Mobile Phone Offence: Ban Avoided

Our Case Study

Nature of the Offence

Mr Fraser had 6 active penalty points on his driving licence from a previous motoring offence. Whilst driving back from work during a hot summers’ day, he was stopped by the police for allegedly using his mobile phone whilst driving.

At the point of being stopped by the police, he explained immediately that he had a cold can of coke in his hand and he had momentarily placed that against his face as he was feeling very hot. He immediately denied using his mobile phone.

He subsequently received correspondence in the post explaining that he would be prosecuted for this offence.

Where the Offence Occurred

The offence occurred near Milton Keynes and the trial was listed before Northampton Magistrates’ Court.

Using a Mobile Phone Whilst Driving

Under Section 41D(b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 a person caught using their mobile phone whilst driving is guilty of an offence and will receive 6 penalty points. If Mr Fraser pleaded guilty to this offence or was found guilty of this offence after trial, the total number of penalty points on his licence would have reached 12 and he would have received a Penalty Points Disqualification (Totting-Up Ban) of at least 6 months.

As Mr Fraser was a very high net worth business owner, the chances of him being successful with an exceptional hardship application were very low, given that he could afford to employ a chauffeur to drive him if he received a driving ban.

Trial Issue

As Mr Fraser denied using his mobile phone, our lawyers advised him to plead not guilty and progress the matter to a contested trial.

On the morning of the trial, our lawyer spoke with the prosecutor and raised certain issues in the account given by the police officer. The prosecutor considered the issues we had raised and offered an alternative charge, Section 41D(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, this is an offence which relates to not driving a motor vehicle in a position which does not give proper control or a full view of the road and traffic ahead. This is an offence which attracts 3 penalty points, as opposed to 6 penalty points.

Mr Fraser accepted that he should not have been placing a can of coke onto his face whilst driving, he accepted he was guilty of Section 41D(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

The Outcome

As a result of our lawyers’ ability to identify weaknesses within the prosecution case, the prosecutor amended the charge from Section 41D(b) to Section 41D(a). Mr Fraser pleaded guilty to the new offence and received 3 penalty points, taking the total number of points on his licence to 9 and avoided a driving ban.

Names have been altered for client confidentiality reasons

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