Road traffic legislation has generated more case law than almost any other area of criminal law, probably because it is challenged so often.
If you have received a summons, postal requisition or a ticket from the police, please speak to one of our road traffic law expert solicitors as soon as possible … we will start working on your case immediately! Here are some of the most frequent enquiries received by our specialist lawyers.
“Should I challenge a speeding ticket?”
There are many sites across the internet which promise to ‘get you off’ a speeding ticket or summons. While such sites may be able to provide you with advice, nothing is guaranteed. If you are being prosecuted for driving at a speed that exceeds the legal limit and you believe you should challenge the case, it will be extraordinarily difficult to do so without the assistance of a specialist road traffic solicitor.
Unfortunately, it isn’t usually as simple as just turning up at court and swearing that you were not travelling at that speed. The first consideration is how your speed was measured – there are multiple ways that the police can measure your speed:
- Gatso cameras (yellow box)
- Average and variable speed cameras
- Hand-held laser speed detection devices
All the methods used must be regularly checked for accuracy and used safely by trained officers.
The second consideration is the location of the detection and whether, for instance, the road markings used are legal and measured correctly.
You may not be automatically entitled to see all the evidence that you require. At Major Family Law, our specialist lawyers will not only fight to get you access to this and they will also ensure that where appropriate, they instruct the best defence experts to challenge it.
“I have received a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), what should I do?”
Some road traffic matters require the police to send a Notice of Intended Prosecution or NIP within 14 days. If this is not completed within the required time period, the prosecution usually cannot proceed.
The NIP asks you to confirm who was driving the vehicle at the time that the offence occurred. Occasionally, this isn’t as easy as it seems, particularly if the car is regularly shared with others.
Failing to respond to an NIP is an offence in its own right, so providing the information is important.
If you simply cannot recall who was driving, you may ultimately have to explain to a court why this is the case. If the court does not accept your explanation, you will be convicted.
Proceeding of this nature must be particularly well prepared. At Major Family Law our motoring law experts have extensive experience in this area. We will guide you through the process, from gathering all the evidence that supports your case to representing you at court.
“I have received a ticket, but I wasn’t on my mobile phone…?”
You may have been caught on camera or observed by a police officer – however, errors continue to be made in both instances. At Major Family Law, our RTA solicitors instruct some of the most accredited experts in their field in order to challenge the accuracy of the depiction or observation. We appreciate that a driving licence is essential to your job, your job and your income.
In most cases, if convicted you will receive six penalty points. (Three if the offence was committed before 1st March 2017). There will also be a fine.
If you reach twelve points for mobile phone offences committed within three years of each other, you are at risk of disqualification for at least six months under the totting up system, unless you can show that this would cause exceptional hardship.
If you are a new driver and reach six points for offences within two years of passing your first driving test, the DVLA will revoke your licence and you would then have to re-take your test.
“Can I plead not guilty to having no insurance?”
Insurance is a ‘strict liability’ offence. This essentially means there is no defence: you either have it or you don’t. However, there are certain circumstances where the court may convict you but also find ‘special reasons’ to impose fewer penalty points – or none at all.
If you have been led to believe that you were covered by insurance and/ or you have taken reasonable steps to accept that you’re covered by a policy of insurance, you may be entitled to advance this argument in court.
In cases involving the separation of partners, it is not uncommon for insurance policies to be cancelled without the knowledge of the other party for instance, and in such a scenario you may be able to argue that you had an honestly held belief that you were still covered by the policy.
However, if the separation was some time ago and the finances have been settled , a court may have expected you to at least have made an enquiry with the insurer. As with a lot of road traffic Law, the rules are not black and white. Instructing a specialist road traffic lawyer at Major Family Law will provide you with a clearer picture of your options.
“What happens if I get 12 penalty points on my licence?”
If you receive 12 points on your driving licence within a particular timescale (three years) – often known as ‘totting up’ – you could be disqualified from driving for at least six months unless you argue at court that this would cause you ‘exceptional hardship’.
What amounts to exceptional hardship is a moveable feast. Obviously, as indicated by the name, it must be something over and above mere inconvenience. It also needs to be evidenced. If you are going to lose your job if you are disqualified, the court will require some proof of this.
Loss of income alone will not necessarily be sufficient for exceptional hardship to be successfully argued before the court. However, the impact that it may have on you and your family could be.
At Major Family Law, we will do our absolute best to keep you on the road and protect your licence. The grounds for exceptional hardship are not finite and we will fully assess your circumstances to ensure that we advance the best possible argument on your behalf.
If there are other areas of road traffic law you have questions about, or a case you wish to discuss, please call Major Family Law and speak to one of our expert road traffic law solicitors. The sooner, the better! We are here to help with any road traffic law query.
Please ring 01661 824582 and one of our road traffic law expert solicitors will call you back.
Photo by Michael Sheehan via Flickr (Creative Commons)