What do you need to do when you get a motoring offence?
If you get a Notice of Intended Prosecution you need to act quickly
The first indication that you may have of being prosecuted for a motoring offence will be receipt of a Notice of Intended Prosecution. If you get one of those do not delay in seeking legal advice promptly because if, for example it is a speeding offence, you may be able to avoid points by doing a course if you act before a court date has been set.
If you have already been convicted of an offence and you want to appeal, you need to act quickly and seek legal advice fast because strict time limits apply.
Funding your case
Check to see if your motor insurance has Legal expense insurance attached as that may fund defence of a motoring prosecution. Look at your insurance documents carefully because often legal expense insurance is an add on that you may have bought with your vehicle insurance.
If you are a member of a trade union or other membership association, that may offer legal expense cover for motoring offences as part of the membership.
Legal Aid is rarely available for motoring offences so if you do not have legal expense insurance or another funder you will probably have to pay yourself. Some solicitors offer fixed fees which will vary depending on whether you are pleading guilty and in which court, Magistrates or Crown, it is being dealt with. The costs will generally be higher if the matter is being dealt with in the Crown court as those tend to be more serious cases.
If you are quoted a fixed fee check to see whether it is fixed or just an estimate which may change depending on how much legal work is done.
Do I need a Local Solicitor?
Not necessarily. Many solicitors providing a specialist service for motoring offences will do so on a nationwide or regional basis. You will not necessarily need to see your solicitor until the court hearing, and you can meet them then at court. Much of the preparation work can be done by telephone.
However, it is worth checking to see if the solicitor specialises in motoring offences, this is a complex area of law and someone who specialises in it may be able to get a better result than someone who rarely does any motoring work. Look at their website – does it have much specific content on your sort of problem? Can the solicitor give examples of motoring cases that they have won?
Guilty or Not Guilty
You will need to discuss with the solicitor whether you intend to plead guilty or not guilty. Outline the facts to the solicitor and they can advise you on whether you are likely to succeed with a not guilty plea. Knowing the full facts may help your solicitor identify a technical defence that could apply to your case.
Even if you are pleading guilty, using a solicitor can be worthwhile because they could be able to successfully mitigate your sentence and it could be the difference between, for example, keeping your driving licence or not.