How Do I Defend Common Driving Offences?

Top Offences That Need a Motoring Solicitor

General practice lawyers who deal with all areas of criminal law often aren’t fully familiar with the ideal legal arguments that can be used successfully to protect your licence if you have been accused of any of the driving offences below;

No Valid Insurance Offences

When stopped driving without valid motor insurance, you are considered to be at fault and therefore guilty, regardless of your mitigating circumstances.

You will receive 6 – 8 penalty points on your driving licence if convicted or if you plead guilty to the offence.

Frequently, the insurance broker will have cancelled the policy without the driver knowing.

You can use a special reasons argument if you can show that you genuinely and honestly believed that you had proper motor insurance cover in place.

Driving Speeding Offences

You will receive three – six points on your licence for speeding, plus a possible discretionary ban, incurred court costs for your case and a fine.

Professional evidence is required if you are going to succeed in defending your alleged speeding offence in court.

Fail to nominate driver

Following a road traffic offence, you will receive a S172 request. You will receive six points on your licence if you do not complete and return the request.

The 2 possible options for your defence are S172(4) and Section172(7)(b) Road Traffic Act 1988.

To satisfy the court, you need to prove that you used reasonable diligence to establish the drivers identity, or that you have never received the S172 information request.

Drinking and Driving

The drink drive limit in the UK is 35mg in breath. A twelve month driving licence disqualification is the minimum mandatory licence disqualification if convicted of drink driving.

You have a possible defence if you can show you either weren’t the driver, weren’t driving on a public road or place, or consumed the alcohol that took you over the limit AFTER driving.

Other possible defences for drinking and driving charges are that you drove only for a very limited distance, that it was an emergency situation, or that you unknowingly consumed alcohol without knowing at the time.

Drunk in charge of a vehicle

To be found guilty, the prosecution need to prove to the court that you were above the legal drink drive limit and that you were in charge of the vehicle at that time.

By showing the court that you had no intention of driving until you were safe and legal to do so, you can defend this allegation.

The Court will impose 10 points or a discretionary driving ban.

Mobile Phone

A mobile phone road traffic offence is deemed to have been committed if you are holding & using the phone while driving. Magistrates often view this offence differently.

Stopping in a traffic jam, roadwork’s or at traffic lights is still classed as driving, and it is still an offence to use a hand held phone.

Without Due Care Offences

The standard of your driving has to be proved beyond all reasonable doubt by the prosecution to have dropped below the standard of a competent and careful driver in order to convict you of without due care.

Low speed car park bumps as well as undertaking offences are good examples of motoring offences covered by without due care.

At the discretion of the police you can be offered a Driving Improvement Course instead of prosecution.

Fail to Stop and Report Driving offences

Any driver involved in an accident has a legal obligation to stop and exchange details in accordance with Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 if either; property, another vehicle or a person was damaged or injured.

You must report the accident to a police officer within 24 hours if you were unable to provide your details at the time of the accident.

You will receive 5 – 10 driving penalty points or a discretionary driving ban if convicted of this offence.

If you weren’t aware that you had caused damage and can demonstrate to the Court that it would be reasonable for you not to be aware that you had had an accident then you have a possible defence.

These offences are otherwise known as hit and run and are considered most serious by Magistrates Courts.

Dangerous Driving

To be convicted of dangerous driving in court, the prosecution need to establish that at the time of the offence, your driving level fell beneath that expected. In addition, it needs to show that it was clear to a careful driver that at the time, your driving was dangerous.

The minimum penalty for dangerous driving is a 12 month licence disqualification, including an extended re-test as well as a potential custodial sentence.

Driving With No Licence

There is frequently confusion surrounding this offence.

This offence depends on the conditions of your current driving licence, for example, if you have never passed a driving test and are not displaying L plates then the offence is endorsable.

If you have failed to return your driving licence to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency when asked to do so and they suspend your entitlement, it is non-endorsable.

It is wrong that ‘no licence’ means that your motor insurance policy is invalid.

The authorities are often wrong on the issue as to whether this motoring offence carries driving licence penalty points – so request professional advice if you are charged with this offence.

Request a free appraisal & specialist driving law advice for your motoring offence from Patterson Law, one of the leading UK motoring solicitors and find out how you can defend your driving licence.