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Motoring Offences

Over a third of defendants in magistrates' courts are charged with motoring offences, and motoring is probably the setting in which most people come into direct contact with the police and the criminal justice system.

We regularly deal with people facing charges, such as dangerous driving, driving whilst disqualified and driving with excess alcohol or under the influence of drugs. We represent clients in cases such as driving without due care and attention, or using a phone while driving - legal aid may often not be available for less serious motoring charges

For the more serious offences, you may be arrested by the police, charged, and taken to court within a day or two. However, in many motoring cases you will not be arrested but will get a summons in the post from the court.

Notice of Intended Prosecution

If you were not arrested or stopped by the police at the time of the offence, the police generally have to send the registered keeper of the vehicle a Notice of Intended Prosecution within 14 days after the offence. If they sent it, they do not have to prove it arrived, and if you are not the registered keeper it may be some time before you hear from the police or the court.

If you receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution you must reply to it, or risk committing another offence by not doing so.

Fixed Penalty Notice

You may be sent a Fixed Penalty Notice instead of a Summons. This gives you the option of accepting a fixed fine and penalty points if you do not dispute the charge. If you do not accept it and want to go to court instead, you must reply to the notice accordingly. Otherwise, the court may assume that you have accepted it and the next you hear about it may be from a bailiff trying to collect the money from you.

Pleading guilty by post

A summons for a motoring offence may give you the option of pleading guilty by post, but it will not always. If you plead guilty by post, you may still have to attend court if the plea is rejected. This may happen if, for instance, the court is considering disqualifying you from driving, or if you have put something on the form that suggests that you may have a defence to the charge.

Get advice

Unless you do not dispute the offence and are happy to accept a Fixed Penalty Notice, it is often worth getting legal advice about motoring offences. You may have a defence to the charge, or the consequences of being convicted may be worse than you expect. Legal aid is rarely available for less serious motoring offences, but we can usually advise you or represent you in the magistrates' court on a fixed-fee basis so that you know in advance how much you have to pay.

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