Motoring offences

Motoring offences

There are a large number of motoring offences with a wide range of penalties and endorsements.  In some cases, with expert advice and legal representation, it may be possible to reduce the penalty imposed.

Common offences include:

Defective paperwork

Having no insurance, no tax, no MOT or no license are all chargeable offences. Having no insurance can lead to points on your license and a fine whereas no MOT can lead to a fine and no tax may result in your car being crushed!

Defective vehicles – “Construction and Use”

If your vehicle is in poor condition due to a lack of regular maintenance or because it has been in an accident recently, then it represents a hazard to other road users.  It is an offence to ‘use a motor vehicle…’ on a road which might for whatever reason, involve a danger of injury to any person.  A defective vehicle offence will usually carry a penalty of three points and a fine.

A number of vehicle defects can represent such danger including worn tyres, faulty brakes, broken lights or mirrors or sharp edges resulting from an accident.  Other examples of driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition include carrying too many passengers or carrying an unsafe or unsuitable load.

Careless, reckless or dangerous driving.

The offences of careless, reckless or dangerous driving are serious offences which carry severe penalties and the risk of conviction.  The offences cover a wide range of behaviour that amounts to “falling far below” what would be expected of a careful and competent driver.  Prosecutions will usually be brought after a serious accident.

Examples of such careless, reckless or dangerous behaviour include:

• Driving at excessive speed and racing
• Being under the influence of drink or drugs
• Using your mobile phone or reading a map whilst you are driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Drink and drug related offences are not just in relation to you driving the vehicle whilst under the influence but also to being drunk and in charge of a vehicle.
This could be a situation where you are over the limit, sat in the passenger seat with the keys in the vehicle ignition.

Being convicted of the above can have a huge impact on your life should you lose your license.  You should contact us immediately to discuss this matter further.

Speeding offences

This is one of the most common motoring offences with then increased use of speed cameras throughout the country. There are now numerous devices that the police can use in order to catch you speeding:

• Laser Guns
• Static speed cameras
• Radars

Each can be used as evidence against you in court.

Points carried for a speeding offence are between 3 to 6 points and in the most extreme cases even a ban depending upon the speed that you were doing. Once you have been caught a few times this could lead to a court appearance which may lead to a ban.

‘Totting up’ penalty points

All penalty points are valid for three years from the date of conviction and if you accumulate 12 penalty points, or more, within a period of three years then you could face a disqualification from driving for up to 6 months.

For new drivers, a licence is automatically revoked if you accumulate 6 penalty points within the first 2 years.

If you have previously been disqualified for 56 days or more then the minimum increases to one year.

Mobile phone offences

Mobile phone offences have become more common. Should you be caught using your phone without a hands free kit you are set to receive 3 points. It is believed that it is not safe to drive and use your mobile phone at the same time therefore it is now a chargeable offence.

Failing to stop and report an accident

If you are involved in an accident and you fail to stop at the scene or report the incident to the police you may be committing an offence.

This not only applies to collisions but also if you damage a car and do not report it, for example, scraping a vehicle whilst parking. If it is a minor incident and you stop at the time of the incident and exchange details with the other motorist then you do not need to report the incident. If you do not do so, you have a duty to report any accident to the police within 24hrs.

In the case of severe accidents, there is an increased likelihood of imprisonment if you fail to stop and report the accident and if there is a serious injury, or the court believes that you did so in order to avoid a breath test.

We may be able to help

If you have received any notice relating to a motoring offence, you should seek legal advice before responding.  To discuss you particular circumstances contact Nigel Pepper on 01785 211411.

30 January 2009

Disclaimer

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances. (50587)