Types of Motoring Offences

road-car-tireThere are many different types of motoring offences, many of which have their own particular defences and considerations. Whatever type of offence you are dealing with, we can help – contact us to discuss your case.

Here we introduce some of the most common offences, along with likely implications / penalties.

Speeding is the most common motoring offence and one that carries 3-6 penalty points or a driving ban. Often speeding happens due to confusion about newly-imposed speed limits. If you were caught doing more than 30mph over the limit (for example, 105mph on a motorway) or speeding in a residential area then the court will consider disqualifying you.  A ban is not compulsory though, and if your mitigation is presented professionally, you might well escape with penalty points.

Failing to provide a sample of breath, blood or urine is an offence related to drink driving – it is designed to ensure that suspects do not escape punishment by refusing to provide a sample. However, there are a number of good reasons why suspects may not be able to provide a sample, such as medical complaints, or fear of needles. In addition, it is quite common for police officers to adopt the wrong procedure where suspects do not provide a sample.  Both the procedure itself, and the law relating to it, are complicated.  It is important that legal advice is taken before deciding how to plead, if you think a mistake was made here.

Drink driving, or driving whilst under the influence of drugs, can both carry prison sentences and the court must impose a driving ban.

However, there can be considerable variation in the outcome of your case. For example, depending upon the level of alcohol or drugs in your sample, you may avoid a prison sentence (of up to six months.) if the court instead imposes a fine or a community order.

The disqualifications that the court must impose are for a minimum of twelve months but maybe for considerably longer. Therefore, in order to be able to put forward arguments for imposing the minimum ban, it is important that you and your solicitor carefully prepare the presentation of your case for any sentencing hearing.

You should always seek legal advice before pleading guilty.

Failing to identify the driver of a vehicle is an offence committed when the police write to the owner of a vehicle seeking to establish who committed an offence such as speeding. Failing to respond or giving incomplete information can lead to six penalty points – which is often more than would have been imposed for the original offence!

There are a number of defences to this offence.  For example, if you were away at the time the notice was sent, or did not receive it, then you may have a defence.  This can be tricky though, and so you should take legal advice before deciding how to plead.

Careless driving / driving without due care and attention is driving that ‘falls below the standard of a reasonable driver’. What is “reasonable” depends on all of the surrounding circumstances and is a matter for the magistrates to decide on a case by case basis.

Those convicted of careless driving can expect a fine of up to £5,000, anything up to nine penalty points and/or a driving ban.

It is an offence that can cover a minor prang in a car park through to quite serious accidents. As there is also often more than one person involved in an incident of careless driving, it can be difficult to decide where the blame really lies. Please get in touch to discuss your case.

Dangerous driving is a step up from careless driving – it is driving that ‘falls far below the standard of a reasonable driver’. Again, the magistrate or judge will decide what is “reasonable” and what is “far below”. Usually, if the poor driving was done deliberately rather than accidentally, that will be considered dangerous driving. It is an offence that can often reach the Crown Court – where sentences of up to two years’ imprisonment can be imposed for this offence. In addition, the court will impose a disqualification until you have passed a special “extended driving test

Causing death by careless driving / death by dangerous driving are serious matters that usually result in a custodial sentence. It is extremely important that a solicitor is instructed at the earliest opportunity in these cases. This is because it is often necessary to have a second autopsy in order to properly ascertain the cause of death. If you leave it too long to instruct your solicitor there may not be enough time to carry out this autopsy before the funeral.

Driving whilst uninsured carries 6-8 penalty points or a driving ban and a fine. Like many motoring offences it can be committed unwittingly – you may not know that a policy has lapsed, for example. If this is the case you will not have a defence, but may well have grounds for asking the court not to impose any penalty points because of a “special reason”. “Special Reasons” are matters that the appeal courts have said can properly be taken into account.

Driving whilst disqualified is an offence taken very seriously by the courts, because it is a breach of a court order. Those convicted can usually expect a further disqualification and possibly a short custodial sentence – it is therefore important to have professional mitigation at court, so that your version of events is properly explained, and the fair sentence imposed.

Sometimes people are banned from driving without their knowledge, for example if the police and court wrote to an old address. Where this happens it is possible to argue that there should be no punishment.

Failing to stop at the scene of an accident, or failing to report an accident, are both offences that can (depending on the circumstances) lead to points, a ban or imprisonment.

Sometimes the circumstances in which a defendant left the scene of an accident can amount to a defence, or at least be a good reason for reducing a sentence substantially.

If you find yourself facing licence endorsement, a ban or a conviction for any reason, contact us to find out how we can help. We are experienced at persuading courts not to impose penalty points and disqualifications, and in the case of a criminal trial, can advise you about whether you have a defence, and/or represent you in putting your version of events to the court.

Regan Peggs Solicitors

Regan Peggs
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