Paul Crowley & Co recently welcomed solicitor, Lyndsay Clark, to its fast-growing specialist motor offence team. As changes in the law and stricter penalties have recently come into play, Lyndsay explains the different types of motoring offences and what it could mean should you receive one.
Losing your driving licence can have many detrimental effects to your life and also to your family’s. You could be the sole driver in the household and the loss of your licence could mean simple tasks such as the weekly shop, the school run and family days out are no longer possible. In some cases you could even lose your job, especially if your occupation requires you to be on the road regularly.
Charged with a motoring offence?
Minor offences such as failing to comply with a red traffic light and restricted turns will see you receive a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). An FPN is a conditional offer and you can accept guilt, pay the fine, take the points and the matter will be closed, or you can reject the offer in which case you will need to appear in court. If you are found guilty, the fines imposed by the courts are much greater than the original fixed penalty.
However, the repercussions of major motor offences will be dealt with by the magistrates’ courts. Here is a look into some of the most common violations:
Speeding carries 3-6 penalty points or a driving ban. If you were caught doing in excess of the speed limit, then the court will consider disqualifying you depending on the speed.
Drink or drug driving can both carry prison sentences and a driving ban. Outcomes can vary depending on the level of alcohol or drugs in your sample.
Failing to provide a sample for analysis is an offence related to drink and drug driving – it is designed to ensure that suspects do not escape punishment by refusing to provide a sample.
Failing to stop at the scene of an accident is an offence that can lead to points, a ban or imprisonment.
Driving without due care and attention is driving that falls below the standard of a reasonable driver. It does depend on the surrounding circumstances and is decided by the magistrates on a case by case basis.
Dangerous driving is one up from driving without due care and attention – it is driving that ‘falls far below the standard of a reasonable driver’. The magistrate or judge will again decide on the penalty depending on each case.
Causing death by dangerous driving obviously this is a very serious matter that usually results in a custodial sentence.
Once you have been issued with a summons, you can either plead ‘guilty’ and if the court is considering a ban (depending on the offence) you will need to attend the court, otherwise in some cases you can plead guilty by post or person.
If you plead ‘not guilty’, then seek legal advice to help support your case.
It is always important that a solicitor is instructed at the earliest opportunity, particularly if your case is going to court.
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