Road Traffic Offences and How to Defend Them
Lawyers who deal with multiple areas of criminal law often aren’t fully familiar with the perfect 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 nominate driver
If you commit a road traffic offence, an s.172 request will be sent to you.
The penalty for not providing the information is six penalty points on your driving licence.
The available defences you can use are Section172(4) and Section172(7)(b) RTA 1988.
Either, show you used reasonable diligence to discover the drivers identity, or you didn’t receive the section 172 request to do so.
No Valid Insurance Offences
It doesn’t matter what your reasons for driving without valid motor insurance are, when caught, you will be assumed guilty. In that regard, driving without insurance offences are ‘strict liability’.
If convicted or you plead guilty you will receive 6 – 8 penalty points.
It is one of the few offences where you are required to prove your innocence rather than the court find you guilty. This is because there are so many insurance providers that it’s not practical for the authorities to be able to check that you have insurance (in real time) so you have to provide proof of insurance cover.
Many people find that their insurance policy was cancelled without them being informed. This can often occur because of direct debit payment issues etc. Insurance companies often don’t inform drivers or letters get missed, leading to an offence being committed without the drivers knowledge.
Failed payments are no defence for accusations of driving without valid motor insurance. It is the driver’s responsibility to drive legally.
If you can show you honestly believed you had valid motor insurance, you can use a Special Reasons Argument.
Speed Related Motoring Offences
Speed related offences carry a driving ban, 3 to 6 points on your licence and a fine as well as incurred court costs.
Without providing expert testimony in your defence it is becoming increasingly complicated to contest these allegations.
Totting up 12 points on your licence is quite common due to all the speed detection cameras in use today. A motoring solicitor can help you to keep your licence even with 12 or more points by using an exceptional hardship defence. This needs to be prepared correctly to succeed.
Drink Drive Road Traffic Offences
The limit in the UK for drinking and driving is 35mg in breath. A twelve month disqualification is the minimum mandatory licence suspension if convicted of drink driving.
If you can demonstrate to the court that you were either; not driving, weren’t on a public road or place, or consumed the alcohol only after you finished driving then you have a valid defence.
If you had some alcohol without knowing it at the time you also have a possible defence and may avoid a disqualification, as is the case with certain life threatening emergency situations and driving for very limited distances.
Drunk in Charge Motoring Offences
The two points that the prosecution are required to establish to secure a conviction are that you were over the drink driving limit and that you were in charge of the motor vehicle at the time of the offence.
If you can demonstrate that you were not intending to drive until you were under the limit then you have a viable defence.
You face 10 points and even a possible discretionary driving licence ban if you are found guilty of being drunk in charge of a vehicle.
Caught Driving with a Mobile Phone
To be guilty of using a phone while driving, you have to be holding and using the phone.
This is often viewed differently by different Courts.
A stop at lights or a traffic jam is still considered to be driving.
Without Due Care Road Traffic Offences
To be convicted of driving without due care, it is necessary for the prosecution to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the quality of your driving was not that of a careful & competent driver.
Motorway driving offences such as undertaking are examples of without due care.
For some offences the police have the discretion to offer you a Driving Improvement Course instead of prosecution.
Failure to Stop Motoring offences
S 170 Road Traffic Act 1988 states that anyone involved in an accident is under a legal duty to stop and offer your details if damage has been caused to either; property, another vehicle or to a person.
Following an accident, if you were not able to provide your details at the time, you must report the accident to the police as soon as is practicable and at most within at least 24 hours.
Failure to Report/Stop carries 5 to 10 driving penalty points or a discretionary driving ban.
You can defend this allegation if you can demonstrate that it would be reasonable for you not to know that you’d been involved in an accident and caused damage.
Failing to stop and failing to report are serious road traffic offences. At worst you can receive a community service or even a custodial sentence.
Dangerous Driving Motoring Offences
The quality of your driving has to fall below what is required but in addition it must be plain to a careful and competent driver that at the time, your driving was dangerous.
Dangerous driving carries a twelve month driving licence disqualification minimum, and a complete driving licence re-test and can also include custody.
No Licence Offences
This offence is frequently misunderstood by drivers.
If you were stopped driving without displaying L plates, or having never passed a driving test, then these would be endorsable offences.
A non-endorsable offence would be if the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency asked you to return your current licence and they suspend your entitlement to drive.
It is wrong to believe that ‘no licence’ means that your motor insurance is invalid, that is incorrect.
Many Courts and police officers are unsure as to whether this road traffic offence carries penalty points or not. Make sure you have a UK driving law expert on hand to guide them to guarantee the best outcome for your court case.