Partner and Head of Wills & Estate Planning at Andrew & Co Solicitors Helen Newson writes...
Whenever a court decides to endorse someone’s driving licence, the court has a discretion to disqualify the person from driving instead. This will depend on the nature of the offence and the specific facts of the offending. In a case of speeding on a motorway where the measured speed exceeds 100mph the court will always consider a period of disqualification. If the driver is disqualified their driving licence will be endorsed but no points will be awarded. The period of disqualification will reflect the speed of the vehicle, road conditions, traffic flow and any other relevant facts which can include the age and experience of the driver.
Order for a Retest
An order to retake your driving test or even an extended test will automatically follow a conviction for dangerous driving. It can also be ordered following other convictions. The same effect as an order for a retest can occur if you have 6 points endorsed on your driving licence within 2 years of passing your driving test. The effect upon the status of your driving licence is that if a court orders your licence to be endorsed with 6 points or orders endorsement of any number of points, the effect of which when added to points already on the licence will take you to 6 or more points, then the DVLA will revoke your licence. As such you must retake your test. The provisional effect will last as long as it takes you to arrange and pass both parts of the driving test.
Fixed penalties and the Notice of Intended Prosecution
Fixed penalties are available for a number of motoring offences including speeding, entering a bus lane, or ignoring a red traffic light. For all speeding offences where a fixed penalty is offered the tariff is a £100.00 fine and 3 penalty points. If in accepting the offer of a fixed penalty it is apparent that you already have 9 points on your licence then the fixed penalty cannot be applied. You will instead receive notice that a summons will be issued instead. Subsequently you will be dealt with in the magistrate’s court where the totting up procedure will apply.
Within 14 days of the offence occurring you must receive a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP), subject to some limited exceptions. If you are stopped by the police shortly after the offence you may receive a verbal NIP. The words used will be, ‘you will be reported for consideration of the question of prosecuting you for…’. After that you should be cautioned with the words, ‘you do not have to say anything etc’. If you receive a notice through the post that you have gone through a speed camera, the NIP will be in writing. If you are the Registered Keeper of the car, you must receive the NIP within 14 days of the offence. If you are not the Registered Keeper, and you receive the NIP outside the 14 day period then, you must check to see if the actual Registered Keeper received the NIP within the time limit. If they did not, then we may be able to get the charge dropped. The wording of the NIP and any other document you receive demanding to know who the driver was is important. Cases have been successfully defended by pointing out the wrong wording. That is why you should ask us for advice before completing the forms and returning them to the authority.
Section 172 (requests for driver details) offences
If you receive a notice from the police demanding you tell them who the driver is you commit an offence if you fail to respond. This offence is committed contrary to s.172 of the Road Traffic Act .There is a defence to this offence, if on the basis that a number of people could have been driving at the time you provide the police with their details. If you really do not know who was driving then you are likely to be summonsed to court. If you can show that despite using all due diligence you cannot ascertain who the driver was and the court is satisfied as to your explanation then you will be found not guilty. It is not good enough to simply tell the police you do not know who was driving. You will have to give them an explanation and details of who it might be. If you commit this offence, and you are convicted, your licence will be endorsed with 6 penalty points. You will also be fined.
In order for you to be prosecuted for not obeying a sign the prosecution must prove it is a lawful one. It must comply in colour and size with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 . If it does not then the prosecution must fail. Other road markings such as double white lines require particular care. In speeding offences the position and number of signs is critical to the prosecution case. Also to be taken into account, are any white lines in the middle of the road. This is because their dimensions are defined so as to match certain speed limits. That is so that you can tell if you are in a speed limit of 30 mph or one that is higher.
To speak to one of our Road Traffic law specialists, please contact us on 01522 512123 (Lincoln) or 01636 673743 (Newark). All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.