Advice for UK Motoring Offences
Solicitors who deal with all areas of criminal law often aren’t fully familiar with the perfect legal arguments that can be used successfully to protect your licence if you have been accused of any of the road traffic offences below;
Insurance Related Driving Offences
If you are stopped by the police while driving without car insurance, your reasons for doing so are not relevant and you will be presumed guilty of the offence.
If convicted or you plead guilty you will receive 6 – 8 penalty points. Insurance policies in this instance have often been cancelled by the provider without the driver’s knowledge.
The Special Reasons Argument can be used if you can show the court that you genuinely and honestly believe that you had valid motor insurance in place.
Speed Limit Offences
In addition to costs, a speeding carries 3 – 6 penalty points on your licence, a driving ban and a fine.
Following on from recent UK case law, if you are going to succeed defending your alleged speeding offence, you will need to have expert evidence to support your legal argument. Successful speeding offence cases are becoming rare without providing a recognised expert to provide evidence for you.
Drink Drive Motoring Offences
In the UK the maximum breath reading for drink driving is 35mg. A drinking and driving conviction involves a minimum mandatory driving licence disqualification of 1 year.
The three defences for drinking and driving are that you were not the driver of the car, you were not driving in a public place, or that you didn’t drink until after you had finished driving.
In some instances, if you only drove for a very limited distance, or it was a actual emergency, or if you can show that you were not aware that you had consumed alcohol then you can also avoid a drinking and driving disqualification.
Failure to provide driver details
If you commit a driving offence, an S172 driver information request will be sent to you. If you do not complete and return the request, you face 6 penalty points.
The available defences you can use are Section172(4) and S172(7)(b) Road Traffic Act 1988. You have a valid defence if you can demonstrate to the court that in order to establish the driver at the time of the offence, you used reasonable diligence, or that you didn’t ever receive the S 172 driver identity request.
Drunk in Charge Related Offences
In order to be convicted for being drunk in charge of a vehicle, the prosecution are required to show that you were in fact over the legal UK drinking and driving limit and that you were the person in charge of the motor vehicle at the time.
A frequently used possible defence for drunk in charge of a vehicle is to convince to the court that you didn’t intend to drive and were not planning to do so until you were below the drinking and driving limit again.
Another often attempted drinking driving defence is whats known as the hipflask defence whereby you defend the allegation by proving that you drank the alcohol after you drove, not before.
You can be given a driving ban in addition to a mandatory either ten penalty points on your licence if the court find you guilty of the offence.
Caught Driving with a Mobile Phone
You need to be holding and using a mobile phone whilst driving to be guilty.
Use of a mobile phone whilst driving is often a grey area and Courts very often view it differently. Being stationary at junctions or in a temporary hold up is still classed as driving, as is being parked, with the engine running.
In many instances, police officers don’t take the time or effort to check your phone at the time of the offence which can provide the opportunity for you to later prove in court that your phone wasn’t being used if you can provide evidence from your phone bill to prove it.
Using your phone as a sat nav device or as an iPod or music player is another grey area as the law states that the phone needs to be used for telecommunications purposes. Holding a phone while navigating or playing music isn’t a strict mobile phone offence but you can be prosecuted for undue care and attention unless your device is held in a dash mount.
Driving Without Due Care and Attention
A conviction for driving without dure care requires the prosecution to prove that the quality of your driving fell below the standard expected from a competent and careful motorist.
Driving without due care covers a range of motoring offences from car park scrapes and knocks to offences such as undertaking on a motorway.
Often, the police will offer you a Driver Improvement Training Course as an alternative to facing attending Court.
Failing to Stop/Report an Accident
If you are involved in an accident, you are under a legal obligation to stop and offer your details if damage was caused to property, a person or another vehicle in accordance with Section 170 of the RTA 1988.
From the time of your accident you have twenty four hours to report it to the police if you were unable to provide your details at the time.
Conviction for this offence carries 5 – 10 points on your driving licence or a discretionary ban.
To defend this successfully, you need to convince the Court that it would be reasonable for you not to be aware that you had caused damage and been in an accident.
Fail to Stop and Fail to Report are really serious motoring offences and carry the risk of community service or even custody in the most serious cases.
Dangerous Driving Road Traffic Offences
Dangerous driving convictions require the prosecution to show that the quality of your driving fell far below the standard required. In addition, it should be obvious to a competent driver that at the time of the offence, your driving was indeed dangerous.
Dangerous driving is a serious offence and as such, carries a minimum 1 year driving licence disqualification, a complete driving re-test before you can have your licence back and possibly custody.
Driving With No Licence
Drivers frequently misunderstand this motoring offence.
If you are not displaying L plates and have never passed a driving test then this is an example of an endorseable offence.
If the DVLA asked you to return your driving licence to them and they suspend your driving entitlement, the offence is non-endorseable.
‘No licence’ is widely assumed to mean that your motor insurance is also invalid, but this is not the case.
The Police and Courts are often mistaken with ‘no licence’ cases as to whether this driving offence carries penalty points – so ask for professional guidance if you are charged with this offence.