. It is prepared for use in England or Wales. It is not suitable for Scotland or Northern Ireland. We cannot guarantee that it will be up to date at the time of your reading.
As with any legal matter, the information in this website is only intended to provide a general guide. It is not specific legal advice for your individual needs. As such, we cannot predict all of the circumstances in which it may be used.
The author, nor its associated firm, shall be liable to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information or any mistake contained in this website.
We are currently creating content for this section. In order to be able to keep up with our high standards of service, we need a little more time. Please stop by again. Thank you for your interest!