Top 10 Traffic Offences
Solicitors who deal with multiple areas of criminal law often aren’t fully familiar with the intricate legal arguments that can be used successfully to protect your licence if you have been accused of any of the driving offences below;
Fail to Provide driver information
When you commit a motoring offence, you will receive an s.172 request. If you do not complete and return the request, you face six points.
There are 2 statutory defences in the road traffic act, Section172(4) and Section172(7)(b) RTA 1988. Either, prove you used reasonable diligence to pin point who was driving at the time of the offence, or that you didn’t receive the S172 request to do so.
Motoring Insurance Driving Offences
Without valid car insurance, you are considered guilty no matter what your circumstances. Pleading guilty to driving without insurance, or being convicted of the offence will earn you 6 – 8 penalty points on your driving licence.
Frequently, the insurance broker will have cancelled an insurance policy without the driver knowing. If you genuinely and honestly believed that you were insured and can demonstrate that to the court then you can use a special reasons argument.
The penalty for speeding offences is three to six penalty points on your driving licence, a discretionary ban if warranted by your offence, incurred court costs as well as a fine.
Following on from recent UK case law, if you are going to succeed defending your speeding allegations, you will need to have professional evidence to support your legal argument.
Drink Driving Offences
In the UK the maximum breath reading for drink driving is 35mg. If convicted, you face a mandatory minimum driving licence disqualification of twelve months.
To defend your drink drive allegation, you have three legal defences; you were not the driver of the car, you were not in a public place, or you didn’t drink until after you had driven, rather than before.
Other possible defences for drink drive charges are that you drove only for a very limited distance, that it was actual emergency situation, or that you unknowingly consumed alcohol without being aware at the time.
Drunk in Charge Related Motoring Offences
In order for the prosecution to get a conviction for drunk in charge of a vehicle, they will need to show that you were above the legal drink drive limit and that you were in charge of the car.
A common defence to this allegation is to show the court that you were not intending to drive until you were under the drink driving limit again. In addition to receiving either ten points if found guilty, you can also possibly receive a discretionary driving licence ban.
Driving with a Mobile Phone
In order to be guilty of the offence, you must be holding a mobile while using it. Many Magistrates view mobile use while driving differently.
Stopping in a traffic jam, roadwork’s or at traffic signals is still classed as driving, and it is still an offence to use a handheld mobile.
Without Due Care
Your driving standard has to be proved to have dropped below the level expected of a careful & competent driver if you are to be convicted of driving without due care.
Driving without due care and attention covers offences from car park scrapes to offences such as undertaking on a motorway. In some instances, rather than attending Court, the police can offer you a Driving Improvement Course.
Failure to Report an Accident
If, following an accident, damage was caused to a vehicle, person or property, then you have a duty in accordance with S 170 Road Traffic Act 1988 to stop and provide your details.
From the time of your accident you have twenty four hours to report it to a police officer if you were unable to exchange details with the other party at the scene. You will receive 5 to 10 points on your driving licence or a discretionary driving licence ban if convicted of this offence.
One legal defence is that you weren’t aware that you’d had an accident and caused damage. If you can convince the Court that it would be reasonable for that to be the case then you have a valid defence against the allegations.
These motoring offences are otherwise known as hit and run and are considered serious by Magistrates.
Dangerous Driving Road Traffic Offences
To be found guilty of dangerous driving, the level of your driving must fall far below what is required, but also it should be plain to a careful and competent driver that the driving is dangerous.
A conviction for dangerous driving carries a minimum twelve month ban, an extended re-test and a custodial sentence.
No Licence Motoring offences
This is one offence that often causes a lot of confusion.
Driving not in accordance with the conditions of your current driving licence is the biggest cause of this offence, for example, not using L plates if you are a learner and have yet to pass a driving test. This would be an endorsable offence.
If for example you have been asked by the DVLA to return your driving licence & they elect to suspend your entitlement, it is non-endorsable as an offence.
It is a widely held belief that ‘no licence’ automatically means that your insurance is invalid. This is wrong.
This motoring offence is often misunderstood by the police and Magistrates Courts, who often aren’t certain whether the offence carries driving licence penalty points or not.