Advice For Road Traffic Offences

Road Traffic Offence Advice

General practice lawyers who deal with multiple areas of criminal law often aren’t fully familiar with the intricate legal arguments that can be put forward on your behalf if you have been accused of any of the motoring offences below;

Fail to Provide driver information

If you are caught committing a driving offence, you will be sent a S172 driver information request.

You will be given six points on your licence if you do not return the completed request.

You have 2 possible defence options, Section172(4) and Section172(7)(b) Road Traffic Act 1988.

Either, show you used reasonable diligence to identify the driver, or you didn’t receive the section 172 request to do so.

Driving With No Insurance

It doesn’t matter what your excuses for driving without valid motor insurance are, when caught, you are automatically assumed guilty.

car crushed for not being insured
Cars without valid insurance face being crushed

Pleading guilty to driving with no car insurance, or being convicted of the offence will earn you 6 – 8 penalty points on your driving licence.

Drivers are often unaware that their insurance broker has cancelled their policy and not notified them.

If you can show you genuinely believed you had insurance, you can use a Special Reasons Argument.

Speed Limit Offences

Speeding offence convictions include three – six penalty points, a driving ban (depending on the circumstances of the offence), a fine and incurred court costs.

Expert evidence is required if you are going to succeed in defending your alleged speeding offence in court.

Repeated speeding offences frequently lead to 12 point totting up disqualifications, but it is possible to use an exceptional hardship argument and keep your licence even if you have 12 points or more.

An experienced motoring solicitor will be able to advise you and structure an exception hardship defence for your speeding offence circumstances.

Drinking and Driving

In the UK the maximum breath reading for drink drive is 35mg. Drinking and driving carries a minimum licence ban of one year.

To win in court, defending a drinking and driving allegation, you need to be able to prove that you were not the driver, or that you were not in a public place or on a public road, or that you consumed the alcohol after you finished driving, not before.

Other possible defences for drinking and driving charges are that you drove only for a very short distance, that it was an emergency situation, or that you unknowingly consumed alcohol without knowing at the time.

Drunk in Charge Motoring Offences

The prosecution must prove to the court you were over the legal drink driving limit and in charge of the car.

If you were not intending to drive until you were under the drink driving limit and can prove this to the court then you have a viable defence.

You can be given a discretionary driving ban in addition to a mandatory either 10 penalty points if the court find you guilty of the offence.

Mobile Phone Offences

While you are driving, you have to be holding and using a phone in order to be guilty of this road traffic offence.

This can be a grey area and different Magistrates Courts often have differing opinions.

It is still an offence if you are stationary at traffic lights or a temporary hold up.

Unless you can prove that your phone wasn’t being used to make communications while you were driving, this offence is difficult to defend.

In many instances, if it can’t be proved that you were making a call etc. but the phone was seen in your hand, you can be prosecuted for due care and attention or even dangerous driving, so it is a tricky issue to defend successfully without experienced guidance.

No Driving Licence Motoring Offences

This is one offence that often causes a lot of confusion.

If you are driving not in accordance with the conditions of your driving licence .i.e. no L plates or having never passed a test, it is an endorseable offence.

Should you fail to return your current licence to the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency when asked, and they then suspend your driving entitlement, the offence is non-endorseable.

Many people believe that ‘no licence’ means that your insurance policy is null and void. We asked one of the leading motoring law experts in the UK Emma Patterson of Solicitors Patterson Law who said, “this is not the case, your insurance isn’t automatically void because of a no licence offence. Many Courts are equally unsure of the correct legal position and a huge amount of drivers are unwittingly being penalised because they believe what they are being told.”

Many Courts and police officers are unsure as to whether this offence carries points or not. Make sure you have a motoring law specialist on hand to guide them to guarantee the best outcome for your court case.

Due Care & Attention Motoring Offences

Your driving standards have to be proved to have fallen below those expected from a competent and careful driver in order for the court to find you guilty of driving without dure care.

Motoring offences covered include undertaking on motorways and low speed scrapes.

As an alternative to being prosecuted in Court, the police can offer you a Driver Improvement Course.

Failure to Stop Motoring offences

Section 170 of the 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.

If you cannot exchange details with the other party, you must report the incident to the police as soon as reasonably practicable and at most within twenty four hours.

Carrying five – ten driving licence penalty points or a discretionary ban, this is a serious offence.

If you can demonstrate to the Court that you weren’t aware that damage had been caused and that it was reasonable that you weren’t aware that you had had an accident then you have a possible legal defence.

Magistrates consider these road traffic offences to be serious. Because of that it has the power to impose community service or even prison sentences if your circumstances warrant it.

Dangerous Driving Offences

Dangerous driving convictions require the prosecution to show that the level of your driving fell well below the required standard. They will also have to prove that it would be clear to any careful and competent driver that your driving was in fact dangerous.

Dangerous driving carries a twelve month driving licence disqualification minimum, and an extended re-test and can also include custody.


26 thoughts on “Advice For Road Traffic Offences”

  1. Motorists are just seen as an easy way to raise more money. It’s got nothing to do with road safety, that’s just a smoke screen. This is great advice for anyone who’s been caught.

    1. You say it’s nothing to do with road safety, but what we can’t establish is how much higher road deaths and casualties would be without any cameras at all. Maybe they are keeping the death toll in check and stopping it from rising further?

      1. Cameras just make small stretches of road safer, moving future accidents to other none camera pieces of road. People like driving too fast…. always have, always will.

  2. I think drivers are seen as a soft target for revenue raising and it’s an easy way to tax us in the name of safety.

  3. If politicians really want to save lives, they would limit the speeds of cars by law so manufacturers couldn’t make family cars capable of doing 155 mph.

  4. Road traffic laws are increasingly written to catch more and more drivers, the majority of whom are not intentionally doing anything wrong. It angers me that drivers are hounded like they are.

  5. I agree totally with mobile phone laws as it’s very dangerous to use a phone while driving, but the law treats people who have a failed insurance direct debit the same as people who don’t bother to buy any insurance at all…. which is grossly unfair.

    1. Mobile phone calls and even worse, texting and emailing while driving are the biggest and most dangerous issues for motorists. Without more police I don’t know how to stop it??

  6. Speeding is always going to be a big issue in the UK. I object to the tiny little hidden constant speed cameras that seem to be appearing in towns and villages with very few signs…… just to raise money.

  7. Caught the other day by a recently installed SPECS camera in a tiny little village. No signs to tell you its there…… can I defend it in court?

    1. Having warning signs is advisory, not an actual law…. the only speeding law regarding signs is that the speed limit needs to be shown at given distances to be enforceable. Apparently camera warning signs are only there as a good will gesture!!

    2. We have had a SPECs system installed in our village, and they changed the limit from 40 to 30 at the same time…… I dread to think how much they have raised so far, on this busy A road, but it must be huge.

  8. The biggest worry when driving is the amount of drink and drug drivers who seem to get away with it because we leave camera to police our roads for us now.

  9. It’s all to easy to collect 12 points these days, especially if you drive on unfamiliar roads regularly. I reckon it’s the governments way of emptying the roads of traffic….. always have a load of drivers banned!!

  10. Running a car is so expensive these days, it’s no wonder that so many drivers don’t even bother to pass a test and get a licence.

  11. In UAE the issue a new number plate annually with your insurance and registration, so it’s easy to see if a car is not legal…… why can’t we do the same thing? Is it because we have many more cars on our roads?

  12. Without a tax disc in the windscreen, it’s harder than ever to know if someone is driving legally or not, and with so few police on the roads, the chances of getting caught must be lower than ever. They say over 1,000,000 cars are driving uninsured and I can totally believe it.

  13. As long as the government feel the need to protect us from ourselves, there will always be a way to raise more cash from motorists.

  14. Maybe they should reward good driver with positive points if they don’t commit any offences, and these could be used to offer cheaper insurance?

  15. It’s frightening how many drivers take to the roads either drunk or high on drugs. Recreational drug use is on the increase and the police are way behind with being able to catch offending drivers. It’s scary to think who might be coming the other way?

  16. Lots of negative chatter on here, but what about the drop year on year in youngsters dying in cars? The progressive new driver rules have made a big difference to keeping our kids safe and that should be applauded.

    1. So true, and in conjunction with insurance monitors, we now have a generation of drivers that obey the limits everywhere….. which also acts to slow down other traffic too. Whether that then adds to road rage is another issue, but on the whole am quite confident that my kids will get home safely every night.

  17. My concern is all the drivers you see looking down while they are driving. Talking on the phone has become taboo, so drivers text instead, which in my opinion is much worse

  18. I used to commute, now I work from home. Every time I have to drive anywhere I wonder how I used to do it everyday….. the roads are becoming gridlocked and full of frustrated drivers, all angry with each other

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