Road Traffic Solicitors
Even the most careful driver can commit a road traffic offence, and for many of us, driving offences will be our only experience of breaking the law. Whether you are found to have committed a relatively minor offence, or are charged with a serious driving offence, you need swift, expert legal advice. The criminal defence solicitors at Qamar Solicitors can advise you on all aspects of the law relating to the driving offence you are charged with, and ensure your rights are fully protected.
What Laws Cover Driving Offences?
Driving offences are covered by the Road Traffic Act 1998 (RTA), and range from relatively trivial offences such as driving without insurance, to the most serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.
Alongside the RTA there is the Highway Code, and as a driver, you should make sure you are fully aware of both. The Highway Code is not law but contains important rules regarding whether or not it is safe to drive – for example, when under
When can the police stop me while driving?
The police are able to stop any driver for any reason, and if you fail to stop when asked by a police officer you are committing a criminal offence.
There may be a number of reasons for the police stopping your vehicle. You may be suspected of speeding, or the number plate of your vehicle may be of interest. If stopped, you may be asked to show documents such as your insurance certificate and driving licence, and if you don’t have them with you, you have seven days to bring them to your local police station.
If you are suspected of driving over the alcohol limit, you will be asked to take a breath test. If you refuse to take the breath test (unless you have a good medical reason for refusing) you can be arrested.
What happens if I am found to be driving over the legal alcohol limit?
Driving over the alcohol limit can be very dangerous, and the law treats this offence seriously. If the results of a breath test show that you are over the legal alcohol limit (35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millimetres of breath), you will be required to provide 2 further samples at the police station to eliminate the chance that there has been an error.
Penalties for drink driving depend on several factors, for example whether or not it is the first offence. If you are found to have driven – or attempted to drive – over the legal alcohol limit you will receive a 12 month mandatory ban, and penalty points ranging from 3 to 11 points. Serious drink driving offences may attract a custodial sentence.
Penalty points and fixed penalty notices
The penalty points system incentivises drivers to use the roads safely and legally. Different offences under the RTA attract penalty points depending on the severity of the offence. The points will accumulate on your licence, and if you receive 12 or more points over a period of three years you will be disqualified for at least six months.
Fixed penalty notices can be issued for a number of minor driving offences such as using a mobile phone while driving. These can be up to a value of £100, and will also come with penalty points on your licence.
If you are caught speeding you may receive only a verbal warning. You may be offered the chance to attend a speed awareness course (which you would have to pay for). You may also be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (a ‘speeding ticket’), with a fine of £60 and three points on your license.
Serious speeding offences – such as repeat offences or driving significantly above the speed limit – may be prosecuted, in which case you would need to attend court. Penalties can be up to £2,500 for speeding on a motorway. If you are charged with a motoring offence it is vital that you contact a Road Traffic Solicitor at the earliest opportunity.
Serious driving offences
The two most serious driving offences are causing death by dangerous driving, and causing death by careless driving. Causing death by dangerous driving is an ‘indictable offence’ and would therefore be tried at the Crown Court. There will be a full police investigation, considering all the elements that may have contributed to the offence, including any extreme weather conditions, and other vehicles involved. Sentences for causing death by dangerous driving can be up to fourteen years’ imprisonment.
Causing death by careless driving (driving without due care and attention, and without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road) can be tried at either the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court depending on the circumstances, and on conviction you may disqualified from driving, receive a fine and or receive a prison sentence.
Other motoring offences
There are a range of other driving offences for which you may need expert legal advice. These might include driving while disqualified, failure to stop after an accident, using a mobile phone while driving, traffic light and seatbelt offences, and failure to have a valid MOT certificate.
How can we help?
If you have been charged with an offence, or if you have been issued with a fixed penalty notice, or found to have been driving above the speed limit, you need experienced criminal defence solicitors who can act swiftly and aggressively on your behalf. At Qamar Solicitors our team of expert solicitors are experienced in handling all kinds of traffic offences, from relatively minor matters – to serious crimes under the RTA.