Driving Offences During Emergency Situations
Drivers who have committed a motoring offence can often avoid punishments and fines under certain circumstances. Emergency situations may be viewed by the courts as a ‘special reason’ and can help to avoid penalty points or a disqualification.
What are Special Reasons for Driving Offences?A special reason is a legal procedure whereby a driver can set out reasons why a motoring offence occurred. These special reasons are usually an unavoidable set of circumstances that led the driver to commit the driving offence. Special reasons can be used to decrease the amount of penalty points applied to a licence or to shorten or avoid completely a driving disqualification. Special reasons are not a defence for the offence but the court should take these circumstances into consideration when applying punishment. Special reasons, if applicable, can be used for all motoring offences.
Emergency Situations as a Special ReasonEmergency situations can be used as special reasons if a Motoring Offence occurs. This does not mean that every emergency situation can be cited as a special reason. A solicitor will be able to determine if circumstances concerning the emergency situation will class this as a special reason. In general, if the driver had no alternative but to cause the motoring offence during the emergency situation this could amount to a special reason. A court should take this special reason into account when making a decision over punishment for a driving offence.
The Criteria for Special ReasonsThere is set criteria that will determine if special reasons can be raised. Special reasons stipulations include that they are not used as a defence to the offence and they must be directly connected to why the offence took place. A special reason must also be one that a court can take into consideration when deciding on the punishment that is due to be imposed. Special reasons must be extenuating circumstances surrounding why the offence was actually committed.
What Counts as an Emergency SituationEmergency situations can include a number of different circumstances. For example, a driver who drove above the legal speed limit may have been fleeing from an assailant. Having to drive a seriously injured person to hospital and driving above the speed limit could also be classed as an emergency situation. Having no alternative in these types of crisis situations can be classed as an emergency situation.
Special Reasons and All Motoring OffencesSpecial reasons can be applied to all motoring offences. For instance if a person was caught Driving Without Insurance it may be that they were under the impression that the vehicle was insured. If an insurance agent had led a driver to believe that they were covered to drive a rental vehicle but the insurance did not actually include this cover then this would be a special reason. There would be reasonable grounds that the driver honestly thought he or she had the appropriate insurance. The courts should always take special reasons, if applicable, into account when making their decision over punishment.
How Legal Representation Can Help in Emergency Situation OffencesLegal representation will be able to cover all aspects of a motoring offence. They will also be able to advise if special reasons such as emergency situations can be used. There are different defences that can be used such as mitigating factors and exceptional hardships and solicitors will be able to advise on which is appropriate. The court will have an amount of discretion with certain motoring offences and they will have guidelines depending on the defence used. A solicitor will be able to guide the driver through all steps of the court process.
If a court does accept an emergency situation as a special reason then it can help to reduce or eliminate penalty points or reduce or eliminate a disqualification. Special reasons cases do proceed as normal cases and evidence will be required to support the reasons given. Taking advice and legal representation will be the beneficial during a court hearing for motoring offences.