Top 10 Traffic Offences
General practice lawyers who deal with multiple areas of criminal law often aren’t fully familiar with the intricate legal arguments that can be used to defend your case if you have been accused of any of the motoring offences below;
We have very kindly been advised by one of the leading road traffic offence solicitors in the UK, Patterson Law have been very helpful in providing this information for us and will gladly answer a question about your motoring offence totally free of charge…… here’s what they told us;
Failure to provide driver details
If you are caught committing a road traffic offence, you will be sent a section 172 information request.
You will be given six penalty points on your licence if you do not return the completed request.
The available defences you can use are S172(4) and Section172(7)(b) Road Traffic Act 1988.
A defence is valid if you demonstrate that you have used reasonable diligence to track down who was driving the vehicle at the time of the alleged motoring offence, or that you have never received the section 172 request form to provide the necessary information.
No Valid Insurance
Without valid car insurance, you are considered guilty no matter what your circumstances.
When found guilty, or if you plead guilty to driving without insurance then you will get 6 – 8 penalty points.
Drivers are often unaware that their insurance provider has cancelled their motor insurance and not informed them.
You can use a special reasons argument if you can show that you honestly believed that you had proper car insurance in place.
As well as 3 – 6 points, the penalty for speed related driving offences can include a discretionary ban, a fine and costs.
Without expert testimony in your defence it is becoming increasingly difficult to contest speeding allegations. However, as it is one of the most common road traffic offences in the Uk and it’s never been easier to be caught by a camera or mobile camera van, it’s important to know where you stand when accused of speeding offences.
With so many regulations required to make a speed accusation enforceable, it is well worth checking that any devices or equipment used was legally calibrated and being used in accordance with procedure. (Quite often they are not).
Drinking and Driving
The maximum breath reading for drink driving in the UK is 35mg. The minimum driving licence disqualification for drinking and driving is one year.
The three legal defences for drink drive are that you were not the driver of the vehicle, you were not driving in a public place, or that you didn’t drink alcohol until after you had finished driving.
In some instances, if you only drove for a very short distance, or it was a genuine life threatening emergency, or if you can demonstrate that you unwittingly consumed alcohol then you may also avoid a drinking and driving disqualification.
Drunk in charge of a vehicle
Not only do the prosecution need to prove to the court that you were the person in charge of the vehicle, but they also need to prove to the court that you were over the drink drive limit.
A frequently used defence for drunk in charge of a vehicle is to show to the court that you didn’t intend to drive and were not planning to do so until you were below the drink drive limit again.
You face either ten points and even a possible discretionary driving ban if you are found guilty of being drunk in charge of a vehicle.
Mobile Phone Driving Offences
You have to be holding and using a phone whilst driving to be guilty.
Different Magistrates take different viewpoints on this offence.
You are still driving even when stationary at road works or in a temporary hold up.
Without Due Care Road Traffic Offences
A conviction for driving without due care and attention requires the prosecution to prove that the standard of your driving fell below the standard expected from a careful & competent motorist.
Driving offences covered include undertaking on motorways and low speed knocks.
For this offence, the police can offer you a Driving Improvement Course instead of going to court.
Fail to Report
You are required by law in accordance with Section 170 of the RTA 1988 to stop and exchange details following an accident if there was damage to a vehicle, person or property.
You must report the accident to a police officer within 24 hours if you were unable to exchange details at the time of the accident.
If found guilty you will receive five – ten points on your driving licence or a discretionary driving licence ban.
To defend this successfully, you need to convince the Court that it would be reasonable for you not to know that you had caused damage and been in an accident.
The court can impose community service or even a custodial service depending on the circumstances of your driving offences.
Dangerous Driving Road Traffic Offences
To successfully convict you for dangerous driving will require the prosecution to demonstrate that the quality of your driving fell well below the required standard. In addition, they will have to demonstrate that it would be clearly obvious to any competent and careful driver that your driving was in fact dangerous.
The penalty for dangerous driving is a minimum 1 year ban, a complete driving licence re-test before you can get your licence back and custody.
There is often confusion surrounding this offence.
If you are stopped while driving not in accordance with the conditional limitations relevant to your current driving licence, for example not having passed a driving test or not having L plates, then it is an endorsable driving offence.
A non-endorsable offence would be if the DVLA asked you to return your current licence and they suspend your driving entitlement.
Many people believe that ‘no licence’ means that your motor insurance policy is null and void, but that is incorrect.
Courts and authorities quite often make errors with this driving offence, so make sure you have an motoring law expert on your side.