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Court Procedure for Driving Offences

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 28 Dec 2017 | 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.

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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
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
N - 15-Sep-17 @ 11:41 PM
Gim - Your Question:
A policeman stopped me and accused me of running a red light but I am 100% I didn't. I received a letter and emailed back to request the appropriate email to appeal.I received an email to state that my email will be sent to the appropriate department. Months later I received a summons to court for not responding to a letter for the offence of running a red letter.The case went to Magistrates court and the officer gave contradictory evidence when I crossed examined him. But still I was found guilty. I have appealed the case at the crown court. Do I have a case or just drop it?

Our Response:
We can't give this kind of independent legal advice sorry. You may have to seek advice from a motoring lawyer who will be able to look at the evidence presented by the police etc.
NoPenaltyPoints - 24-Aug-17 @ 11:30 AM
A policeman stopped me and accused me of running a red light but I am 100% I didn't . I received a letter and emailed back to request the appropriate email to appeal. I received an email to state that my email will be sent to the appropriate department. Months later I received a summons to court for not responding to a letter for the offence of running a red letter. The case went to Magistrates court and the officer gave contradictory evidence when I crossed examined him. But still I was found guilty. I have appealed the case at the crown court. Do I have a case or just drop it?
Gim - 22-Aug-17 @ 4:20 PM
Mishko - Your Question:
I wasnt caught but letter arrived to my partners name that car was involved in accident and fled the scene of crime. I was driving it that time and it was just a bump which I dont remember. I do not own driving licence or have insurance although car is insured and got everything. I did admitted it straight away for taking without her consent. I am a mental healt sufferer. Im going to court and do not know what to do

Our Response:
It might be worth seeing if you can find legal help. Try your local Citizens' Advice. We can't really help other than that, as what you did broke several motoring "laws"
NoPenaltyPoints - 27-Jul-17 @ 12:15 PM
I wasnt caught but letter arrived to my partners name that car was involved in accident and fled the scene of crime. I was driving it that time and it was just a bump which i dont remember. I do not own driving licence or have insurance although car is insured and got everything. I did admitted it straight away for taking without her consent. I am a mental healt sufferer. Im going to court and do not know what to do
Mishko - 23-Jul-17 @ 6:57 PM
i drive without full driving lices but i have insurance mot and road tax pleas is it not affect me to get my british passport
keji - 10-Jul-17 @ 3:36 PM
Someone I know has been caught on a traffic light offence. Replied and accepted it was them but hasn't booked on the course because he has been out of work. He now has a letter for a court hearing. He gets paid this week is there anything he can do??
Cherev - 8-Jun-17 @ 12:04 AM
Hi.Our family car was snapped speeding 40 in a 30 .... we don't know who was driving. I answered the letter asking for photographic evidence to find out who was driving ... the pic was of the rear of the car so no luck.... I wrote back saying that we could not identify who was driving, and gave the details of the other person who might have been driving. They wrote back sayingI needed to provide the name of the person driving.I again wrote back explaining I did. It truly know who was driving. They have now said the case will be taken to court. They have also failed to contact the other person who could have been driving the car ... will I have to attend court..... what do you expect the outcome to be
EQ - 26-May-17 @ 11:57 PM
Hello, I have been caught driving with no insurance due to not being informed by my ex, where my post is still going as I'm going through the process of changing it. I would just like to know am I able to still drive until my court date and they have made a decision on My punishment, thank you for your time
Niall - 21-Apr-17 @ 6:31 PM
Lin2 - Your Question:
On Sunday morning last week I went through a red light I was not speeding and realised what I had done. just befor it happened I pulled over as a very large old man had fallen over my passenger got out and helped another fellow get him up on his feet I then pulled out and as I was about to go ithrough the lights in question he decided to cross the road he was very unsteady and because I was watching him I missed the lights change I have had a letter and have replied admitting the offence now I have to a pear in court I am very worried as I had a ban ten years ago for failing to provide a specimen can you tell me if this is the reason why and if it will mean a serious problem

Our Response:
We really don't know sorry. Did you reply to the initial letter with mitigating circumstances? Sometimes, if you do this, your case automatically becomes a case for the courts to decide.
NoPenaltyPoints - 31-Mar-17 @ 12:15 PM
On Sunday morning last week I went through a red light Iwas not speeding and realised what I had done. just befor it happened I pulled over as a very large old man had fallen over my passenger got out and helped another fellow get him up on his feet I then pulled out and as I was about to go ithroughthe lights in questionhe decided to cross the roadhe was very unsteady and because I was watching him I missed the lightschange I have had a letterand have replied admitting the offencenow I have to a pear in court I am very worried as I had a ban ten years ago for failing to provide a specimen can you tell me if this is the reason why and if it will mean a seriousproblem
Lin2 - 30-Mar-17 @ 4:08 PM
I was caught doing 35 in a 20 zone by a camera van. What will happen next?
Jjojo - 2-Mar-17 @ 12:49 AM
Hi I was caught by a speed gun doing 38 in a 20mph zone. I was NOT stopped at the time, however I received a NIP in the post within a couple of weeks. This all happened in September 2016. Fast-forward to Feb 2017, and I have a SJPN with 21 days to respond (guilty - no court, guilty - in court, not guilty). How should I plead? Any idea what the likely outcome of a guilty plea will be? Should I write a mitigating note? The witness statement includes a picture of the scene of the offence, however my vehicle isnt in it. Does this matter? With regards to the speeding, I have no excuses really. The circumstances were: - I ride a 125cc motorcycle normally - on the day, I had been riding an instructor's bike (700cc) in preparation for a bike test. - I failed said test, and had just switched back to my 125cc - on my way home from the test, and had gone a short distance from the riding school just before the traffic police caught me. - clear road and in dry conditions
eeywfob - 1-Mar-17 @ 5:47 PM
Gee - Your Question:
Hi there, I was stopped by police doing 79 in a 50 last year 09/08/2016. Police cautioned me and said they my details will be forwarded to an independent department who look at various factors i.e. road conditions time of the day etc. and will write to me presumably NIP.I didn't receive any paperwork until 24th Jan 2017 were they sent a SJPN with 3 options.Do I have any grounds of appeal? Or for pleading not guilty? And what is likely to be the fine or penalty points?thanks.

Our Response:
No there won't be any grounds for appeal. The police have up to 6 months to initiate further action after stopping you. The likely penalty will be a fine plus points, but a temporary ban may also be considered by the judge.
NoPenaltyPoints - 27-Jan-17 @ 2:46 PM
Hi there, I was stopped by police doing 79 in a 50 last year 09/08/2016. Police cautioned me and said they my details will be forwarded to an independent department who look at various factors i.e. road conditions time of the day etc. and will write to me presumably NIP. I didn't receive any paperwork until 24th Jan 2017 were they sent a SJPN with 3 options. Do I have any grounds of appeal? Or for pleading not guilty? And what is likely to be the fine or penalty points? thanks.
Gee - 26-Jan-17 @ 4:40 PM
Hi, I received single justice procedure notice for speeding of 68 miles on a 40 miles road. I was stopped at the spot and given caution but not fixed penalty note as I have a EU driving license. The police officer was using Pro Laser III speed detection device and showed me the reading and I accepted the fact that I was too fast. I didnt signed anything then. 5.5 months later, I receved the single justice procedure notice and not thinking what to do. Option 1) Admit via replying to the letter. Option 2) Admit but ask to attend the court. Option 3) Dont admit For me. option 1 is attractive, but the court is asking me to provide details about my income and send the driving license. Question: If I go for option 2, would the court still ask me to fill the form MC100 or is it sufficient to give the information verbally (which is much easier). Regards David
David - 25-Jan-17 @ 1:36 PM
Hi, I got caught not wearing a seatbelt, I was given a AA Tech course to take but it came in my wife's name, I called AA tech and asked for the name to be changed and was told they will request it and resend the letter again. waited but instead of a name change I have received a SJPN notice, but again in my wife's name. The police witness report attached to it clearly states my name DOB etc. should we fill in the NOT guilty on the fact that it should be in my name.
RP - 24-Jan-17 @ 11:02 AM
Recied expired nip what should I do
Magi 266 - 11-Jan-17 @ 11:59 PM
I (very foolishly) allowed my friend to drive my car on a provisional drivers licence without insurance. He was pulled over by the police as my tail light was out. What will happen to me? Will I need to go to court? Will my licence be taken off me?
Frank - 10-Dec-16 @ 4:23 PM
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