At Turner Coulston Solicitors our aim is always to provide the best advice based on your particular circumstances.
Motoring Law Offences
The law in relation to motoring offences is complex and has seen a dramatic rise in convictions.
The following should be considered as general information but it must be stressed that the law on this subject is complex and we strongly suggest that you seek advice BEFORE completing any paperwork.
If your car is caught by a speed camera the first thing you will probably know about it is when you receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP). The police must serve this on the registered keeper of the vehicle within 14 days. If they fail to do this, they cannot proceed further. The "registered keeper" is the person or company whose name appears at the DVLA as the registered keeper.
"I don't know who was driving"
If you receive a Section 172 notice requiring you to identify the driver you must comply with it if you are able to do so otherwise you will be liable to prosecution. What if you don't know who was driving? Your obligations vary depending on whether you are the "person keeping the vehicle" or "any other person". The "person keeping the vehicle" is the person who has the day-to-day responsibility for it and who usually but not always keeps it overnight. It may or may not be the same person as the Registered keeper.
So if you are the main or only user of it then you will be the person keeping the vehicle especially if you take it home at night. This is a difficult area of law and because the penalty is so high (a fine and 6 points) we recommend that you speak to us before you reply but do remember the 28-day time limit and don't leave it till the last minute.
Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty or Summons
Once you have returned the NIP, then unless your speed was well in excess of the limit (usually 20 mph) the police will usually issue a conditional offer of a fixed penalty notice. If you receive a conditional office you have two choices:
- To pay the fine and accept 3 penalty points
- To decline the offer (you must do this if you already have 9 points on your license), if you decline or ignore the offer, the police will probably send you a reminder and they then issue a summons. If you decide to accept the fixes penalty, you should return the notice together with your license and the fine. Your license will be returned in due course.
Most of the main motoring offences carry compulsory endorsement of your driving license if you plead, or are found guilty. Some carry a fixed number of points (e.g. 3 for jumping a red traffic light) or variable points (3 to 6 for speeding and 3 to 9 for careless driving).
If you accumulate 12 points within 3 years the Court MUST disqualify you for 6-months unless you can prove "Exceptional hardship". This means exactly what it says. Inconvenience or ordinary hardship isn't enough. This is a very difficult area of law and we strongly suggest that you contact one of our specialist solicitors if you have 6 or more points on your license.
If a driver accumulates 6 points within 2 years of passing the driving test his or her license is revoked until he or she passes the test (including the written test) again.
This carries automatic disqualification of at least 12 months. For a second offence within 10 years the minimum period is 3 years. Defences are very difficult to establish and proving hardship, even exceptional hardship is not a ground for avoiding disqualification.
Many people-try to evade their responsibilities by telling lies of one kind or another. Examples being:
- Naming someone as the driver who was not driving — 'sharing points around your family
- Naming someone from abroad as the driver in the hope that the police will give up. They wont.
We have endeavoured to show just how complex this area of law can be and hopefully illustrated the absolute necessity to obtain comprehensive legal advice from a specialist in motoring law as soon as you are faced with any motoring related offence.
When you need legal advice on any motoring related topic please contact:
John Josephs on: