Driver Avoids Totting Ban for a Second Time

Driver Avoids Totting Ban for a Second Time

A driver who had been disqualified for 6 months in the magistrates’ court after a second ‘totting up’ offence instructed us to help with an appeal. He had already successfully argued exceptional hardship around 18 months ago but had since committed a further driving offence.

Lucy Whitaker represented him in the Crown Court arguing that there were new grounds for the court to find exceptional hardship. Only if the court found that there were new circumstances could it consider an exceptional hardship argument.

The prosecutor opposed the argument that the grounds put forward were new. He stated that they had already been considered by the court on the last occasion and could not be taken into account by the court. The court disagreed and accepted our new argument.

After a lengthy hearing, the Judge and two magistrates agreed that exceptional hardship would be caused to the defendant’s grandmother. They, therefore, allowed the appeal and did not disqualify our client.

It is usually a difficult task getting a court to accept a second exceptional hardship argument within 3 years. It can be even more tricky in the crown court where the setting is very formal and rules are more strictly adhered to. Needless to say, our client was delighted that Lucy managed to save his driving licence.

 

 

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No Penalty Points for Driving Without Insurance

No Penalty Points for Driving Without Insurance

Driver avoids penalty points for driving without insurance using special reasons

We recently represented a driver who was caught driving without insurance because his policy had not been renewed. 

He had difficulties reading and writing and had relied on his mother to help him with emails and letters. When the letter arrived from the insurers informing him of the increase in premiums for the following year, his mother did not read it all. Unfortunately, she did not see the wording which asked the policyholder to take action if they wanted to renew it. 

Although the driver could not argue with the fact that he had been driving while uninsured, we could explain the circumstances to the court. This involved a hearing with family members giving evidence. After hearing all of the evidence, the court agreed that special reasons existed not to endorse his licence. The court accepted that he had relied on a person in a position of authority and that reliance was reasonable. It would be unfair to put points on his licence when he had no way of knowing that the policy had lapsed. 

Note: Driving without insurance usually carries 6-8 penalty points or a discretionary disqualification. 

If you have been charged with driving without insurance and require legal support, please contact us today.

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Company Not Guilty of Failing to Give Driver Details

Company Not Guilty of Failing to Give Driver Details

Our company client was acquitted of failing to give driver details after a trial in the Magistrates’ Court this week. One of its vehicles had been allegedly caught speeding and a request for driver details and notice of intended prosecution was sent out by the police.

The company did not receive either the notice or the reminder and could not respond to them. The prosecution insisted on proceeding to a trial despite the company giving other examples of mail having gone astray.

Lawyer Lucy Whitaker represented the company at the trial where an employee of the company gave evidence about the systems in place for dealing with mail. He told the court about the severe disruption to their mail resulting from the pandemic. Mail had had to be collected from the sorting office on numerous occasions and letters from banks and other organisations had never reached them.

The prosecution urged the court to convict on the basis that there was no written evidence of a complaint to Royal Mail or of any other mail going missing. Despite this, the magistrates confirmed that they were in no doubt that the requests for driver details had not been received and that if they had been, the company would have responded.

The company was found not guilty and accordingly no penalty imposed.

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5 Day Totting Ban Wipes Points from Licence

5 Day Totting Ban Wipes Points from Licence

We represented a driver facing with 6 points already on his licence. He faced two further charges of failing to provide driver details. Each offence carries 6 penalty points or a discretionary disqualification. The court will usually impose penalty points where a driver is facing a totting up ban for reaching 12 or more points.

Unfortunately, our client had forgotten to update his DVLA logbook resulting in requests for driver information being sent to an old address. He was not the driver of the vehicle involved in the original speeding offences but had no defence to the offences of failing to give driver details. The police would not drop the offences so in these circumstances, we advised him to plead guilty.

The court imposed 6 points for each offence taking him to a total of 18 penalty points. However, we successfully argued exceptional hardship to avoid the usual 6-month ban.

The court imposed a shorter totting ban of 5 days! This meant that our client’s penalty points would be wiped from his licence after serving this short ban.

It is relatively uncommon for the courts to impose a totting ban shorter than 6 months so this was an exceptionally good result with which our client was delighted!

 

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Not Guilty of Not Being in Proper Control of a Vehicle

Not Guilty of Not Being in Proper Control of a Vehicle

The Court did not accept the prosecution’s case that the driver was not in proper control of her vehicle.  She was initially accused of being on her mobile phone while driving by a police officer on foot.

At all times our client denied using or even holding her phone. She was issued with a ticket and chose to fight her case in court. By the time the court papers arrived, the charge had been amended to one of not being in proper control of a vehicle. For this offence, the prosecution doesn’t have to prove that the driver lost control, only that they were not in a position to have control.  For example, if you were driving perfectly normally while reading a newspaper, few people would argue that you were not in proper control.

The police officer came to court and maintained he was certain he had seen our client on her phone. He refused to accept that he could have been mistaken. Yet with our careful cross-examination, his version of events fell apart. It became clear to the court that the officer could not be sure what he had seen. There was no evidence of bad driving and as it is not an offence to have an item in your hand while driving, the court concluded that the police had not proved its case.

Our client was acquitted and walked out of court without points or a fine.

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How We Won a Drunk in Charge Case

How We Won a Drunk in Charge Case

We represented a driver found asleep in his car who was over 4 times the legal alcohol limit. The starting point for being drunk in charge of a vehicle with this level of alcohol according to the sentencing guidelines is a community order and a disqualification of 6-12 months.

At the initial plea hearing, the District Judge made his scepticism clear. It was obvious that he doubted the strength of our argument but we were confident in our advice to defend the charge.

The matter was listed for a trial but in the meantime, the police were uncooperative in providing some of the evidence we requested. The police sought to rely on a summary of a police interview which we were confident did not accurately reflect what had been said by our client. Even two weeks before trial, the police interview recording continued to be withheld by the police. We continued to pursue it and it was finally provided. Upon listening to the recording, it confirmed our suspicion that the summary provided was misleading.

At trial, Lucy represented the client. The interview recording was played and the court heard evidence that our client had no intention of driving while over the legal limit. The court accepted the account he provided in the interview and that given in court as being genuine and truthful. As such, he was found not guilty of the offence. The withheld evidence that we managed to obtain played a vital part in our client’s defence.

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