Receiving a conviction for a driving offence could have serious consequences for the livelihood of you and your family. With the potential loss of your licence, you could risk losing your job, face the prospect of a heavy fine and in extreme cases you could be sent to prison.
If you are caught committing a motoring offence, Paul Crowley & Co are here to help and to explain what the possible penalties could be.
Minor motoring offences
Minor offences can lead to receiving a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), which is a conditional offer. Either you can pay a fine and accept points on your licence or reject the offer and have to appear in court.
Minor offences can include:
- Failing to stop at a red traffic light
- Failing to comply with restricted turns
- Failing to park safely
If you accept the penalty, you must pay the fine within 28 days or it will increase by 50%. However, if you choose to reject the offer and you’re subsequently found guilty in court, the fine will be much higher than the original fixed penalty.
Major motoring offences
More serious motoring offences are dealt with in the magistrates’ court. If you dispute the allegation, Paul Crowley & Co solicitors are here to help and will be able to advise you on your best course of action.
This is the most common offence and typically involves 3-6 penalty points and a fine or, depending on the speed, disqualification.
Currently, the legal alcohol limit in England and Wales is 35 micrograms per 100 millilitres of breath.
It is advised that if you’re driving, you shouldn’t drink at all as police could pull you over at anytime and breathalyse you to check your alcohol levels. The penalty for being found guilty of drink driving could be an unlimited fine, a driving ban, and up to 6 months imprisonment.
Emma says: “If you have been charged by the Police with a driving offence before choosing to accept or refuse the charge, it is important that you seek specialist legal advice. Call our motoring offence team and we will advise you on your best course of action”.
Emma Smith, Director
Paul Crowley & Co solicitors
Similar to drink driving, police can do roadside drug tests if they suspect you of driving under the influence. The penalty for being found guilty can be an unlimited fine, up to 6 months in prison and a driving ban lasting at least 12 months. Again, this will lead to a criminal record and mean you may struggle to get insurance or employment.
Driving without due care and attention
Sometimes called careless driving, this offence is where a driver falls below the standard of a reasonable driver. It could mean a small fine and 3 penalty points, but more serious occasions could lead to disqualification.
This is where a driver falls far below the standard of a reasonable driver, including racing or dangerously overtaking someone. A judge hearing a dangerous driving case has the power to hand down an unlimited fine, disqualification and up to 14 years in prison.
Causing death by dangerous driving
Causing the death of another person whilst driving dangerously as defined in the Road Traffic Act 1988 is of course, very serious and could lead to up to 14 years in prison. However, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is currently being considered in the House of Lords and, if passed could see a maximum life sentence imposed.
When should I seek legal advice?
If you admit to the offence and have been offered a driver improvement course or a 3 point fixed penalty there is really no purpose in obtaining legal advice and you should simply conclude on the terms offered.
If you dispute the allegation, or the case has been referred to court, then you should seek legal advice immediately.
Paul Crowley & Co… on your side
If you have been stopped by the police for a motoring offence and you feel that you may have a defence, Paul Crowley & Co solicitors are here to help. Contact our friendly team of motor offence specialists so that the merits of your case can be considered fully.
WHAT TO DO NEXT…
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