Motoring offences and road traffic law can be a minefield. The range of offences is vast, from stopping on a pelican crossing to dangerous driving. Even minor road traffic offences can cause a motorist serious difficulties – particularly if the points start to stack up.

For many people facing an endorsement on their licence the first question is ‘Do I need to speak to a Solicitor?’ In most cases the answer is yes. Of course you’d expect me to say that – I’m a Solicitor, but did you know that at Beecham Peacock, crime solicitors in Newcastle, we offer everyone an initial 30 minute consultation free of charge, face to face in our office with an experienced, qualified Solicitor. What happens after that is up to you, and what have you got to lose – apart from your driving licence …

Whilst a 3 point endorsement on a clean driving licence may not cause many people a problem, what if it happens a second time, and then a third. Or what if you’re caught speeding and believing you will simply receive 3 points you don’t complete the documentation correctly, or in some cases at all.

A common scenario is when someone receives a Notice of Intended Prosecution, containing a request under s172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to identify the driver of a vehicle at a particular date and time. These are sent to the registered keeper (DVLA records) but of course that doesn’t mean that they were the driver at the relevant time.

If you receive one of these notices, then it is absolutely vital that you complete it with the information required and return it. Failing to provide the information is an offence, and can lead to your licence being endorsed with 6 penalty points, whether you were driving at the relevant time or not – this is a separate offence. On top of that, you could face a hefty fine.

Whilst there are defences available when information can’t be given, or hasn’t been given – these are limited and require careful preparation and presentation. Sometimes the right legal advice can make the difference and in some cases can keep the case outside of the Court system, so make sure you get it, and get it quickly. We are here for you.

If the offence of having no insurance is alleged, this is what is known as a ‘strict liability offence’. Simply put there was either insurance in place covering the driver or not, there really is no halfway house. However, there may be a defence, or the possibility to persuade the Magistrates dealing with your case that there are ‘Special Reasons’ why you shouldn’t be receiving the 6-8 points you are liable for. Ask, and we can advise!

These are just a couple of examples of offences that can lead to a substantial amount of points on your licence in no time at all – and how would losing your licence affect your life, your job, your loved ones? It’s worth protecting and we can help you do just that. Even if you’ve reached the magic number – 12 points – and are facing disqualification, we can and will explore with you whether avoiding disqualification is still possible. Could your circumstances persuade the Magistrates that the loss of your licence would cause ‘Exceptional Hardship’? Let’s take those 30 minutes to sit down together and talk about it.

Beyond the initial interview, if we can assist you and you would like us to do so then we will be upfront about the cost. In some cases Legal Aid is available, and where it is not then we can usually agree a fixed fee for the work to be carried out, with no hidden extras.

If you’re reading this and wondering whether to seek some advice from us then pick up the phone and call, or complete the call back request and we will ring you – your licence is worth that much, isn’t it?

Sara Clasper
Solicitor Advocate, Beecham Peacock

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