If you’ve received a notice of prosecution for a driving offence through the post, consider seeking legal advice, because unless you have a reasonable defence, you’re in trouble.
For most offences, you won’t be prosecuted if you were charged with a summons after 14 days, as by law, the police authorities must get in touch with you within this time period.
Usually, minor offences appear in ticket form. Deal with this quickly, as you can often get a huge discount off the fine, if you act rapidly. Delay at your peril, as you will have to pay the full charge and may even lose your right to appeal against the offence.
First offenders may even be able to take a driving course to wipe away the conviction. This is entirely at the discretion of the law enforcement and usually depends on the circumstances.
For more serious offences, expect to go to court and plead either guilty or not guilty. In this situation, make sure you receive legal advice and representation in court. Some cases may be so serious that all you can do is mitigate the damages.
Drink driving, for example, carries a mandatory licence ban and you could end up in jail, unless you have a very exceptional excuse…like saving your own life from attackers, for example, and you had no other choice but to drive away from the scene.
Once you reach court, things become a little more dangerous. Initial fines and points you appealed can become ridiculously high, if you’re found to be guilty of the driving offence. It’s impossible to state how many penalty points you’ll receive, but a legal advisor can give you a rough estimate. Rarely, the maximum penalty is imposed.
The court will take into account any mitigating circumstances – for example, you were speeding in your car because your partner had just gone into labour and you were trying to get her to hospital. They’ll also look on you more favourably if this is your first offence. But of course, if your offence is particularly serious, you may not receive much mercy. This is where good driving solicitors come in!
Telling Your Insurance Company
Even though litigation costs are phenomenal, the impact any driving offences will have on your insurance is humungous; especially for convictions such as drink driving. Expect to pay through nose for insuring your vehicle, if you’ve been found guilty for an offence. They may not be too bothered about parking tickets, but you must notify your insurance company of anything else.
Write to them immediately, because they may refuse to cover any claims, if they’re unaware of any driving convictions.
You can bring costs down again by taking driving improvement courses and swapping your current car for a lower risk model, but the more offences you have, the bleaker your insurance bill will become.