Category: road traffic offences

avoid a totting up ban

Avoiding a totting up ban

One of the things we get asked about as road traffic lawyers is how to avoid a totting up ban. There is a method of dealing with totting up bans. The method is called exceptional hardship proof. Now an exceptional hardship proof is attending court and providing evidence to the court to show that there would be exceptional hardship in your case if you were to be totted up and to lose your licence because you’ve got 12 points on the licence.

Exceptional hardship proof

To establish exceptional hardship. We need to go quite a long way. We need to establish that there will be a hardship to other people, not just yourself, but maybe to employees, to members of your family, or perhaps even losing your job and the damage and impact on your business. All of these things have to be put to a court in a method that allows us to provide real strong evidence.

That supports your case. It’s not simply enough to go along to court and say,”Ah, this is terrible. It’s going to have a really bad effect on me. I’m not going to be able to take my kids to school. I’m not going to be able to keep my job on.” You will not keep your licence in those circumstances.

Exceptional hardship proof requires a specialist lawyer

Exceptional hardship is exactly that it’s exceptional. So you need a lawyer to assist you with it. If you do want the expertise of a lawyer behind you, get in touch with uswe’ll give you some information and advice all about avoiding a totting up ban. Initial consultations are free so don’t worry about money.

drink driving car forfeit

Your car can be scrapped!

3 – 5 times over the limit

If the limit is exceeded by more than three times, then the car can be forfeited. Procurator Fiscal makes a motion to forfeit the car, and the Sheriff makes an order on deciding whether it’s going to do exactly that, and your car can be often be crushed and no time in relation to this case. This would clearly impact you and everything connected to this car, as well as a financial loss. Calling a specialist road traffic lawyer is, therefore, absolutely imperative. It is the most important thing you can do.

If you own a Rolls Royce, it can still be scrapped.

If you’re charged with drink driving and Scotland, you need to be aware that the punishment is not only the fact that you will lose your driving license if convicted, but there is a chance that your car can also be forfeited. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s a Rolls Royce or whether it’s something that you’ve just managed to pull together from the scrapyard in bits and pieces. The car can be forfeited no matter what the value is.

Call our road traffic lawyers

If you want further advice about forfeiture vehicles or drink driving and the law in relation to say, get in touch with us.

drink driving cases

Drink driving cases from start to finish

Police will think of a reason to pull you over, so just comply.

Many of the clients who come to us have never been in trouble with the police before. The first thing that will happen concerning drink driving cases is that a police car will normally pull you over. There’s a common misconception that the police can’t stop you unless they have a very good reason. Police officers stop cars randomly, pretty much all the time. They will always have a reason. They’ll always come up with some excuse, so it’s no good relying on Police not having a just reason to pull you over.

We’ve heard of plenty of strange examples or excuses police have used to pull people over, and a Sheriff holds up these reasons as being reasonable. As such, If police officers want to stop you, they will. Our advice is to cooperate fully. The first thing that will happen is that they use a handheld Intoximeter that you’ve probably seen on TV shows.

Drink driving cases – Roadside breath test

They’ll ask you to blow into that. See whether it gives us a positive reading or not. It can be quite a difficult procedure; it’s not just a short breath that’s required. You have to provide a long and consistent breath into that machine. If you have any difficulties like asthma or any other medical difficulties, it would be wise for you to say to the police officers right at that stage what your difficulty is. Not complying means you can be charged with failure to provide a breath sample.

Certainly try to give a test to the best of your ability, bear in mind that the handheld device is not going to be used in evidence against you. This is just a preliminary measure that the police are doing to see if their suspicions are upheld, and you should be taken to a police station for a further procedure.

If that machine reveals a positive test, you’re going to be taken to the nearest police station that has a more sophisticated measuring instrument. When you go there, you’ll see the duty officer and the duty officer will explain that a procedure is going to be followed, and you’ll be taken into a room where you’ll give this breath sample into the machine.

Drink driving cases – At the police station

The whole procedure will be read over to you normally unless the police officers are particularly experienced. They’ll explain to you what the procedure is for breathing into that machine. Now again, unless you have a very good reason, you shouldn’t fail to provide a breath test.

Don’t think for a minute that a good reason is that you haven’t had the chance to talk to a lawyer, and you don’t know what your rights are. Many people that are under the misguided belief that if they haven’t had a chance to speak to a lawyer or they haven’t had their phone call, as they put it, then they’re not going to go along with any police procedure, which might cause them some difficulty or that they feel is in some way, fundamentally unfair.

The answer at this stage is to do your best to provide the breath test. Otherwise, you will be charged with a separate offence, and that’s an offence of failing to provide the breath test that’s been required. Equally, you’d be looking at a disqualification there. So make your legal arguments later. Contact your lawyer later if necessary, but at the moment, cooperate fully with the police procedures.

Taking the breath test at the police station

You’re being asked to provide a breath test, and to this machine sitting on the table, once that’s done, it will print off something that looks like a till receipt. And on that till receipt, there’ll be a few different readings. The first reading will show that the machine has calibrated, and it means that it’s working that day and is working at the appropriate levels for the analysis.

The next reading will be your first breath test. Then there’s another reading, which is the second analysis of your breath. The following reading and last reading is the final calibration of the machine. If there’s much variance in your own readings. Or if there is much variance in the calibration readings, then you’ve got a real cause for concern, and you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Hold on to the receipt or the document that has been provided to you by the police. They’ll have asked you to sign the bottom of it, and the police officers will have signed that receipt too.  

Keep it. It’s an important piece of evidence, and you should provide it to your lawyer as soon as you go and see a solicitor. The next procedure is that if you have provided a positive test, then clearly, the police officers aren’t going to just set you back into your car, hand you your car keys and send you home. You can rarely rely on a faulty machine in drink driving cases, but it has happened before.

After the breath test

What they’ll do is place you in a police cell, which is a pretty awful experience for all concerned. At some point, they will allow you to contact someone. Many people at this stage do take the opportunity to have a lawyer informed, but equally, it might just be a question of letting your wife or your husband know where you are and that you’re going to be in custody for a few hours. Normally you’re detained until the next day until the alcohol has gone through your system. You will sometimes have another breath test before being released. 

You’re given a pink form by the police officers, which’s called a bail undertaking form. The pink form is a one-page sheet detailing what court you have to attend when you have to attend it and your bail’s terms. You’re basically being given police bail. Now that means that if you fail to attend court on the date given, you’re committing another crime. This is an important document. It provides you with the detail that you require. You should take that to a lawyer as soon as possible.

Find a good lawyer for court.

So the next step will be preparing yourself for your court appearance. You should use this time to find an experienced road traffic law firm such as ourselves as quickly as possible. There’s a possibility that there may have been some difficulties when you gave the breath analysis. Your lawyer needs to try to secure evidence at the earliest possible opportunity. This can mean a letter to the police asking them to ensure that a log is available or part of the instrument is available to be checked.

You are generally met outside the court a few minutes before your first court appearance, starting with a police officer who will hand you a charge sheet or copy complaint that sets out exactly what it is you’re charged with and what you’re going to be asked to answer. When you go into the court’s dock, there aren’t many opportunities at this stage to see a lawyer, but there will be a duty lawyer present.

They are really there for unrepresented people and usually for people who require legal aid; it’s fair to say that it would be very wise if you were to obtain a lawyer before going to court. This is because a duty lawyer will see over 100 cases each day and won’t have the time to focus on your case. So the best advice is to see a lawyer before you attend court; when your case does call in court, you’ll go forward into the dock and be asked to plead either guilty or not guilty.

Drink driving cases – What happens at court?

You are asked to confirm your name and your address. Usually, your lawyer will stand up at this stage and say guilty or not guilty. If they say guilty, you can expect to be disqualified. If you haven’t been convicted of a drunk driving offence within 10 years, then the minimum disqualification will be 12 months.

There are ways to reduce that. The main way to reduce that period is through your ability to attend something called the drink-drive rehabilitation scheme. Now, this is a scheme that really is at the discretion of Sheriffs.  Whether they allow you to be placed onto the scheme, and usually, your lawyer would request that you be allowed that opportunity and explain to the court that you understand what the drink-drive rehabilitation scheme is and that you are willing to pay it.

When you come to court, assuming you plead not guilty. The next step and procedure is that you will require to attend court on at least two occasions. The diet is a formal court appearance. All that happens is the court wants to assess whether your case is prepared and ready for trial or whether you require to adjourn the case or the crown are required to adjourn the case for any reason.

The intermediate diet

The intermediate diet itself is relatively straightforward and quick. The difficulty with it is that it can take several hours for you to be processed through the whole court regime in busy courts. 

The main event – your trial

The main event is going to be the trial at the trial diet. If your defence is entirely a technical defence, it’s unlikely that you are required to give evidence. If, on the other hand, there is something about the credibility of the officers. Seeing that there was something in the procedure that you don’t accept happened, then you may require to give evidence yourself. The trial date is normally a few weeks after the intermediate diet, and it would be wise for you to visit your lawyer shortly after the intermediate diet to discuss all aspects of your case.  Ensure that your case is fully prepared and that your counsel completely understands exactly what your position is in the case.

Call our road traffic lawyers.

Don’t wait until the day before your trial or a couple of days before your trial; make sure you’ve done it a few weeks before the trial and certainly around the time of the intermediate diet. You should be discussing with your lawyer the ins and outs of your defence and exactly what will happen.

Procedurally when you attend the court, the bottom line of all of the advice concerning drink driving procedure is to see a lawyer early. So call us as we handle drink driving cases daily. You will receive expert care and defence from a specialist.

Dangerous driving in Scotland

Dangerous driving is regarded as a serious offence in Scotland. It carries with it a minimum mandatory ban of 12 months. In order to reset it requires an extended test, now that’s clearly a serious type of sentence in relation to this type of offence. So it’s something that we would suggest you really need to have urgent legal advice on.

Pulled over by the police?

So if you were pulled over by the police for dangerous driving, careless driving, or speeding It’s important that you get in touch with a lawyer. We’re not going to charge you anything for an initial consultation with you.

If you’re facing a ban in relation to dangerous driving, then you should get in touch with a specialist law traffic lawyer. Today. If you go call and give us some information about your case one of our lawyers will give you an opinion today about what we can do for you and the ins and outs of your case, and just exactly where you stand.

Our road traffic lawyers can save your licence

If we can keep you on the road, save your driving licence and save all the things that rely on that driving licence then the hassle of court will all be worth it. Many of us rely on our licence for our job or mortgage and for a lot of other things. So it’s of key importance in people’s lives. We’re well aware of that. We know all of the loopholes, the ins and outs, and just how to deal with these cases so what I would suggest you do is that you get in touch with us.

Send us your case documents. We’ll give you a case assessment for free, and we’ll give you a case consultation for free. You have nothing to lose, but your driving licence. So get in touch today. 

police crackdown on drink driving

Police crackdown on drink driving

The national police crackdown on drink driving continues. If you appear in relation to drink driving, it means that you face a minimum mandatory ban of 12 months. So that’s the starting point for the court. You’re not going to get less than that unless a sheriff considers it appropriate to put you on a drink and drive rehabilitation scheme that can reduce the period by 25%. 

Longer ban for 3x over the limit

 If you have a reading that’s over three times the limit, then you not only face the mandatory ban, you also face the distinct possibility that your car will be forfeited. So be aware that it’s not just your driving license, your livelihood, and whatever relies on your license, but also your car that may well be taken.

 The police are pressing now for more information on drunk drivers and seeing an increase in neighbours, friends, relatives, anybody that has any information about a possible drunk driver should be calling the police, getting in touch with them. They’ll take action based on that information.

The story behind drink driving is often serious

Sometimes there are reasons behind being over the limit of alcohol when driving. Each individual case has to be treated just like that. We look into the details behind it. We usually find that there’s a real serious story behind that. That’s important. It’s important that the court understand exactly why drink driving has occurred. If you’re in that type of situation, then it would be wise to speak to a solicitor to get an informed opinion about just what to do with your case and what can be presented in court to try to mitigate the situation and provide the court with the full background.

Instruct a lawyer

It’s a bit unfair to expect to attend court and just be able to provide all the information yourself. It’s an intimidating environment and it makes a great deal of sense to speak to a lawyer before you go to court. Even if you decide not to instruct a lawyer, speak to us. Get information and advice about how to proceed with your case and find out about the procedures and then decide whether you want to instruct a lawyer.

road traffice offence questions

Road traffic offence questions

Do I need to name the driver for a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP)?

A question that we are asked is when I receive a notice of intended prosecution, do I need to answer that when I get the NIP through the post, do I need to fill in the details of who the driver was?

If you are the registered keeper of the vehicle, then you do. Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act makes it absolutely clear crystal clear that you do require to fill in a form. Now people also get anxious because often the notice isn’t served recorded delivery. You think that must be served, recorded delivery, or it should be served by personal service; otherwise, the Crown won’t be able to prove that I received it. While there’s an element of truth connected with this, you shouldn’t rely on it because the crown has other ways of proving that they serve these notices. 

The high court in Scotland has ruled that their methods of serving these notices are considered sufficient evidence that they’ve sent the notice. You must name the driver. And if you fail to do that, you’d be charged with section 172, which involves the higher penalty of six penalty points and generally a higher fine.

What if a ticket has a mistake?

The second question that we often get asked is. If there is a mistake on the ticket that the police officer has given me, when you’ve been pulled over for speeding or running a red light to using your mobile phone, is that a fundamental flaw and something I can rely upon?

The answer is generally no. Basically, if you’re handed a ticket by a police officer, that’s simply an offer to sort this matter out without it going to court. So it’s almost like a civil offer. You’re being offered a notice saying if you accept these three penalty points and the 60 pound fine, it’ll go no further.

Now that doesn’t mean that errors on the notice are of no consequence. They can be crucial, but generally, they would only be important if you decide not to pay for that ticket and go to trial. They become important evidentially because if a police officer has noted perhaps the wrong registration number or other wrong details, that may be something that you rely upon about your case.

How long do the police have or the prosecution has to bring this case against me?

One of the time limits is that if cameras detect you, the way that prosecution works is to receive a letter in the post. The notice of intended prosecution requires you to be with you within 14 days of the alleged offence. One of the issues that tend to arise there is people will contact us and say, I haven’t received the notice of intended prosecution within 14 days.

Is that an end of the matter? Sometimes it’s not, if the vehicle is a leased vehicle, if the vehicle is a company vehicle, if it’s registered in your name, then the issue is still alive because the time limit doesn’t exist concerning that type of situation.

If you are the registered keeper, then yes, that 14 day time is of the essence. If you’re not the registered keeper in the vehicle was a company vehicle of the light, then there’s another issue there. The other time limit that’s important with these cases is there’s a six-month time limit of speeding, using your phone, running a red light, careless driving and so on.

It’s six months from the alleged offence date until those papers are sent from the procurator fiscal’s office. So it’s the date of them sending that’s important because we get people phoning and saying I’m going to be country for X period of time. Would that suit the case if I’m out of the country and they can’t actually serve the case papers on me? No, it doesn’t make any difference because they can ultimately prove that they sent the papers out within the six month period. And if that’s done, then that’s perfectly appropriate, and it is within the time limit.

Glasgow road traffic lawyers

If you do receive case papers, check and see if this is something outside the time limit. Get in touch with us. We may have to have a diet of debate, which means the case calls in court. And we have to ask the court to set a debate and establish whether the court recommends that the time limit has been exceeded.

What we can do here is we will give you an assessment of your case. We base that on all of the information you give us; we give it not just what you tell us but also what the crown gives us in disclosure. After looking at all of this information, we’ll weigh that up, and we tell you exactly whether we think we can win your case. So contact us today and we can start the process and hopefully win your case.

speed awareness courses scotland

Lack of speed awareness courses in Scotland

Courses available throughout the UK but not Scotland

Despite ministers accepting a need for speed awareness courses, there is still a lack of speed awareness courses in Scotland. Speed awareness courses are widely available throughout the rest of the UK, but for some reason, they’re not available to motorists here in Scotland. So if you have the misfortune to be pulled over for low-level speeding, ae.g.nd just over the 30 mph limit or just over the 70 mph limits you don’t have an option of a speed awareness course. If you’re stopped for that sort of speed down in England, you’ll be asked if you want to go in a speed awareness course. If you choose to pay for that course, then you will not have penalty points endorsed on your license in Scotland.

Unfortunately, we do not have that available to us. Some questions have been asked recently in the Scottish parliament in connection with that. We would like to see speed awareness courses available throughout Scotland. There’s no real reason why they’re not available and it is something that could be easily implemented.

The companies who provide these courses done in England could easily have their systems replicated up here. It’s very easy for the whole system to be rolled out and very quick. And I would suggest that it’s something that could be available by the end of the year, but it does need some political will.

Just over the border and you can get no points

Ironically, you could actually be on the same road and just crossing over the border. On one side you get dealt with no penalty points and on this side, you receive three penalty points. As we know, penalty points can mean that you can be totted up and disqualified from driving.

Awareness courses are not just to avoid points. They reduce people’s bad driving as they are taught correct driving standards and allow the people to address the whole issue of just how good a driver they are. These courses make them aware of the issues of speed and the dangers that are involved and they pay for themselves so it costs nothing to the government.

Call specialist road traffic lawyers today

Until this is an option here in Scotland, contact a specialist road traffic lawyer today. We can take on your case, and explain likely outcomes., with initial consultations being completely free of charge.

pulled over by the police, stopped by the police

What to do if the police stop you

Don’t be aggressive or rude.

What do you do if the police have pulled you over in relation to speeding, dangerous driving, careless driving? What you don’t do is get rude and aggressive with the police officers. If you feel you’ve been wrongly accused of something, then what you need to do is start preparing your case really from the moment they stop you.

So mistake number one would be becoming rude and argumentative with the police officers. The first thing that sets them on edge and makes sure that they’re going to remember who you are is if you are rude or aggressive. They will likely remember everything about the incident to recall very clearly every little detail when they come to court. 

Cooperate fully

Cooperate fully with the police officers. They’re perfectly entitled to ask you your name, address, mot, and insurance. Nowadays, they tend not to bother with the mot and insurance because they’ve usually done a DVLA computer check even before they’ve stopped you. So they’re aware of your insurance position, or they’ve got a very good idea of it.

They’ve got a lot of information even before they stop you. So be aware of that. Cooperate, give details, and cooperate fully with them on that. Don’t start demanding calibration certificates and certificates of authenticity and certificates of accuracy concerning measurements. Your time will come, and you can deal with that at a trial. At this stage, the police officers may well show you a speed gun or show you a video in their car.

Note down equipment used.

What you should do is make a note of what equipment is being used. So have a look at the equipment. The car, if you see handheld devices that are Unipar devices provider. So please have a look at those things, look out for those words or labels and take a note of them at the time.

Personal video evidence

Another thing that I would suggest you do is video evidence. Everybody has smartphones nowadays, so use them. Don’t do this right into the face of a police officer. There’s nothing more obstructive or rude than somebody wielding a camera when you’re actually trying to do your job. Polite and discrete use of your smartphone or a video camera to video the circumstances surrounding the offence is appropriate.

Get their car in the video too. It’ll have the registration number. We’ll identify the time, the place and the circumstances from that because the police will later give evidence about it. Check the weather conditions such as temperature and rain. That will tell us whether there are icy conditions or whether it’s better than that. Video the actual road conditions too. Video the police officers on the roadway. So we can see their position with your video, the general road conditions, which will just allow us to see the traffic flow and the level of traffic flow when you’ve been stopped.

All of that can be really important, particularly in dangerous driving or careless driving. As I say, be discreet with what you’re doing. You are perfectly entitled to video; you’re entitled to video even the process of discussing with the police officers what’s happening, but don’t get into an argument about that whole situation. If they’re demanding that you stop, and if they do video activity, just tell them that you would like to refer to that at a later stage. So that’s why you’re videoing. And keep it polite, simple, and straight forward.

Don’t delay; call a road traffic lawyer.

Don’t wait for the case papers to come in. Don’t wait for a citation to arrive at your door; speak to a specialist lawyer as soon as you can sit down with him or her and find out if there’s anything else required to be obtained at that time. Sometimes, in particular with dangerous driving or careless driving cases, it’s worth having your case examined by an expert.

Sometimes it’s worth having your vehicle examined for damage and for an indication of what the damage was. And that’s the time to preserve that type of evidence. So speak to a lawyer as soon as you can. They’ll give you some advice. It’s usually free in the early stages, so it’s not going to cost you anything.

mistakes in drink driving cases

Mistakes made in drink driving cases

Assuming you will be convicted

The biggest mistake is to assume that because you’ve been charged with drink driving, that you will be convicted of drunk driving and therefore lose your driving licence. The consequences of going to court in relation to this type of charge are very serious. Drink driving cases are not over before they start.

So it’s a matter where you should speak to a lawyer at the earliest opportunity. As soon as you’ve been processed by the police, you should be contacting a lawyer. Evidence can be preserved and it can make a massive difference in how your case is dealt with at the end of the day. 

We have dealt with many types of cases depending on how the police deal with the evidence, what they do in relation to your case and the procedures that are involved in your case. Also taking into account whether they’re fair to you or not. You’ll really only know that if you speak to a lawyer who has experience in this area and can tell you just exactly what weight the court will bring to the evidence of how your case has been dealt with.

So there needs to be something fairly substantial for us to be able to win your case. But please do not assume that your case is simply a loser because you’ve been charged. Often it’s the case that we can mitigate the circumstances and explain the full background to the court. It’s not very often, that people openly accept that they’re involved in drunk driving. There’s usually some background there. So we always ask some probing questions and find out what the background is because. Often that’s something that the court really required to know.

Thinking the police always get it right

There are many ways the police can get something wrong in relation to drink driving. Maybe they measured your alcohol levels incorrectly. Maybe the sample was not taken in the correct manner. You could have had something in your mouth, such as chewing gum, tobacco etc. Perhaps you were on a special diet or have diabetes, asthma, other relevant medical condition. 

The idea we’re trying to give you is that there are many opportunities that could mean you are not convicted. We have to be allowed to analyse the evidence which can only occur if you contact us and contest the charge. 

Trying to explain that the police lied

This will very rarely work out for you. All you really need to do is show how the officer might simply be mistaken. We can check the case procedures thoroughly and ensure that all the relevant documents have been lodged to enable you to cross-examine whether the procedures were carried out appropriately. A Sheriff does not want to believe that a police officer is willing to lie to catch one person out for a road offence when they would be risking their careers. So it’s much more prudent to go for the angle that the police officer(s) are mistaken.

Lawyers for drink driving cases

So get in touch with us. We’re more than happy to speak to you in the first instance without a fee. Speak to one of our lawyers who will analyse your case. We’ll tell you the facts and we’ll tell you exactly what the position is and whether there’s any real worth in going to trial in relation to your case. Bear in mind that the devices that are used nowadays, the Intoximeter devices are approved devices that bring them a special status, which means that the court trusts the reading that comes from that device. Remember drink driving cases are worth examining so call asap.

pretending your partner was driving

Pretending your partner was driving

Pretending your partner was driving

If you’ve been flashed by a camera, then you may receive what’s called a notice of intended penalty or notice of intended prosecution through the door. And it asks you to name who was the driver of the vehicle. We get a lot of questions about this type of situation because people stress the issue of whether they’re going to take the points or whether they’re going to allow their partner or someone else who drives the vehicle to take the points and therefore lie. Pretending your partner was driving is a serious offence.

Perverting the course of justice

This is essentially an attempt to pervert the course of justice. What I want to do is to give you a warning, to not do that! It’s incredibly serious. And it has ended up in people who are first-time offenders, receiving custodial sentences in England. In particular, there have been cases where a policeman was caught providing false details of who was driving. He was given a custodial sentence. A nurse on another occasion received a custodial sentence. The famous case of former Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne also shows the severity of lying.

So don’t be tempted by the idea that you might have heard down the pub or the local golf club that you should just put your partner’s name down and she can take the points for that case. Be aware that there’s photographic evidence.

Road traffic lawyers

Photographic evidence in connection with these cases. And it will certainly be frowned upon and lead to a further charge if you were to attempt to mislead the police. If you need advice in relation to completing the notice of intended prosecution, give us a phone and tell us about the circumstances of your particular case and the points that are on your licence already. Do not get caught up in pretending your partner was driving. Face a prosecution head-on and with the truth and you have a far greater chance of succeeding.