Motoring offence solicitors

Motoring offence solicitors

For many normally law-abiding people, the only time they may find themselves on the wrong side of the law is if they are facing penalties for motoring offences. Purcell Parker can help you with any aspect of road traffic law by offering the services of some of the most experienced lawyers in the UK. Our high levels of expertise include representing clients in connection with cases involving exceptional hardship where a driving ban would result in a consequence such as loss of employment and securing reductions in the length of driving bans. 

‘Special reasons’ in motoring cases 

In certain circumstances, a ‘special reason’ may be a valid part of your defence. As many motoring offences are one-off incidents committed by individuals with an otherwise blemish-free record, the circumstances of an offence are very often caused by external factors that cause the offence to be committed, such as speeding in a medical emergency. While a special reason does not amount to a defence in itself, if there are external circumstances that should be taken into account by a court, our specialist motoring solicitors can advise on how they can be presented in court as mitigating circumstances.

A personal approach to motoring offences

Our first class service takes into account the fact that your driving licence is an essential part of your daily life, particularly if you need it to do your job. We use our expertise and vast experience in this area of the law to achieve the best possible outcome for every case we deal with. We are also fully aware that many of our clients in this situation have had no previous reason to seek advice about motoring offences. Bearing this in mind, we may be able to meet you at a time and place convenient to you.

Paying for a motoring offence lawyer

Not all road traffic cases are eligible for legal aid. However Purcell Parker can provide this if your case falls into this category and your personal circumstances mean you qualify for legal aid. If not, our private fees for motoring matters are as follows: 

Plea and sentence hearing – £595 plus VAT

Additional hearings (e.g. sentence) – £395 plus VAT

Half day trial – £1,500 plus VAT

Full day trial – £2,000 plus VAT

Effective defence for all motoring offences

Every road traffic case is unique, however our specialist motoring solicitors can help with the following areas:

Drink driving

Being in charge of a vehicle when unfit to drive can result in fines of up to £2,500, up to 3 months imprisonment and a driving ban. If you are caught actually driving a car while under the influence, or you are a repeat offender, the penalties can be significantly more severe, with long prison sentences recommended for those who cause death by dangerous driving when drunk. Purcell Parker’s dedicated lawyers have a proven track record in successfully defending drinking driving cases. Potential defences include:

Factual defence:

You were not driving at the time of the accusation (for example if you chose to sleep in your car while drunk, and although you were in charge of it, it can be demonstrated you were not planning to drive).
You were not driving in a public place.
You were driving in extreme circumstances like a medical emergency where no alternatives were available and the consequences would have been life-threatening if you had not driven.
The ‘hip flask’ defence can be proven, for example when you drank alcohol after a road collision but before being breathalysed.

Technical defence:

  • It can be proven that there was a procedural error when taking your breath, blood or urine sample.
  • It can be proven that there was a fault with the equipment used to take your sample.

Reasons not to disqualify:

  • It can be proven that your drink was spiked.
  • You were driving an extremely short distance (such as moving your car).
  • You were driving under duress and would have been in danger had you not done so.

As well as successfully defending drink driving cases, Purcell Parker can fight your corner to get the best possible outcome where a conviction is inevitable. This includes where appropriate, securing the option to get a reduction in your driving disqualification by attending rehabilitation course with the Drink Drive Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS).

Speeding offences

In April 2018, tougher new laws came into force for more serious speeding offences.  For many people who commit a minor speeding offence, a Fixed Penalty Notice is issued with 3 points on their licence or if they qualify, the option to attend a Driver Awareness Course. However, although being caught by a speed camera or by police radar usually provides proof of speeding, our specialist solicitors are experienced in successfully contesting speeding cases in certain circumstances. They also have a proven track record for securing reduced punishments for clients due to mitigating circumstances.

We can use our tried and tested defence strategies to ensure the best possible outcome for you when you are facing the often life-changing consequences of losing your licence.

Drug driving 

It’s an offence to drive under the influence of drugs. Crucially this can apply to certain legal drugs that have been prescribed by a medical professional or bought over the counter as well as illegal drugs. Also, it is an offence to drive with certain levels of illegal drugs in your system, even if they are not present at a level that will affect your driving. It is also against the law to drive with certain levels of legal drugs in your system that you have not been prescribed.

If the police believe you may be under the influence of drugs, they can pull you over in order to carry out a ‘field impairment assessment’ which may involve asking you to walk in a straight line and using a kit to test for the presence of drugs. If, based on their roadside assessment, the police believe you are unfit to drive because of drugs, you will be arrested and taken to a police station where you will have to take a blood, breath or urine test to confirm the levels of any drugs in your system.

Consequences for drug driving include:

  • A 12 month driving ban
  • A criminal record
  • An unlimited fine
  • Up to 6 months imprisonment
  • 14 years imprisonment for causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs
  • Your drug driving conviction showing on your licence for 11 years

As well as these penalties, consequences can include increased insurance premiums and your employer seeing your conviction if you drive for work. Also, you may be denied travel to countries such as the USA. Because of these severe penalties, it’s essential to contact the experienced motoring offences solicitors at Purcell Parker as soon as you are arrested. 

Using a mobile phone while driving

Operating a mobile phone or any hand-held device can have severe penalties due to the fact that drivers are four times more likely to have an accident when using their phone behind the wheel. However, if you have been accused of using a mobile phone when driving, we can provide expert advice to decide whether you have a reasonable defence against the allegation.

Driving without due care and attention

Also known as ‘careless driving’, this charge can be made if the police judge that your driving falls short of what is expected from “a competent and careful driver.”  Examples could include:

  • Causing a collision with another driver
  • Tailgating (driving too close to the driver in front)
  • Pulling out from a side road into the path of another car
  • Undertaking (overtaking another vehicle from the left hand side)
  • Hogging the middle lane on a motorway

Penalties for careless driving vary widely according to the severity of the offence, but can range between 3 points on your licence and a fixed fine of £100, to a fine of £5000 and up to 9 penalty points in more serious cases.  If your charge is less serious it may be possible for you to attend a Driver Awareness Course to avoid the negative consequences of points on your licence such as increased insurance premiums. Discretionary disqualification is also a possibility. If you are issued with a Fixed Penalty or a summons to a Magistrates’ Court for driving without due care and attention, contact us at Purcell Parker immediately.

 

Dangerous driving

Dangerous driving is a serious offence. The court will normally consider imposing a prison sentence and a lengthy disqualification, especially in cases where a driver has caused death by dangerous driving. If you have been arrested for dangerous driving, it’s crucial to speak to the motoring solicitors at Purcell Parker straight away to get expert advice on the best possible course of action.

Our solicitors are on call 24-hours a day. We can be contacted before the police are involved or from the police station and can advise you from the very beginning of your case. If you are charged with dangerous driving we can provide you with an experienced motoring lawyer to plead your case at court.

Every case is unique but possible defences for dangerous driving can include:

  • You can argue that your driving was not under the expected standard required.
  • You were driving under duress, for example to escape violence.
  • A previously undetected mechanical fault caused you to lose control of the vehicle.
  • A previously undiagnosed medical condition such as epilepsy caused you to lose control behind the wheel.

Driving without a licence

The only circumstances where an individual is allowed to control a vehicle on public roads without a full driver’s licence is when they are a learner driver in possession of a provisional licence and are accompanied by a full driver’s licence holder in the passenger seat. Those who drive without a licence are very often caught by police tracker technology which can detect whether a car is insured, has a valid MOT and a full licence holder as the registered owner.

Being caught driving without a licence can result in fines of up to £1000 (up to £5000 if you have also been caught driving without insurance), penalty points on your licence and a ban on applying for a driving licence for a certain period of time. If you are in the position of being caught driving without a licence, our motoring solicitors can advise on the best course of action to minimise the consequences, including any ‘special reasons’ that are appropriate to your case.

Failing to stop at the scene of an accident

The Road Traffic Act 1988 states that it is an offence for a driver to fail to stop to provide their details when they are involved in an accident that causes damage to a vehicle or injury to a person other than themselves. Crucially, this includes circumstances where the driver does not believe they are at fault for the accident. Also, if you return to the scene of the accident after initially driving away, you may still have committed an offence.

If it is not possible to give details at the scene of an accident, the law states that you must report it to a police station ‘as soon as practicable’ and within 24 hours. It is advisable to do this in person. Being accused of failing to stop is considered a serious offence and may result in a trial at the Magistrate’s Court. The expert motoring solicitors at Purcell Parker are able to support you at every part of the process including representing you at any court case that may arise.

Possible consequences for failing to stop at the scene of an accident include:

  • 5 -10 penalty points on your driving licence
  • A driving ban
  • A fine of up to £5,000
  • A prison sentence of up to 6 months

Refusing to provide a breath, blood or urine sample

Refusing to take a test to show levels of alcohol or drugs that police suspect are in your system when you are driving or in charge of a vehicle is a serious offence with potentially severe consequences. It’s important to remember that refusing to give a sample because you think it will show you are over the legal limit for alcohol or have drugs in your system will not result in a better outcome than complying with the test.

Refusing to provide a sample is covered by the following categories:  

1. Refusal to participate in a preliminary test

If you fail to take part in a roadside breathalyser test when asked to do so by a uniformed police officer, you are committing an offence which could result in four points on your licence, a driving ban and a fine of up to £1000.

2. Failure to provide an evidential specimen for testing

If you have been arrested for suspected drink or drug driving and refuse to cooperate with giving a blood, urine or breath sample at the police station, you are committing an offence. It is important to call the 24 hour solicitors at Purcell Parker for legal representation at the police station as soon as you are detained.

Consequences for refusing to give an evidential specimen include a driving ban, an unlimited fine and up to six months in prison. It’s also important to remember that you do not have to actually be driving the vehicle to be arrested – the punishment for refusing to provide an evidential sample when in charge of a vehicle can involve 10 driving licence penalty points, a driving disqualification, a fine of up to £2,500 and three months in prison. Prosecutions in this area centre round intention to drive, so if you were in your car to retrieve possessions or sleep, it’s vital to speak to an experienced motoring solicitor who can build a case based on any valid defence you may have.

The same penalties are applicable for withholding consent for any blood sample you give to be tested in a laboratory.

Religious reasons are not accepted as a valid reason for refusing to give a sample, however, you may have a valid defence if you have a proven medical reason for refusing to give a sample such as a needle phobia or an inability to provide a urine sample. In other circumstances, any case against you may be dropped if it can be proven that that the police did not follow procedure properly or that the testing equipment they used was faulty. In cases where a driving ban is inevitable, it may be possible to reduce your sentence by 25% if you agree to attend a drink driving rehabilitation course.

Driving without insurance

Driving without insurance has hefty penalties which can involve penalty points and a fine of £5000 or even a driving ban. Mistakenly believing you were insured is not a defence and may not be seen as a valid mitigating circumstance.

It is also an offence to drive someone else’s car without insurance or to give them permission to drive your car when they are not insured to do so. Even if you pay for fully comprehensive insurance, this does not automatically mean you are insured to drive another person’s car, and even if you do so, the cover may drop to third party meaning you will not be covered for any damage you do to the vehicle in the event of an accident.

Driving without insurance is an unusual area of the law, because unlike with most offences where the defendant is not obliged to prove anything, you are required to provide the documentation to prove you were insured. Although this can make cases of this nature seem black and white, it is possible for ‘special reasons’ to come into play in this kind of case, for example in circumstances where your insurer cancelled your policy but failed to inform you.

Free, confidential initial advice for motoring offences

As well as these common areas of road traffic law we can also help with issues such as drug driving, failing to report an accident or stop at the scene of an accident, driving without a licence, letting someone drive your car uninsured, refusing to provide a breath sample and more. If you have been accused of any type of motoring offence, contact Purcell Parker today for free and confidential initial advice on 0121 236 9781 or email info@purcellparker.co.uk.

Our solicitors are highly experienced in all areas of road traffic law. If you have been accused of speeding, drink driving or another motoring offence, get in touch to find out how we can help you.