Curwens Solicitors

Frequent questions

I have received a summons for a road traffic offence, is it worth having a solicitor?
It really depends on the circumstances. Please refer to our guide… more >

Does a drink drive offence always involve disqualification even if I drive for a living? Unfortunately, usually yes. However, it is worth getting advice... more >

I have received a summons but did not get a Notice of Intended Prosecution. Can I ignore it? Notices of Intended Prosecution are not required where a motorist is aware of a possible prosecution. For example ... more >

I was over the limit for driving although I had only had two drinks all night. How can this be?  What counts is the actual level of alcohol... more >

I have been disqualified for three years and two years has passed. Can I apply for my licence back?  Yes, you can and an application to the Court is required. more >

I am not sure what my plea should be. Can you help me? Yes, once we understand the circumstances of the case, we can advise you... more >

What people say

"Help, guidance and professional services were excellent."

"Everything was dealt with in a professional manner".

Road Traffic Offences

More info about these ten offences

Click on the type of offence below to get more information about what you could expect in your situation:

1. Driving with excess alcohol
2. Excess Alcohol in Charge of a Motor Vehicle
3. Failure to provide a Specimen of Breath
4. Speeding
5. Penalty Points
6. Driving without Due Care and Attention
7. Failure to stop after an accident/failure to report an accident
8. Failure to Identify the Driver
9. Notice of Intended Prosecution (“NIP”)
10. Dangerous Driving and Causing Death by Dangerous Driving


1. Driving with Excess Alcohol

 A conviction for driving with excess alcohol will result in a minimum disqualification of 12 months and a fine of up to £5,000. The Court has no option but to impose disqualification but may allow the Defendant to go on a drink/driving awareness course which can reduce the disqualification period by 25%.

There are Magistrates Association Sentencing Guidelines which recommend a rising scale of penalties according to the level of excess alcohol and in more extreme cases lengthy disqualification can be imposed and the Court’s powers include a custodial sentence for the very worst cases.

What we can do?

Firstly we will discuss all the circumstances with you and in appropriate cases obtain disclosure from the Prosecution to advise you as to whether or not there is a defence.

When a plea of guilty is appropriate then we approach the case upon the basis of “damage limitation” as the Court has no option but to disqualify. The objective is to achieve the least period of disqualification possible upon the facts of the case and considering fully the circumstances of the client. In addition, the level of any financial or other penalty cannot be mitigated. The higher the alcohol reading or the more damaging the lengthy period of disqualification then the more consideration should be given to legal representation.

A previous drink/drive conviction within the previous 10 years will result in a minimum disqualification of 3 years. An application can be made to remove the disqualification after 2 years has past.

Defences

There are a number of potential defences available and these will depend upon the particular facts.

Cases

A client was charged with driving with excess alcohol after being stopped by police for a minor motoring offence. The intoximeter breath test resulted in a reading of below 50 and he was therefore entitled to give an alternative sample. A sample of blood was taken and the client’s own sample was independent analysed. The reading was very different from the Prosecution’s and after several Court appearances the Prosecution offered no evidence and the Court made an order for defence costs.


Call now on 0208 363 4444 to speak to Chris Wright or Request a Call Back using the form at the top of this page. Chris will always give you straightforward advice to resolve your issues.


2. Excess Alcohol in Charge of a Motor Vehicle
This charge applies to a situation where a motorist is found in or near his car but not actually driving it. The motorist is found to be above the legal limit for driving. Three good examples are where the driver is sitting in his car parked on a road or public place and is breathalysed and is found to be above the limit.

What we can do?

In this situation the Court has a discretion not to disqualify but to impose 10 penalty points instead. There is also a statutory defence where there is no likelihood that the driver would have driven the car whilst still above the limit.

Case

A driver was sleeping in his car outside a friend’s house where he had attended a party. He was over the limit but we established that there was no likelihood of him driving whilst above the limit. The defence included instructing a scientific analyst who attended Court and gave evidence that the client would have been below the limit by the earliest point in time when he would next have driven.

Call now on 0208 363 4444 to speak to Chris Wright or Request a Call Back using the form at the top of this page. Chris will always give you straightforward advice to resolve your issues.


3. Failure to provide a Specimen of Breath


This charge usually relates to a situation where a motorist cannot or will not provide a specimen of breath. There may be medical reasons for this and this would involve obtaining a medical report. If there is any problem on a plea of guilty it is in the absence of a “reading” the Court has no yardstick by which to measure how much drink has been consumed.

What we can do?

An assumption may be made that the alcohol reading would have been high. Sometimes there is other evidence which can be used to persuade the Court that this is not the case and a longer period of disqualification may be avoided.

Call now on 0208 363 4444 to speak to Chris Wright or Request a Call Back using the form at the top of this page. Chris will always give you straightforward advice to resolve your issues.


4. Speeding Offences


This is one of the most common prosecutions since the widespread introduction of speed cameras.

Speeding offences normally carry between 3 and 6 penalty points although an extreme case can result in immediate disqualification. For most people the main hazard relates to the accumulation of penalty points (see #5 penalty points totting up).

There are a range of speed detection devices available to the police of which the most well known are the “Gatso” fixed camera which takes photographs of a car after the car has passed the camera and photographic evidence is produced demonstrating the speed of the car relative to markings on the road. The TruVelo camera works in a similar way except that it is triggered by sensors under the road as a driver approaches and the photograph is therefore of the front of the car which often enables the driver to be identified.

Radar and laser devices along with vascar are other forms of speed detection devices which are usually deployed on a mobile basis. A prosecution can also be brought upon the basis of evidence of one or more police officers following a vehicle for a period of time.

What we can do?

The defence of such charges may involve obtaining detailed items of disclosure from the Prosecution and/or rigorous cross examination of the police officers giving evidence.

On a plea of guilty much depends upon the speed involved, the current state of the client’s driving licence and his/her personal circumstances and reliance upon the ability to drive if disqualification is an issue.

Call now on 0208 363 4444 to speak to Chris Wright or Request a Call Back using the form at the top of this page. Chris will always give you straightforward advice to resolve your issues.


5. Totting Up – Penalty Points Disqualification and Pleas of Exceptional Hardship
It is a well known fact that where a driver receives 12 or more penalty points on a 3 year period the Court is obliged to impose a disqualification for a minimum of 6 months under what is still referred to as “the Totting Up” Rules.

The Court has a discretion not to impose disqualification only if the motorist can establish exceptional hardship.

By way of explanation the current legislation can be contrasted with the position many years ago when drivers in the UK had a driving licence in the form of a small read booklet. The rule then was that 3 or more endorsements resulted in the totting up situation but could be avoided by establishing “hardship”. In those days, of course, there were no speed cameras and the likelihood of acquiring 3 endorsements in 3 years was fairly low. The significance of this history is that the current legislation refers to exceptional hardship. Thus for almost all motorist a disqualification will cause hardship, the much higher requirement to show exception hardship is much more demanding. This will often include the need to establish the loss of a job, acute financial difficulties arising and compelling personal or family circumstances.

What we can do?

In order to plead exceptional hardship it is essential to go through all the client’s relevant details very carefully in order to build a case for a successful plea of exceptional hardship.

It is necessary to remember that if a plea of exceptional hardship succeeds then the existing penalty points and the new ones remain on the driving licence and the same argument for exceptional hardship cannot be put forward a second time within the relevant period.

It is also possible for the Court to impose a period of disqualification of less than 6 months. There are circumstances of exceptional hardship but short of those which would justify imposing no disqualification.

Cases

1. A client is a professional chauffeur. He was coming up for disqualification under totting up but knew that he had another case pending in another part of the country. By avoiding disqualification at the first Court he would still be caught at the second Court. The Court was persuaded to impose a very short period of disqualification which meant that the penalty points were “used up” and the client was therefore not disqualified further by the second Court.

2. The client had a busy vegetable delivery service involving unsocial hours and the need to go to the market and supervise the number of employees in person. The Court was persuaded that exceptional hardship would result both to him and, more importantly, to his employees as a result of a likely contraction of business which would follow from the disqualification. He was not disqualified.

Call now on 0208 363 4444 to speak to Chris Wright or Request a Call Back using the form at the top of this page. Chris will always give you straightforward advice to resolve your issues.


6. Driving without Due Care and Attention
This offence covers a wide range of situations. At the lowest end it can involve simply bumping another car whilst parking, whilst at the upper end it may involve a serious collision involving damage and injury. The Prosecution have to establish that the motorist has departed from “the standard of driving of a reasonable and careful driver”. Frequent examples include lack of attention at a roundabout or road junction resulting in a collision, driving into the back of another motor vehicle etc.

The penalty range is between 3 and 9 penalty points or a disqualification together with a fine.

What we can do?

In view of the wide range of penalties and number of potential penalty points which can be imposed it is wise to get advice if charged with this offence.

Call now on 0208 363 4444 to speak to Chris Wright or Request a Call Back using the form at the top of this page. Chris will always give you straightforward advice to resolve your issues.


7. Failure to stop after an accident/failure to report an accident
This is an offence which sometimes accompanies a “drive without due care” charge. Again it covers a very wide range of situations and the penalties reflect this.

On the one hand you may have accidentally clipped another car or bumped into a car whilst parking. If the motorist is genuinely unaware that the accident has occurred or that any damage has resulted then the plea should be one of not guilty and the driver may well be acquitted.

On the other hand at the top end of the scale this charge covers “hit and run” cases where personal injury is involved and the motorist fails to stop. For this reason the penalties involve 5-10 penalty points or disqualification or in severe cases imprisonment.

The requirement to report an accident arising in any situation where there is injury and any other situation where there is damage and it has not been possible to exchange particulars. Although the law refers to reporting the accident as soon as possible and in any event within 24 hours, case law establishes that the duty is, in effect, to report the matter to the nearest police station straightaway.

Cases:

1. A client who had been driving for more than 50 years with a completely clear record had caused minor damage to another care whilst parking. We were able to establish that she had not realised that an accident had occurred and she was found not guilty.

2. A client was involved in a fatal accident in complicated circumstances and was late in reporting the matter to the police. A custodial sentence was avoided.

Call now on 0208 363 4444 to speak to Chris Wright or Request a Call Back using the form at the top of this page. Chris will always give you straightforward advice to resolve your issues.


8. Failure to Identify the Driver


There is an obligation upon the keeper of a motor vehicle to give information as to the identity of the driver as required by a Chief Officer of Police. This is a strict duty and failure to do so carries 6 penalty points. Sometimes there are issues as to who was the driver and it is important that you should get advice if you are unclear about your position.

Call now on 0208 363 4444 to speak to Chris Wright or Request a Call Back using the form at the top of this page. Chris will always give you straightforward advice to resolve your issues.


9. Notice of Intended Prosecution (“NIP”)
“NIP” is a notification that a prosecution is being considered against a motorist. This is not to be confused with a summons which requires the individual to attend Court.

Prosecution is obliged to serve a notice of intended prosecution within 14 days from the date when it is established that he or she is believed to be the culprit. The law on “NIPs” is intended to give notice to a motorist who may otherwise not be aware of a pending prosecution. It does not therefore apply, for example, where there is an accident and the police attend or there are other circumstances where it would be obvious to them motorist that an investigation or prosecution may be underway. There is requirement by the Prosecution to “lay information” before the Court although the actual summons may not be served until after that date.

Call now on 0208 363 4444 to speak to Chris Wright or Request a Call Back using the form at the top of this page. Chris will always give you straightforward advice to resolve your issues.


10. Dangerous Driving and Causing Death by Dangerous Driving
There are both very serious offences and anyone charged with such offences should most certainly get legal advice as these offences potentially carry both imprisonment and disqualification. A solicitor should be involved from the very beginning including the police interview.

The actual conduct of such cases requires the attention of a very experienced solicitor and obtaining all possible relevant information from the Prosecution. In many cases the instruction of an independent road traffic accident investigator may be necessary.

Cases

1. A fatal accident occurs where an elderly pedestrian walked into the path of a lorry against a red pedestrian crossing signal. The lorry driver was acquitted.

2. A client was involved in a fatal accident with an oncoming vehicle whilst driving a high speed sports car. An expert report and CCTV evidence was obtained. Ultimately a mitigated penalty was achieved.


Call now on 0208 363 4444 to speak to Chris Wright or Request a Call Back using the form at the top of this page. Chris will always give you straightforward advice to resolve your issues.

Meet the Specialist

Chris will always give you straightforward advice to resolve your issues. For more information about this expertise and experience in this area, simply follow the link below. 

  •   
    Christopher Wright
For more information >

Back to Private Services

Request a call back at a time convenient to you.

* Required










Captcha Image