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Court Procedure for Driving Offences

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 5 Nov 2020 | 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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I have a problem l sent my license off and paid £100 fine and expected to get 3 points on my license. Instead l got a letter to go to court. The Police claim they did not receive my licence but l have proof of postage and that's why l have been summoned to court. I did what l was legally obliged to do, how can l prove my innocents, can anyone help me please.?
livia - 5-Nov-20 @ 6:28 PM
I have owned up to driving 103mph on a motor way. I'm expecting a SJPN. However, I have a faulty speedometer and I dont know how to explain this in court. Advice please.
Calvine89 - 13-Jul-20 @ 12:27 AM
I had an overtake and a video was made about it, although in the video how many mph are not visible and the history is not seen just bypassing it.The whistleblower works for the Metropolitan Police Traffic Criminal Justice unit.I got a penalty of £ 100 and 3 points whit courses.My fault i booked to do courses two days late.I make a plea free choice becouse just want to go courses.Free single justice send me £ 305 and 5 points fine.Do I have a chance against such a person?I driving 1978 ota, full clear my driving license.And now in a difficult situation due to the corona virus I don’t have a job so I don’t know how to pay the £ 305 penalty.Is it possible to get at least the original quince?I don’t understand why I got more points and money penalties. Thank you
Ban333 - 26-Jun-20 @ 5:49 PM
I was caught speeding yesterday doing 110mph on the motorway and caught by an unmarked police car. They are referring it to the courts. I haven’t recieved the paperwork yet but I have drafted up a statement for mitigating circumstances. A solicitor is going to cost me £1000 but they said that my letter is very good but advised me to consider representation as they may disregard my statement without representation. Will the magistrates give me the chance to read my statement out to them and consider their decision after I have read this out?
Scanners - 20-Apr-20 @ 4:30 PM
Last year, whilst at a standstill, a transit drove into the back of me, writing my car off. Despite not being well after the accident, my insurance company told me that I only had a set amount of time to get a new car, or lose my insurance. My son in law got me a car. I rang the insurance company and gave the details of the new vehicle. I was asked for around 90.00. As I had never been through the process before, I presumed that the extra money extended my insurance for a full year, meaning I was insured until March 2020. Skip to 31st Dec. I got stopped by a traffic officer as I was parking up, I was asked if I had insurance? I answered of course I did, until March. Their system showed that I didn't. I was very anxious. The gave me a produce slip. Went into my friends and spent all evening looking for my policy docs. Eventually found an email that I hadn't seen from my insurance company, saying that my insurance was due to run out at the end of Oct. I went on line, got insurance, produced a week later, explained. I got an ECO letter. 300.00 and 6 points or go to court. No possibility of paying the fine in instalments. I have a disability and don't work, so I don't have 300.00. I didn't do this on purpose. I have PTSD and I have dissociative tendencies, I was just not dealing with the crash well. Can anyone help please? I can't afford legal advice/ representation. CAB say to go to court.
Jujudrops1960 - 12-Feb-20 @ 2:23 PM
Hey, I was driving along the A1 in April last year when my radio turnt off when I was on the phone and I automatically (stupidly) picked my phone up to my ear, I was told to pull over by a police officer in the next lane, signed his form ect.. 3 months later I was offered 6 points and a fine which was said the incident occurred on the road my license is registered to. I spoke to the police and said it was wrong, they sent me out another one with the wrong address again. I ignored it, then received a summons in October, with the same issue I plead not guilt over the Internet, heard nothing back until on the 18th December which was a new court summons, with the correct information, then on the 20th December that same thing. I ignored the last two because I've already plead no guilty I've no missed the 21 period I've checked to see if I have points on my license and it's still clean. What do I do next? Just so confused by the process
Plumber94 - 20-Jan-20 @ 6:09 PM
Caught Driving 76mph in a temporary 30mph speed limit which is usually 70mph by a mobile speed camera in a policeman’s car/van. Accepted to be the driver. Should I plead guilty or go to court? What is my best course of action
Mo - 7-Jan-20 @ 4:51 PM
Hi, my husband was pulled over in my car as they stated he wasn’t insured to drive it. Received letter saying to except 6 points and fine or to request a court hearing. If we go to court and still get the fine and points, don you know who much the court fees we would have to pay?
Ash - 10-Dec-19 @ 12:59 AM
I was alone driving with a provisional license and got my right mirror hit by another car. how will this incident be solved for me without any impact on my licensemy car is fully insured
TOM - 5-Aug-19 @ 9:19 PM
I owned up to speeding at 96mph. I have now recieved an SJPN for this. Whats the best course of action to mitigate this.
Dee - 6-Mar-19 @ 5:44 PM
Hi there. I received a ticket from a patrol car police officer who saw me without my seat belt as I crawled round an estate road corner at 5 mph. He gave me a ticket even though I explained that I'd taken it off for 5 seconds as I'd pulled over to deliver a parcel then decided to go into the building at the next entrance.I've since read that delivery drivers are exempt from wearing a seatbelt if the distance is no more than 50metres. This was the case. I drive a car derived van which is classed as a Goods Vehicle, had a sign in my windscreen saying I was a courier, had a hi-vis, parcel and hand held terminal in my hand. The PO even asked me if I wanted to deliver the parcel whilst waiting for the traffic police to turn up with a ticket. Should he have given ben me the ticket? Thanks very much for your time.
Margaret - 5-Mar-19 @ 3:41 PM
Hi I was driving alone on provisional licence and had comprehensive insurance(some emergency) pulled over by cops and said I am going court they said I was driving negligent what should I expect from court
Sam - 19-Dec-18 @ 3:35 PM
Hi was doing 57 in a 30 zone got to go court what could happen have had clean licence for 8years
Milly - 5-Nov-18 @ 10:03 AM
I drove in a red X on M25 because I had been driving for over two hours, have a bladder problem and needed to get home on M1 to relieve myself. Is this a strict liability offence? If not I would go to court to plead my case.If it is strict liability do 3 points automatically follow with fine?
May - 5-Oct-18 @ 4:44 PM
nosaynt - Your Question:
Traded car at dealer under government scrappage scheme left dealer with a new car. Months later get a sjpn in mail saying because no continuous insurance on OLD car.worried now because just started new driving job so cant afford to get any points.have a clean licence.any advice ?

Our Response:
Do you have a receipt from the scrap/dealer? Did you not inform the DVLA? You need to do this. See here for more information
NoPenaltyPoints - 10-Sep-18 @ 12:00 PM
Traded car at dealer under government scrappage scheme left dealer with a new car .. Months later get a sjpn in mail saying because no continuous insurance on OLDcar..worried now because just started new driving job so cant afford to get any points ...have a clean licence ...any advice ?
nosaynt - 3-Sep-18 @ 2:11 PM
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
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