Penalty points can cause major headaches for motorists and professional drivers. Motoring convictions can potentially be career ending our lawyers are available to help you minimise the risk of a disqualification.
Whether you have received a speeding ticket or a Notice of Intended Prosecution, you will probably feel concerned if it is your first offence. Understandably, you will be concerned for your career and reputation.
Our solicitors are here to help, in some cases it may not be your fault and you may with to contest the matter via a trial and in others we can mitigate to save your driving licence.
Whatever the way forward, we strongly recommend that you take legal advice early on. We are happy to have a quick chat free of charge over the phone to help you decide if you need our assistance or not.
If you would like a no-obligation telephone consultation, then we invite you to call us on 0345 222 9955 or to complete our contact form. We can advise whether you would benefit from legal representation or if you should accept the fixed penalty notice.
If you are still uncertain about contacting us, then this brief guide should provide you with some information. You will discover the facts about penalty points, the fines for speeding offences and the action you can take when accused of a driving offence.
The guide start with an overview of the key points then discusses them in further detail:
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Your Position and Your Preferred Outcome
The first step is to review the facts. You need to review what you are being accused of and the circumstances of the prosecution case. You may not always agree with the prosecution case and you may have evidence such as dash cam footage to support that the prosecution case is incorrect.
If you were not driving at the time, then you need to complete the Request for Driver Information form and provide the Police with the details of the person driving the vehicle at the time.
If you were driving at the time or you were given a verbal Notice of Intended Prosecution or a penalty and fine from the police, then there are usually three options available:
- Contest it, i.e. you believe what has been claimed is incorrect or have a defence
- Seek to minimise the penalty or fine, i.e. pleading guilty at Court
- Accept the Fixed Penalty Notice
There is an associated cost with attempting (1) or (2) and we suggest that you review if it is worth the cost pursuing these options. Here are some examples:
- This is your first offence and you are being accused of doing 36 mph in a 30-mph zone. You are convinced you were not speeding. You can either choose to pay to contest the case with the risk of losing or accept the points and fine. The points and fine would be cheaper but you may feel that you want to have your name cleared. Also, your car insurance is likely to increase if you have points on your license. According to AA statistics, drivers with a single motoring are 10-12% more likely to make a claim than those with a clean driving license.
- You have 3 points on your license are likely to be give another 6. While this would not disqualify you from driving it may well be worth seeking legal advice at this point if you have a reasonable case to contest or minimise the penalty and fine.
- You already have 6 points on your license and have been caught driving while using your mobile phone. In these circumstances, you must seek specialist legal advice as you will be disqualified unless you can make a case for Exceptional Hardship.
Understanding the Law and Penalty Points
The law surrounding motoring prosecutions is relatively complex. When it comes to sentence, there is a list of offences and their associated minimum and maximum penalties in terms of points, fines and potential prison sentence.
One of the big fears people have when confronted by legal proceedings is the uncertainty of the outcome. They don’t know what will happen and, quite rightly, this makes them anxious.
- They remain on your licence for three years from the date of the offence – The DVLA to remove them after four years.
- If you are convicted of drink driving, drunk in charge, driving under the influence of drugs or you have caused the death of another, then the points or disqualification will show on your license for eleven years.
- The minimum number you can be given is 3, the maximum is 10. However, in certain circumstances, a conviction may automatically include disqualification.
- They accumulate until they lapse.
- You will be automatically banned if you receive twelve in a three-year period.
- New drivers will have their licence revoked by the DVLA if they receive six within two years of passing their test.
The main concern for most motorists is the accumulation of 12 or more points in a 3-year period. If you do, then you will be disqualified for at least 6 months.
It is possible to continue driving with over 12 points, if we can successfully argue an Exceptional Hardship case.
Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN)
For certain offences you will receive a fixed penalty notice. These are offered usually offered in relation to using a mobile phone whilst driving, failing to furnish details and speeding.
In certain circumstances this should be accepted however, if you are unsure please seek expert advice form a legal adviser.
This is the most common driving offence. Around half of UK motorists admit doing this on the motorway, while around a third are guilty of committing the offence in a built-up area.
Sometimes busy professionals under pressure are tempted to drive fast to ensure that they make their appointment or get to work on time. In many cases, they are unaware that they are breaking the law, especially if they have gone from a quicker to a slower area.
If you are only slightly over the limit, then you may be offered the chance to avoid the 3 penalty points and fine by attending a driving awareness course as an alternative to a fixed penalty notice or prosecution, this option is only available if:
- You have not been convicted for the same offence in the last 3 years.
- You have not attended a similar course within the last 3 years.
- You’ve been caught driving over 10% plus 2mph of the limit, but below 10% plus 9mph.
You will need to pay for the course and they typically last 4 to 5 hours. Courses cost around £100.
These are minor offences that you can be stopped by the police for. They include:
- Careless or inconsiderate driving
- Using a mobile phone while driving
- Not wearing a seat belt
- Defective tyres
- Defective break lights
You can be fined up to £200 and get points on your licence if you get a fixed penalty notice. The police can also decide to:
- Take no action
- Issue a warning
- Offer driver training
- Charge you with an offence
If you are being accused of a major offence, then it is imperative that you seek legal advice and representation immediately. As an example, driving whilst about the prescribed limit of alcohol attracts a minimum ban of 12 months.
The most common serious motoring prosecution is drunk driving with 35,000 prosecutions each year. This is often due to the lunchtime or after-work drinks where you’ve had a few drinks and you think you are under the limit. Most people think you can have 2 drinks and be under the limit. This depends on the strength of the drinks and how long ago you drank it.
- A man of average height and weight can drink on average 4 units of alcohol and is likely to stay below the legal limit
- A unit of alcohol will usually amount to a single measure of spirits, half a 175 ml glass of 12% wine or half a pint of 4% lager
- Therefore, a pint of 4% beer or a 175ml glass of wine is roughly 2 units.
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