Drunk in Charge Court Acquittal

Drunk in Charge Court Acquittal

court-hearing-driving-ban-Pragma-LawOur client was in court for being drunk in charge of a vehicle. He pleaded not guilty on the basis that he had no intention of driving.

On the face of it, the evidence against it appeared strong. He was seen getting into the driver’s seat with another occupant and had the keys in the ignition. The police were called and they attended the scene and breathalysed him at the roadside. He failed the breath test and was arrested.

CCTV evidence of the incident was produced by the police and there were multiple witnesses. Despite this, our client was clear that he would not have driven the car.

He was represented at trial by consultant solicitor David Swingler. After hearing all of the evidence the court declared that our client was honest and credible. He was found not guilty of the offence and was both delighted and relieved.

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Driving Without Insurance Case Dropped

Driving Without Insurance Case Dropped

Steering WheelA driver who was working making deliveries was stopped by police and told he had no insurance. He could not understand why this would be the case as it was his regular work vehicle. Understandably he had not checked the position with the insurance as he assumed his boss had dealt with it.

He called his boss who told him that insurance was in place but could not produce any evidence. Ultimately he realised that his boss had missed an email cancelling the insurance.

The driver received a fixed penalty for 6 points and a £300 fine but contacted us before accepting it. We advised him about the employee defence and set about obtaining evidence in support. We then wrote to the police who confirmed they would be taking no further action.

Needless to say, the driver involved was very relieved. As he drives for a living, it was very important for him to keep a clean licence.

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Driver Avoids Totting Ban for a Second Time

Driver Avoids Totting Ban for a Second Time

court-hearing-driving-ban-Pragma-LawA 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

police-driving-offence-pragma-lawWe 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

driving-ban-offence-case-pragma-lawOur 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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The 14 Day Time Limit for Notices of Intended Prosecution – Loophole or Defence?

The 14 Day Time Limit for Notices of Intended Prosecution – Loophole or Defence?


Back in 2018, David Beckham was reported as having relied on this ‘loophole’ to avoid a speeding conviction.

Whenever there is a report of someone in the public eye escaping a driving conviction, it frequently elicits a tirade of comments from readers.

Such comments often suggest that the individual only avoided conviction because of who they are and that such ‘loopholes’ are only available to the rich and famous, but that is not always the case.

The so-called 14 day Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) Rule was used by countless motorists in 2019 to avoid a conviction for speedingcareless driving, running a red light, and many others.


The law is contained in Section 1 Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988A summary is that:

Certain driving offences require a warning of possible prosecution to be served on either:

  • The driver at the time of the offence, or
  • The driver or registered keeper within 14 days of the alleged offence,

The requirement to warn of prosecution does not apply if there was an accident.
The requirement does not apply to all driving offences. For example, it does not apply to offences of using a mobile phone while driving. The full list of offences is contained in Schedule 1 Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988

Otherwise, for many driving offences the driver is usually stopped at the roadside and warned verbally by the police, or, they receive the NIP through the post.

The consequence of not complying with the NIP requirement is that there cannot be a conviction for the offences to which it applies. Eg, if the NIP was sent to warn of prosecution for speeding, but the requirements were not met, there can be no speeding conviction.


In criminal cases, the burden is usually on the prosecution to satisfy the court of a fact ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ or to put it another way, so that ‘the court is sure’.

However, in these cases, there is a ‘presumption of conformity’ with the NIP service requirement.

This means that the prosecution doesn’t have to give any evidence that its requirements have been fulfilled. It is for the defence to allege that they have not, and to call evidence to that effect. The burden of proof is on the defendant on the balance of probabilities ie. more likely than not. The defence must show that the driver and the registered “keeper” of the vehicle have not had the notice.


When the defence of non-conformity is raised, they tend to fall into two categories:

  1. Cases where the NIP has been served late;
  2. Cases where the NIP has not been received at all.

Late service can often be easier to prove than non-receipt. If the postal date suggests that the 14-day rule has not been complied with, the task of proving non-conformity is relatively easy. But where the notice is not received at all, the only way to prove this may be to give evidence in court. It is then up to the court to decide whether they believe you or not.

With cases of late service, bear in mind that notices are not deemed served until two working days after the offence. Also, note that the date of the alleged offence is not counted in the calculations.


This is where it gets a bit technical. These requests for driver information should not be confused with Notices of Intended Prosecution. They are often combined in the same document as a NIP, but they have different legal status. There is no requirement to request driver details within 14 days.

The power to request driver details is contained in s.172 Road Traffic Act 1988 and for this reason, they are often referred to as s.172 notices. If you do not comply with s.172 and give the information, you could be prosecuted for failing to provide driver details which usually carries 6 penalty points plus a fine.

What this means is that if you receive a combined NIP/ s.172 notice which has been served late, you should still give the details of the driver. You can then argue that there can be no prosecution for the offence to which the notice relates but avoid the risk of prosecution for failing to give details.

Of course, if you don’t receive the NIP you will not have received the s.172 Notice either. Therefore you should not be convicted of failing to give driver details as you have not received a request to do so.


Everyone will have their view on this. The term ‘loophole’ suggests something slightly dodgy or morally wrong which may not be representative of the facts.

The law requires us to abide by the rules and provide information within certain time limits. If we do not, we will normally be prosecuted.

By the same token, the police must abide by their own rules and time limits. If not, the driver will have a legitimate defence. Why should a driver be criticised for relying on a defence set out in law?

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