Road Traffic Offences & Defences
Top Ten Most Common Road Traffic Offences
General Practice Solicitors who deal with multiple areas of criminal law won’t always know the ideal legal arguments that can be put forward on your behalf if you have been accused of any of the road traffic offences below;
No Valid Insurance
The law assumes you are at fault and thus guilty,regardless of your reasons or excuses for driving without valid insurance. When found guilty, or if you plead guilty to driving without having valid motor insurance in place then you will get six to eight points.
Insurance policies in this instance have often been cancelled by the provider without the driver’s knowledge. It is possible to have success in court using a special reasons argument if you can show that you honestly believed that you had valid car insurance in place.
Speed Limit Offences
In addition to court costs for your speeding conviction, speeding also carries the following, a fine, three to six points on your licence and a possible driving ban.
Recent motoring case law makes it very difficult to contest speeding allegations without supplying expert evidence.
Drink Driving Offences
The drinking and driving limit in the UK is 35mg in breath. A driving licence disqualification of 1 year is the minimum penalty for a drinking and driving conviction.
If you can show that you were either; not driving, were not on a public road or place, or consumed the alcohol only once you finished driving then you have a defence. In some instances, if you only drove for a very limited distance, or it was an emergency, or if you can prove that you unwittingly consumed alcohol then you may also avoid a ban for drinking and driving.
Fail to nominate driver
If your vehicle is caught breaking a road traffic law, you will have to complete a section 172 information request. You will be given six points as an endorsement on your licence if you do not return the completed request.
The available defences you can use are S172(4) and S172(7)(b) Road Traffic Act 1988. Reasonable diligence needs to be demonstrated to have been carried out to identify who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offence, or, you need to establish that you didn’t receive the Section 172 information request.
Drunk in Charge Motoring Offences
To be found guilty, the prosecution need to prove to the court that you were above the legal drink driving limit and that you were in charge of the vehicle at that time.
A possible defence for drunk in charge is to show the court that you didn’t plan to drive until you were under the drink drive limit. The Court will impose 10 points or a discretionary driving ban.
Using a Mobile Phone While Driving
For an offence to be committed, you have to be holding your mobile while using it. This can be a grey area and different Magistrates Courts often have differing opinions. Being stationary at traffic signals or in a temporary hold up is still classed as driving.
Without Due Care Road Traffic Offences
The prosecution must prove beyond any reasonable doubt the standard of your driving fell below that of a competent and careful driver. Offences covered include undertaking on motorways and low speed scrapes.
As an alternative to prosecution, and depending on your circumstances, the police may well offer you a Driving Improvement Course.
Fail to Stop
S170 RTA 1988 states that anyone involved in an accident is under a 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 exchange at the time at the time, you must report the accident to the police as soon as is practicable and at most in less than twenty four hours.
If you go to court and are found guilty of failing to report or failing to stop then you face 5 to 10 licence points or a discretionary driving licence ban. If you can show that you were unaware you had been involved in an accident and caused damage and that it in not unreasonable for that to be the case then you have a defence.
For the most serious examples of the offence, you can be given community service or even a custodial sentence.
In order to be guilty of dangerous driving, your quality of driving has to be shown to have fallen beneath what is reasonably required, but also, it must also be clearly obvious to a careful driver that your driving was dangerous.
Dangerous driving carries a twelve month driving ban minimum, and a re-test and can also include a prison term.
No Licence Motoring offences
Drivers frequently misunderstand this offence.
If you were stopped driving without displaying L plates, or having never passed a driving test, then these would be endorseable offences. If the DVLA instructed you to return your licence to them and they suspend your driving entitlement, the offence is non-endorseable.
It is often linked to no insurance motoring offences, where it is suggested that no licence means that your car insurance is invalid. This is not the case. Patterson Law can help with free advice to get you the best result possible.
Many Courts and police officers are not sure as to whether this motoring offence carries driving licence penalty points or not. Make sure you have a motoring law specialist on hand to guide them to guarantee the best outcome for your case.