Top Ten Most Common Road Traffic Offences
General Practice Solicitors who deal with general criminal law won’t always know the perfect legal arguments that can be used to defend your case if you have been accused of any of the driving offences below;
Fail to nominate driver
If you are caught committing a road traffic offence, you will be sent a section 172 information request.
The penalty for not providing the information is 6 points on your licence.
The statutory defences in the RTA are Section172(4) and Section172(7)(b) RTA 1988.
A defence is valid if you demonstrate that you have used reasonable diligence to work out who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offence, or that you didn’t receive the request form to provide the necessary information.
Insurance Related Driving Offences
Irrespective of your reasons, if you are stopped by the police while driving without insurance, you are assumed to be at fault and therefore guilty.
When found guilty, or if you plead guilty to driving without having valid motor insurance in place then you will get 6 – 8 points.
It is quite common for a policy to be cancelled due to a missing payment, and for the driver to be unaware that they are not legally insured.
The Special Reasons Argument can be used if you can show the court that you genuinely believe that you had valid motor insurance in place. Preparing a special reasons argument requires a detailed knowledge of the law and structuring the argument correctly will make the difference between success and failure in court. Ask Patterson Law how to prepare your special reasons defence and keep your licence.
Driving Speeding Offences
Speed related offences carry a discretionary ban, 3 to 6 points on your licence and a fine as well as court costs.
Expert evidence is required if you are going to successfully defend your speeding offence in court.
Drink Driving Offences
The legal drink driving limit is 35mg in breath. The minimum punishment if found guilty of drinking and driving is a one year driving licence disqualification.
The three legal defences for drink driving are that you were not the driver of the vehicle, you were not driving in a public place, or that you didn’t drink until after you had finished driving.
You can also avoid a disqualification if you can demonstrate you unwittingly consumed alcohol that took you over the permitted limit, you only drove a very short distance or you had to drive for a real life emergency situation.
Drunk in charge of a vehicle
The two points that the prosecution are required to establish to secure a conviction are that you were over the drink drive limit and that you were in charge of the vehicle at the time of the offence.
A frequently used possible defence for drunk in charge of a vehicle is to show to the court that you didn’t intend to drive and were not planning to do so until you were below the drink driving limit again.
The penalty for drunk in charge of a vehicle is 10 points or a discretionary driving licence ban.
Mobile Phone Offences
The phone must be held while being used in order for an offence to be committed.
Use of a mobile is often a grey area and Magistrates view it differently.
Stopping in a traffic jam or at traffic lights can still be classed as driving.
Driving Without Due Care and Attention
Your driving level needs to be proved to have fallen well below the level of a competent and careful driver if you are to be convicted of driving without due care and attention.
Offences covered by driving without due care and attention include things such as low speed car park scrapes, as well as undertaking on a motorway.
Depending on the nature of your offence and the severity of its nature, the police force where the incident occurred may offer you a Driving Improvement Course as an alternative to attending Court.
Failure to Stop Motoring offences
If damage is caused to another vehicle, a person or to property, you are under a legal duty in accordance with S 170 Road Traffic Act to stop and offer your details after an accident.
After an accident, you have up to twenty four hours to report the accident to the police if you were not able to provide your details at the time.
If found guilty you will receive five to ten driving licence penalty points or a driving ban at the Magistrates discretion.
One legal defence is that you didn’t know that you’d had an accident and caused damage. If you can convince the Court that it would be reasonable to be unaware then you have a valid defence against the allegations.
Because these are both considered to be very serious road traffic offences, you can be sentenced to community service or even receive a custodial sentence.
Dangerous Driving Related Offences
To be found guilty of dangerous driving, the quality of your driving must fall beneath what is required, but in addition it should be clear to a competent driver that at the time, your driving was dangerous.
Dangerous driving is a serious offence and as such, carries a minimum twelve month ban, a complete driving re-test before you can have your licence back and possibly a prison term.
No Licence Motoring offences
Much confusion surrounds this road traffic offence.
If driving not in accordance with the limitations of your driving licence .i.e. not having L plates or having never passed a test, it is an endorsable offence.
A non-endorsable offence related to no licence would be if for example the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency asked that you return your licence back to them and suspended your entitlement to drive.
It’s a misnomer that in the case of ‘no licence’ offences, your motor insurance will automatically be invalid. This is not the case.
Different Courts often get confused about whether this offence carries penalty points or not, so seek expert motoring law advice if you are charged with this road traffic offence.