At Emery Johnson Astills, we know how important your driving licence is to you and how stressful it can be to find yourself accused of a driving offence. With our expert legal advice and support, we can give you the best chance of a positive outcome, including keeping your licence wherever possible.
It can appear as if there is a camera on every corner and even the safest and most conscientious of motorists may find themselves involved in an incident, investigated and prosecuted by the police.
We can help you understand what might happen if a driving offence goes to court and, if your licence is in jeopardy, the steps we can take to increase the likelihood that you will get to keep it.
We have particular expertise in making ‘exceptional hardship’ applications to the court where a driver is in danger of being disqualified due to ‘totting up’ (i.e. where you have accumulated 12 or more points on your licence over a number of offences).
Our team is available to represent you at the police station 24 hours a day, and we can represent you in both the Magistrates and Crown Court.
We can offer representation on both a privately and Legal Aid funded basis (where available) and offer fixed fee options to suit your needs for most road traffic offences to help manage your costs.
Our road traffic offences expertise
We offer comprehensive legal guidance and representation for all types of minor and more serious road traffic offences, including:
While many people choose not to challenge speeding offences, if you feel the charge is unfair, we can help. This can be especially important where you are in danger of a ‘totting up’ ban, where a speeding offence will push you over the 12-point threshold to lose your licence.
There can be various options for challenging a speeding charge, including questions about the accuracy of speed cameras and the correct use of radar speed guns. If you believe you were not speeding, we can explore all of the available options for your defence.
Using a mobile phone while driving
Using a handheld mobile phone while driving is a criminal offence, even if you are stationary in traffic. For minor offences, this can see you receive 3 penalty points and a fine. However, if the circumstances are more serious, using a mobile phone while driving could potentially see you charged with dangerous driving.
With these charges often being based on what a police officer believes they have observed, our driving offences lawyers may be able to build a defence around any questions over the reliability of the officer’s evidence, helping you to achieve a favourable outcome.
Totting up offences
The most common way for people to have their driving licence taken away is via a ‘totting up ban’. This means you have accumulated 12 points or more on your licence within a 3-year period. For new drivers the threshold is only 6 points during the first 2 years after they pass their test.
We have extensive experience challenging totting up bans, including through exceptional hardship arguments, as well as by challenging specific charges and convictions to help you avoid hitting the points threshold.
Also known as ‘driving without due care and attention’, this means that either you were considered to be driving below the standard expected of a competent driver or not showing reasonable consideration for other vehicles and pedestrians. Careless driving carries serious penalties, including a fine and up to 9 points on your licence.
There are various factors that can increase the seriousness of the charge, for example if you were driving at excessive speed. However, there are also factors that we can use to help mitigate the penalties, such as where you show genuine remorse and are of good character.
This is where the way you drive falls far below the standard expected of a careful and competent driver. The penalties include a significant fine, up to 2 years in prison and disqualification for at least 12 months, with a requirement to retake your test when the disqualification period is over.
In many cases, the line between careless driving and dangerous driving can be ambiguous, so our defence can often involve demonstrating that although the driving alleged may have fallen below that expected of a competent driver, it is not in fact dangerous. This can significantly reduce any potential penalty and effect upon you.
Drink driving and drug driving
Driving while unfit through drink or drugs is a serious offence which is likely to see you immediately disqualified from driving, as well as potentially facing an unlimited fine and prison sentence of up to 6 months (or up to 14 years for causing death by careless driving while unfit through drink or drugs).
Our driving offence team can review any available options for helping you to avoid a driving ban, including a possible special reasons argument which could help you keep your licence if at all possible.
Driving without a licence and/or insurance
Driving without a full licence can see you receive 3-6 points and a fine of up to £1000, while driving without a licence and insurance can result in an additional 6-8 points and a fine of up to £5000. You can also be banned from obtaining a full licence for a period at the court’s discretion.
While driving without a valid licence is considered an ‘absolute offence’, there are mitigating factors that may help you receive lesser penalties. This can include entering a guilty plea early and being a first-time offender. There can also be special reasons that a court may take into account, such as if there was risk of serious harm to someone if you did not drive at the time of the offence.
Driving without insurance, but with a valid licence, can see you receive a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points.
Death by driving
Causing death by driving is the most serious motoring offence. The maximum sentence can be up to 14 years imprisonment, depending on the circumstances, as well as disqualification from driving and the need to take an extended driving test once the disqualification period is over.
There are four types of death by driving offence:
- Causing death by dangerous driving
- Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink of drugs
- Causing death by careless driving
- Causing death by driving when unlicensed, disqualified and/or uninsured
Your case could be based around pleading guilty to a lesser charge, such as causing death by careless driving rather than death by dangerous driving. Our driving offences solicitors can advise you on the suitability of such a strategy and your options for mitigating the potential penalties.
Appeals against driving convictions
We regularly help motorists appeal convictions for road traffic offences. Whether we handled your original defence, or you need a fresh set of eyes on your case, we can provide a realistic assessment of your situation and advise you on the likelihood of an appeal succeeding.
We can then guide and represent you through the entire appeals process, giving you the strongest chance of seeing your conviction overturned.
Our legal fees for motoring offences
Our driving offences solicitors can offer a variety of options to cover the cost of your defence.
Legal aid for motoring offences
Legal aid may be available for more serious motoring offences, depending on the circumstances. This will generally include any road traffic offence dealt with in Crown Court and the more serious offences dealt with in Magistrates’ Court.
You will normally need to undergo a means test to qualify for legal aid to cover the cost of your defence for a motoring offence. You may also need to undergo a merit test, to show that funding your defence is in the interests of justice.
Privately funded defence for motoring offences
You can privately fund your legal defence in a number of ways, including with your own finances or with options such as legal expenses insurance.
Fixed fee defence services for road traffic offence
We are often able to offer our defence services for motoring charges on a fixed fee basis. This typically relates to straightforward offences and we will be happy to advise you on whether a fixed fee deal may be available for your particular circumstances.
To find out more about our legal fees for driving offences, please get in touch.
Why use our road traffic offences solicitors?
Our lawyers are experts in all types of driving offences, having a strong track record of successfully defending clients in both Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court.
With decades of experience across our team, we know exactly what to look for when creating a strong defence, including all of the possible legal angles we can use to help you get the best possible result.
We provide a 24-hour service for police station interviews and out-of-hours court hearings, so we can offer immediate, expert help you when you need us most.
Our team includes Accredited Police Station Representatives and several members of the Solicitor’s Association of Higher Court Advocates (SAHCA).