Using Statutory Declarations to Reopen Motoring Cases

Magistrates Court sign
Bartle Halpin Photography

Imagine discovering that you have been charged and convicted of a motoring offence without your knowledge, and that you have been driving whilst disqualified – an imprisonable offence.

It may sound like the plot of a bad dream, but this is exactly the situation in which many drivers are finding themselves, thanks to a newly-introduced court policy of disqualifying drivers in their absence.

If the police or court write to an incorrect or old address, or if the post goes astray, a driver may have no idea that they have even committed an offence in the first place, let alone received a court summons. When they subsequently miss the court date, the courts can impose penalties, including disqualification from driving, in their absence. Understandably, these drivers are getting a nasty shock when they discover the conviction.

It is possible for an individual to reopen a case under these circumstances, by making a ‘statutory declaration’ to say that they have only just become aware of the proceedings. As explained by the Government here, this has the effect of beginning the proceedings again.

However, appointments to swear a statutory declaration in front of a court magistrate often come with a wait of several months – not ideal for anyone who needs to drive regularly. Fortunately, it is possible to swear a statutory declaration in front of a solicitor instead of a magistrate.

At Regan Peggs Solicitors, we can arrange for a driver to swear a statutory declaration as soon as possible – often the same day that the situation comes to light – and have the conviction nullified by the court within a matter of days.

We can also provide representation once the court case re-commences, giving a driver in this situation the best possible chance of avoiding a penalty altogether.

If you have found yourself in this situation and are facing a lengthy wait to see a magistrate, contact us today and let us help get you back in the driving seat.

Regan Peggs
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