Frequently Asked Questions

Motoring law can be very confusing & complex. Below are commonly asked questions and their respective answers. Click on a link below or to the left to be taken to a dedicated FAQs page.

General Questions:

Q: Do I need a solicitor?

A: It is of course up to you, but you wouldn’t repair your own car engine or perform brain surgery on yourself!

Motoring law can be complicated and the Prosecution will usually be represented by an experienced prosecutor. It therefore makes sense to have an experienced lawyer fighting your corner.

We are proud of the fact that other lawyers choose us to represent them. If you’re still not sure about whether to use us, you can read what our clients say about us before deciding.

 

Q: Do you represent drivers nationwide?

A: Yes. We operate nationwide and can represent you at any Magistrates’ or Crown Court, anywhere in England or Wales.

Although we are based in Manchester and many of our cases are in the North West, we also cover other parts of the country, particularly London and the South East.

Our clients value our specialist advice and come from all over the UK, many recommended to us by other lawyers. Our lower operating costs usually give us a significant price advantage over London Solicitors.

We also deal with Taxi Licence appeals and Traffic Commissioner Public Inquiries anywhere in England or Wales.

As well as drivers, we also advise and represent fleet operators both large and small.

Q: Who will deal with my case?

A: Your case will be handled personally by an experienced named solicitor, usually Richard Silver or Alison Mafham who specialise in motoring offences. In most cases, you will deal directly with the same solicitor, from start to finish. Your case will always be handled by a solicitor and not an unqualified paralegal.

You can speak to Richard or Alison whenever you need to. We also have a solicitor on call 24/7 to cover emergencies.

We usually see you at our office in good time before your case, but if you prefer we can take your instructions by phone or email. If you need to attend court we will meet you there in plenty of time for a conference before the hearing.

Unlike some motoring solicitors, we are not a call-centre and will never farm out your case to other lawyers.

Q: Can I recover my legal fees if I am acquitted?

A: Yes. If you are acquitted then the court will in most cases make a ‘Defence Costs Order’.

For cases which began before 1st October 2012 the court will pay most if not all your legal fees.

For cases which begin after that date, the court will still make a contribution, but usually not the full amount. At the end of the case the court carries out an assessment and makes a payment accordingly. This process usually takes about three months. The amount paid depends on a number of factors, such as the amount of work that had to be done.

Q: How many people are convicted of motoring offences at court?

A: In 2012, there were 640,000 convictions for motoring offences. These include 55,000 for drink driving, 24,000 for using a mobile phone and 108,000 for no insurance, all lower than the year before. Top of the league was speeding, with 118,000 convictions, slightly higher than the year before.

Q: Are the police allowed to stop my vehicle for no reason?

A: Yes. If you fail to stop, it is an offence. You must also produce your driving licence, insurance and MOT certificate on request and give your date of birth. If you don’t have them with you, you will be given 7 days. Failure to produce is an offence. If you cannot prove you have insurance or a driving licence, the police can seize your vehicle in certain circumstances.

Q: What is a Single Justice Procedure Notice?

A: Many motoring offence prosecutions, such as speeding and no insurance, are now commenced by a Single Justice Procedure Notice, instead of Summons.
If you do not respond within 21 days of the posting date printed on the Notice, the case can be heard without you. You may then be convicted and sentenced in your absence by a single Magistrate, without a formal hearing.

If you plead guilty under the Single Justice Procedure, a Magistrate will sentence you in your absence, without a formal Court hearing, but you can make written representations.

The Magistrate may decide that you must attend Court, for example if you are at risk of disqualification. In that case, you will be given a date when you need to attend.

If you want to plead guilty in Court, you can ask for a hearing and will be given a date to attend.

If you plead not guilty, you will usually be given a trial date when you should attend with any witnesses.

Even if you are pleading guilty, it is sometimes better to choose the option of a Court hearing. You can then attend with, if you wish, a Solicitor to represent you. In some cases, you will be required to attend in any event, for example if the Court is considering a ban. Again, legal advice and representation from an experienced Solicitor may well make a big difference to the outcome and could save your licence.

If you are not sure how to plead, or are worried about penalty points or at risk of disqualification, it may well be worth getting early legal advice and representation. What you should never do is just ignore the Notice.

The Single Justice Procedure Notice sent by the Court explains the procedure in more detail and includes the forms you will need to complete.

Q: I have had a car accident. Do I have to give my name and address or report it to the police?

A: You have to stop if anyone else was injured or if damage was caused to another vehicle or property. You must also give your registration number, your name and address and that of the owner, if asked to do so by anyone having reasonable grounds.

If you don’t give your name and address, you must report the accident to the police as soon as reasonably practicable and in any case within 24 hours.

Q: I have been prosecuted for watching an On-Demand programme on the BBC iPlayer without a TV licence. Do I have a defence?

A: Due to a recent change in the law, iPlayer catch-up TV also now requires a television licence.

This means that you now need a TV licence to watch or download any BBC programme on iPlayer. This applies to live, catch-up and on-demand – on any device, including PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

It is a criminal offence to watch live TV on any channel, or any BBC programme, (live or not), on iPlayer without a licence. The offence applies to any device including PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Speeding Offence FAQs

Taxi Licence Appeal FAQs

Drink Driving FAQs

Disqualified Driver FAQs

Driving Without Insurance FAQs

Penalty Points & Totting Up FAQs

Mobile Phone Driving FAQ’s

New Driver Offences FAQs

Legal Aid FAQs

Early Removal Of Disqualification FAQs

Traffic Light Offences FAQs

Is your licence or livelihood at risk? – Our solicitors can help. Call 0808 231 7107