Ten Most Common Road Traffic Offences In The UK
Top Ten Motoring Offences
General Practice Solicitors who deal with multiple areas of criminal law often aren’t fully familiar with the intricate legal arguments that can be put forward on your behalf if you have been accused of any of the road traffic offences below;
Failing to provide driver information
s.172 driver information requests are sent to registered keepers of vehicles following a road traffic offence.
The penalty for not returning this request is six penalty points on your driving licence.
You have 2 possible defence options, Section 172 (4) and S172(7)(b) Road Traffic Act 1988.
Reasonable diligence needs to be demonstrated to have been carried out to identify who was driving the vehicle at the time of the offence, or, you need to establish that you didn’t receive the request.
Driving With No Insurance
The law assumes you are at fault and thus guilty, irrespective of your reasons for driving without having suitable insurance in place.
6 – 8 penalty points is the penalty if convicted for driving with no car insurance.
Drivers are often unaware that their insurance provider has cancelled their insurance policy and not informed them.
If you can show you genuinely believed you had valid insurance, you have a Special Reasons Argument.
Speeding – Points, Fines and Disqualifications
Speeding is the most commonly convicted offence in the UK.
In addition to costs, a speeding conviction carries 3 to 6 points, a discretionary ban and a fine.
There are a variety of different roadside speed cameras, constant speed sections of motorway and road, mobile cameras as well as police officers in patrol cars, plain clothed cars or using hand held laser gun speed detector devices.
Recent road traffic case law makes it very tricky to contest excess speed allegations without providing an expert witness to give evidence in your defence.
Drink Drive Motoring Offences
The drink drive limit in the UK is 35mg in breath. A drinking and driving conviction involves a minimum mandatory licence ban of one year.
If you can show that you were either; not the driver, wasn’t on a public road or place, or consumed the alcohol once you finished driving then you have a legal defence.
In certain life threatening emergency situations, or if you didn’t know you consumed alcohol and were unaware that you had done so, you may also negate a driving licence disqualification.
Drunk in Charge Road Traffic Offences
In court, it is necessary for the prosecution to demonstrate that you were over the drinking and driving legal limit, and that you were also in charge of the motor vehicle too.
If you can convince the court that you didn’t intend to drive again until you were below the legal drink drive limit then you have a defence.
If convicted of the offence, you will be given either ten points as well as a possible discretionary driving licence ban.
Caught Driving with a Mobile Phone
For an offence to be committed, you must be holding your mobile phone while using it. The opinion of Magistrates varies widely for mobile phone whilst driving offences.
A stop at lights or a traffic jam is still considered to be driving.
Without Due Care Road Traffic Offences
Your driving level has to be proved to have fallen below the level expected of a careful & competent driver if you are to be convicted of driving without due care.
Examples of road traffic offences covered by driving without due care and attention are motorway undertaking offences, low speed car park knocks and suchlike.
Depending on the nature of your offence and the severity of its nature, the police force where the incident occurred may offer you a Driver Improvement Course as an alternative to attending Court.
Failure to Report an Accident
If, after an accident, damage was caused to property, a person or another vehicle, then, as the driver you have a legal obligation in accordance with Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to stop and exchange details.
After an accident, you have up to twenty four hours to report the accident to a police officer if you were not able to provide your details at the time.
Failing to stop or report carries five to ten licence points or a discretionary ban.
It is possible to defend this allegation if you didn’t know that you had caused damage and can show that it would be reasonable for you not to be aware that you had been involved in an accident.
The court can impose community service or even a prison service depending on the circumstances of your motoring offences.
Dangerous Driving Related Offences
To be convicted for dangerous driving, the level of your driving must fall beneath what is required, but in addition it should be obvious to a competent and careful driver that your driving was dangerous.
The courts take dangerous driving very seriously, and as such, the penalties are commensurate with their views. As such, if convicted you face a minimum 1 year licence disqualification, which automatically includes a complete driving licence re-test before you are allowed back on the road, as well as a potential custodial sentence if your case is deemed to deserve it.
There is often confusion surrounding this offence.
An endorsable offence would be driving without using L plates, or not having passed a driving test prior to driving. Defending no licence offences is common for solicitors who will usually be familiar with the process.
A non-endorsable offence would be if the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency requested you to return your driving licence and they suspend your driving entitlement.
Many people believe that ‘no licence’ means that your motor insurance policy is null and void, but that is not the case.
Different Magistrates often get confused about whether this offence carries points or not, so be sure to seek expert motoring law advice if you are charged with a driving without a licence offence.