Home > Driver Offences > Court Procedure for Driving Offences

Court Procedure for Driving Offences

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 3 Jul 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Driving Offences Court Procedure Process

Attending a court for driving offences, no matter how minor, can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience. The court process may seem less daunting if the driver does know the actual procedure that will take place.

Legal Representation and Preparation before a Court Case

It will be in the best interests of the accused to seek legal representation. A solicitor or lawyer will be able to give the best advice and guide the accused through the entire court procedure. A lawyer will know the best defence to use during a court case, and will fully prepare the defendant prior to the case. Anyone charged with an offence can of course represent themselves but it is doubtful that they will be experts on motoring law. The court is also under no legal obligation to provide a duty solicitor for the accused on the day of the hearing.

Length of Time before a Court Case is Heard

The length of time before a case arrives at court can vary significantly. The police will have up to six months from when the incident took place to begin the court process. Some police forces will serve the papers within a few weeks of the incident while others will wait until the six months are almost up. In some cases it can take around eight months before a case actually goes to court. This varying time length means that the accused may not actually receive notice of court proceedings until the six months has elapsed.

Will The Accused Be Required to Attend Court?

Whether or not the accused has to attend court will be dependant on the severity of the offence. Some offences can be dealt with by letter. The accused can plead guilty by letter but the court may still request that they attend. It may be the case that legal representation can attend court in place of the accused, depending on the offence. Anyone who has been charged with an offence and then bailed must appear in court.

Pleading Guilty by Post to a Motoring Offence

Pleading guilty by post means the accused will not have to personally attend court. The accused will have to supply their licence and also a Statement of Means. The accused will also be able to provide written mitigating circumstances outlining why the offence took place. This will also be a chance to explain why the accused does not think they should be punished severely. Legal representation should be used when detailing the mitigating circumstances.

Which Court Will the Case Be Heard in?

Countries in the UK do have different courts. In England and Wales driving offences are heard in Magistrates’ Courts. Around 95% of all cases in England and Wales are dealt with in Magistrates’ Courts and cases will usually be heard in the accused person’s local court. In Scotland there are three different courts; the Sheriff Court, the District Court and the Justice of the Peace. The severity of the case will determine the court in which the case will be heard.

How Long the Hearing Will Last

Court hearing length times can vary and there is usually no set time limit. If the accused is not prepared for the case a verdict can be reached very quickly. Most guilty plea cases will be disposed of in around 30 minutes. Not guilty cases can be much longer especially if witnesses are appearing. A plea of not guilty may mean that more than one court hearing is required. In most cases a minimum of two court hearings will be required for a not guilty plea.

Court Adjournment If Unprepared for a Court Hearing

If the accused is unprepared for the hearing a court may decided to adjourn and reschedule. It may also be the case that the court will simply decide to pass verdict for a guilty plea if the accused is unprepared. This means the court will impose the punishment it feels is warranted by the offence. If an adjournment is granted this will mean a further court hearing at a future date.

Any driver who is charged with an offence should take legal advice and representation well in advance of a court hearing. One of the main benefits of legal representation is that the defence Counsel can negotiate with the prosecution minutes before the court hearing. This is an important part of the process and is one of the reasons why it is beneficial to have legal representation.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
AC - Your Question:
Hello, I was stopped whilst carrying out delivery work in my car, insurance was checked and there was a discrepancy between the level of cover I had and that which was required (carriage of own goods held, carriage of goods for hire or reward required) I was given a ticket and told that my insurance was not valid etc. 2 weeks later I received a notice in post from the central ticket office with a pre-court offer of 6 points and a fixed fine with 28 days to accept. I did not accept the offer wishing instead to have my day in court to explain my error. This was over 8 months ago now and I have since not heard anything more. How long should this process take before I receive a summons?

Our Response:
The court papers should be laid within 6 months, it might be worth getting in touch with the police/courts to find out whether a summons has beenissued and it hasn't got to you for some reason.
NoPenaltyPoints - 4-Jul-18 @ 2:36 PM
Hello, I was stopped whilst carrying out delivery work in my car, insurance was checked and there was a discrepancy between the level of cover I had and that which was required (carriage of own goods held, carriage of goods for hire or reward required) I was given a ticket and told that my insurance was not valid etc. 2 weeks later I received a notice in post from the central ticket office with a pre-court offer of 6 points and a fixed fine with 28 days to accept. I did not accept the offer wishing instead to have my day in court to explain my error. This was over 8 months ago now and I have since not heard anything more. How long should this process take before I receive a summons?
AC - 3-Jul-18 @ 6:11 PM
Mike997 - Your Question:
I have reviewed a letter for a court summons for not giving police the name of a driver who was speeding, it was my partner the car is registered to me,But I haven’t had a letter I work offshore so am away a lot, I can prove with flights ect I have had correspondence with police enforcement unit prior via email and always made contactI am now facing 6 points which will give me 12 and a possible banShould I contact police and aim to provide them with info or had it gone to far and I’ll need attend court which is difficult with my jobThanks in advance

Our Response:
There may be not much you can do about this. If the NIP was sent to your home as the registered keeper, the police have followed the correct procedure - it's not as if it's been lost in the post etc. It's always wise to have someone else open your mail or have it sent on if you're going to be away from more than 2 or 3 weeks.
NoPenaltyPoints - 20-Jun-18 @ 2:56 PM
I have reviewed a letter for a court summons for not giving police the name of a driver who was speeding, it was my partner the car is registered to me, But I haven’t had a letter I work offshore so am away a lot, I can prove with flights ect I have had correspondence with police enforcement unit prior via email and always made contact I am now facing 6 points which will give me 12 and a possible ban Should I contact police and aim to provide them with info or had it gone to far and I’ll need attend court which is difficult with my job Thanks in advance
Mike997 - 16-Jun-18 @ 9:56 PM
Eddie800- Your Question:
Hi, I was pulled over by police officer because my car flashed up I had no insurance. So I tried finding out from my insurance what was going on turns out they cancelled it the month before (in aware as I had moved address) for a non-fault claim that was a fault claim on the system. Anyway was given a producer and told to take in within 7 days proof of insurance. I wasn’t insured but insured the next day and took my previous policy, my new policy and a copy of the letter that I hadn’t received and I a letter from myself explaining the situation. Now the woman said she had to pass the documents to the police officer who pulled me over and then was up to him to decide wether or not he took it any further. I’ve not heard anything or had any post and it’s been over a month now. She did say that he might let me off. So the question is should I have heard something by now? Thanks in advance.

Our Response:
You may still hear further. The police actually have up to 6 months in which to initiate further action.
NoPenaltyPoints - 12-Jun-18 @ 11:11 AM
Hi I I was recently stopped driving a psv vehicle with passengers on for passing through a red traffic light I apologised to officer and was told I would be reported for offence of driving through red light I was not cautioned or never got any paperwork at the scene so what is worse case scenario points and fine Thx in advance
Craigb1971 - 10-Jun-18 @ 9:16 PM
Hi, I was pulled over by police officer because my car flashed up I had no insurance. So I tried finding out from my insurance what was going on turns out they cancelled it the month before (in aware as I had moved address) for a non-fault claim that was a fault claim on the system. Anyway was given a producer and told to take in within 7 days proof of insurance. I wasn’t insured but insured the next day and took my previous policy, my new policy and a copy of the letter that i hadn’t received and I a letter from myself explaining the situation. Now the woman said she had to pass the documents to the police officer who pulled me over and then was up to him to decide wether or not he took it any further. I’ve not heard anything or had any post and it’s been over a month now. She did say that he might let me off. So the question is should I have heard something by now? Thanks in advance.
Eddie800 - 9-Jun-18 @ 7:56 AM
Stevej - Your Question:
Hi, I,was stopped by a unmarked police car who said I was using my mobile phone, which I was and was using total hands free the phone automatically connects as soon as you get into it, but he stated I was texting at the traffic lights which I was not, when the officer came to the window of my car I said I give you permission to go through my phone and check see if I sent or deleted any txts he declined and still gave me a ticket,so it comes down to his word against mine, I told him to write on the ticket that I was not using my phone, I have now received a letter from the police saying £200 fine, for an allegally using my phone, will I get points and where do I stand on the matter if I go to court.

Our Response:
It might be worth seeking advice from a legal professional if you want to appeal this. Note that mobile use offences also carry 6 penalty points so it's quite an impact on your licence.
NoPenaltyPoints - 11-Apr-18 @ 3:47 PM
Hi, I,was stopped by a unmarked police car who said I was using my mobile phone, which I was and was using total hands free the phone automatically connects as soon as you get into it, but he stated I was texting at the traffic lights which I was not, when the officer came to the window of my car I said I give you permission to go through my phone and check see if I sent or deleted any txts he declined and still gave me a ticket,so it comes down to his word against mine, I told him to write on the ticket that I was not using my phone, I have now received a letter from the police saying £200 fine, for an allegally using my phone, will I get points and where do I stand on the matter if I go to court.
Stevej - 4-Apr-18 @ 8:36 AM
Greg - Your Question:
Hi.Had a accident on motorway.Was driven a coach.3 lanes.Middle lane blocked by car driver who was driven 40 miles per hr with no reason.No traffic.Try to change lane.Car was on undertaken of my coach.My foult I should cheked before more carefully.But does this car was allowed to do this on left side.????? Highway code 268.How should understand it.?Thanks for any answers.

Our Response:
We can't give advice on individual cases where we don't have information fromboth parties.
NoPenaltyPoints - 3-Apr-18 @ 11:10 AM
Hi.Had a accident on motorway.Was driven a coach.3 lanes.Middle lane blocked by car driver who was driven 40 miles per hr with no reason.No traffic.Try to change lane.Car was on undertaken of my coach.My foult I should cheked before more carefully.But does this car was allowed to do this on left side.????? Highway code 268.How should understand it.?Thanks for any answers.
Greg - 30-Mar-18 @ 6:50 AM
I received 5 NIPs to my old address over a 3 month period due to forgetting to update the address on my V5. However, they were send back as 'return to sender' immediately but took the police 4 months to send them out to my current address. I've sent back one and have arranged a Speed Awareness course but am risking a ban for the remaining 4. I feel that if the reissued NIPs were sent out sooner some, if not all the remaining 4 offences wouldn't have even occured as I would have sat the speed course for the first offence. Also, a ban would affect my ability to get to work and to pick up my son from school. Which, if any, of these mitigating circumstances could I use and would they be considered?
syntax_error - 27-Mar-18 @ 10:35 AM
Glen, contact the court directly.They will let you make a statutory declaration (that you knew nothing of the case) and they will re-open it for you. Caddie:You're within the range of getting 6pts, but not certain. If you want to plead exceptional hardship, attend court in person don't just write a letter.If you're the sole bread winner and your family and home depend on you, you have a good chance.Then remember your family every time you go out and drive from then on - 89 in a 60?
JT - 13-Mar-18 @ 10:17 AM
I received a letter saying I am disqualified by the North London Court but I didn't receive a letter saying I had a court appearance so what do I do now as I drive for a living.
Glen - 12-Mar-18 @ 3:34 PM
Hi. I got caught doing 89mph on dual carriageway where class of work van is 60mph. I have already got 6 points- not for speeding. I need my licence for work. My partner and kid are dependant on me and i have a mortgage. I am pleading guilty and going to submit a letter asking if they would consider a hefty fine and less points as 6 points mean automatic ban. Any help in wording letter much appreciated
Caddie - 10-Mar-18 @ 7:29 PM
SkOoTeR- Your Question:
Do the courts have to give you points for every motoring offence or is it at their discretion.

Our Response:
Once a case has gone to court, the decision on the penalty given lies with the judge. They do tend to follow set guidelines, but if they feel you have mitigating circumstances, these will be considered.
NoPenaltyPoints - 21-Feb-18 @ 2:47 PM
Do the courts have to give you points for every motoring offence or is it at their discretion.
SkOoTeR - 20-Feb-18 @ 10:44 PM
Kelso - Your Question:
I’m a regular customer at a local takeaway and they needed help to take a couple of orders because it was very busy and No Drivers were in so I agreed because they were on my way home. Anyway I got pulled over by police for having a headlight out which had just gone, then they noticed the food In the car and asked if I was delivering and I said no I was taking them for a friends next I’m in the back of the police car and they’re filling out a form to the ticket office for driving without business insurance which I wasn’t aware that you needed it. I received a letter in the post which a conditional offer of 6 points and £300 fine, if I accept I’ll lose my license as I’m still in the probationary period, or go to magistrates to dispute the case. What should I do and any advice?

Our Response:
We don't really have any advice unfortunately. If you want to argue that you were doing a friend a favour you'd need to appeal and appear in court...we suggest professional legal advice.
NoPenaltyPoints - 2-Feb-18 @ 11:25 AM
I’m a regular customer at a local takeaway and they needed help to take a couple of orders because it was very busy and No Drivers were in so I agreed because they were on my way home. Anyway I got pulled over by police for having a headlight out which had just gone, then they noticed the food In the car and asked if I was delivering and I said no I was taking them for a friends next I’m in the back of the police car and they’re filling out a form to the ticket office for driving without business insurance which I wasn’t aware that you needed it. I received a letter in the post which a conditional offer of 6 points and £300 fine, if I accept I’ll lose my license as I’m still in the probationary period, or go to magistrates to dispute the case. What should I do and any advice?
Kelso - 31-Jan-18 @ 4:38 PM
Hi My ex carer was in a house fire a year ago which caused her to have a bleed on her brain and was having fits as a result. She always got around a 20 minute warning and she told me her consultant had said because she gets warning she doesn't need to declare it even though she could have a couple of fits a day (tbf #he did ALWAYS get a plentiful warning) She was my carer, I said if the consultant had said she was ok to drive I was ok with her driving very locally and on no A roads or motorways. I went away on holiday, whilst I was away she took my car to the other side of the country on a roads and motorways when I had specifically said to her she wasn't allowed, not only that but it is my motability car. It wasn't been used for me as I was out of the country but she knew she wasn't allowed to use it for what she did. Her boyfriend was aware of the rules and knew she wasn't allowed to drive on those roads especially when I am out of the country. My question is......is this classed as theft? Also canher boyfriend face charges also with him knowing she wasn't to use it let alone go across country in my motability car when I was the other side of the world?
Spazzle - 28-Dec-17 @ 1:50 AM
Kp - Your Question:
Hi, I have been issue with a nip. I was driving on a dual carriage way in the right hand lane but needed to be in the left. I tried to pull into the lane but didn't realise there was a car in my blind spot which then beeped at me. I got all flustered and carried on driving in the right. I saw a lorry in the left and decided to pull in front of that, unfortunately because I was consentrating on moving into the left lane, I didn't see the traffic light on the driver side and the lorry was blocking the view of the one on the passenger side, so as I over took the lorry and headed to the left lane, it caused a car to collide into my driver side as I when through the lights on red. I'm very lucky as neither myself or the other driver were injured, I wasn't driving very fast. I'm so worried. Do you think I'll lose my licence. Do you know what will happen to me. I've never had any other offences or crashes in the 9 years I've been driving.

Our Response:
Wedon't know what action will be taken the NIP might have been issued because you crossed the lights on red but the police will already have your details from the collision we assume.
NoPenaltyPoints - 19-Dec-17 @ 2:49 PM
Hi, I have been issue with a nip. I was driving on a dual carriage way in the right hand lane but needed to be in the left. I tried to pull into the lane but didn't realise there was a car in my blind spot which then beeped at me. I got all flustered and carried on driving in the right. I saw a lorry in the left and decided to pull in front of that, unfortunately because I was consentrating on moving into the left lane, I didn't see the traffic light on the driver side and the lorry was blocking the view of the one on the passenger side, so as i over took the lorry and headed to the left lane, it caused a car to collide into my driver side as I when through the lights on red. I'm very lucky as neither myself or the other driver were injured, I wasn't driving very fast. I'm so worried. Do you think I'll lose my licence.Do you know what will happen to me. I've never had any other offences or crashes in the 9 years I've been driving.
Kp - 17-Dec-17 @ 2:17 PM
I ran a red light at 0mph what would the outcome of this be it said the light was red for 0.9secs. I know it's still a red light but do you know what the outcome might be
Gem - 2-Dec-17 @ 11:23 AM
Kenick - Your Question:
My husband got caught doing 112mph on. 70 dual carriage way we received a letter in which we pleaded guilty out of court with a written statement the courts and now rang him and he has been summoned to court does this mean he is definitely getting a ban as if he gets a ban he will lose his job and me and my 2 children are dependent on him.

Our Response:
We can't say what the courts will decide unfortunately. The recommended penalty (where a case goes to court) for speeds in excess of 101mph in a 70 zone are: A band C fine (up to 150% of your weekly income), 6 points or a 7 - 56 day ban.
NoPenaltyPoints - 10-Nov-17 @ 3:25 PM
My husband got caught doing 112mph on. 70 dual carriage way we received a letter in which we pleaded guilty out of court with a written statement the courts and now rang him and he has been summoned to court does this mean he is definitely getting a ban as if he gets a ban he will lose his job and me and my 2 children are dependent on him.
Kenick - 9-Nov-17 @ 10:20 AM
I was stopped at roadside for having no insurance. I did have no insurance as my partner had renewed my insurance with another cheaper company using go compare. However he put in the car make and it auto filled to our car from years ago and he didn't realise. We had all paper work to evidence that we were paying insurance but for the wrong car. We changed it on the spot and the insurance company informed the police officer that this has happened on many occasions. However I was kept at the road side for nearly 2 hours with my 1 year old. Cautioned and fined £300 and 6 points. It was an unintentional error. I don't not have the money to pay the fine winthin the 28 days and 6 points on my license will effect the ability for me to fulfill my job as we have to drive a work vehicle under their insurance. I would also have to explain any convictions as I work with vulnerable adults and require enhanced checks. Does any one have any advice on what to do. I can't pay the fine I will have to attend court.
Lins - 25-Oct-17 @ 9:07 AM
Hi... I recently ran a speed camera at 37 in a 30 zone. Silly I know. I received the paperwork to name the driver which I responded to. I then received the paperwork about what I could do I.e. take the points and pay the fine or attend the course etc. I sent this back to the relevant place and didn’t hear anything and stupidly, I left it even though this was only just over two months ago. I have now received the court paperwork and of course, I can’t prove that I sent the paperwork back in the first instance. What can I expect now? Will I definitely get the points? Will they be more that the original 3 and is it likely to be a hefty fine? The original was £100. Thanks for your help.
Shaz - 24-Oct-17 @ 9:16 PM
I was stopped at roadside for having no insurance. I did have no insurance as my partner had renewed my insurance with another cheaper company using go compare. However he put in the car make and it auto filled to our car from years ago and he didn't realise. We had all paper work to evidence that we were paying insurance but for the wrong car. We changed it on the spot and the insurance company informed the police officer that this has happened on many occasions. However I was kept at the road side for nearly 2 hours with my 1 year old. Cautioned and fined £300 and 6 points. It was an unintentional error. I don't not have the money to pay the fine winthin the 28 days and 6 points on my license will effect the ability for me to fulfill my job as we have to drive a work vehicle under their insurance. I would also have to explain any convictions as I work with vulnerable adults and require enhanced checks. Does any one have any advice on what to do. I can't pay the fine I will have to attend court.
Lins - 24-Oct-17 @ 7:42 PM
I was stopped at roadside for having no insurance. I did have no insurance as my partner had renewed my insurance with another cheaper company using go compare. However he put in the car make and it auto filled to our car from years ago and he didn't realise. We had all paper work to evidence that we were paying insurance but for the wrong car. We changed it on the spot and the insurance company informed the police officer that this has happened on many occasions. However I was kept at the road side for nearly 2 hours with my 1 year old. Cautioned and fined £300 and 6 points. It was an unintentional error. I don't not have the money to pay the fine winthin the 28 days and 6 points on my license will effect the ability for me to fulfill my job as we have to drive a work vehicle under their insurance. I would also have to explain any convictions as I work with vulnerable adults and require enhanced checks. Does any one have any advice on what to do. I can't pay the fine I will have to attend court.
Lins - 24-Oct-17 @ 6:06 PM
N - Your Question:
Hi, I was caught doing 47 in a 20, I know this was stupid of me. I have 3 points from two years ago, I have been issued with a band c slip from the police and they have said I will be written to with the sanction information. From reading online I can see that I will either get 6 points and a big fine or get a driving ban. If I was to be banned from driving its going to cost me a job I have worked really hard as an apprentice to get over the last 2 years. I'm 26 and loosing my licence will kill everything Iv worked for in the future. What are the chances I will be issued with a ban? Is there any possibility I will not be summoned to court? Regards

Our Response:
We really don't know what the chances of this are - it will be up to a judge. If you fear losing your licence may affect your livelihood, it may be worth contacting a legal professional/motoring lawyer.
NoPenaltyPoints - 18-Sep-17 @ 12:47 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the NoPenaltyPoints website. Please read our Disclaimer.