There are large number of motoring offences which together span a range of seriousness from road traffic accidents involving deaths to administrative matters.
While some offences can be dealt with relatively simply by the individuals involved, even relatively minor cases can, depending on their circumstances, have far reaching consequences.
Being involved in a road traffic accident – or being the subject of a criminal prosecution in relation to one – can, for example, be a traumatising and stressful experience. Being subject to a police investigation can have a significant negative impact far beyond any legal sanction imposed.
Motoring offences include:
The team at Hickman & Rose have long experience representing drivers charged with a broad spectrum of motoring offences and have achieved significant success persuading investigators and prosecutors to either not bring criminal charges or end proceedings.
Road traffic law can be complicated. Often, the first a driver will know about a potential problem is receiving a letter from the police either requesting the identity of the driver of a vehicle on a specific date (a section 172 Notice) or notifying the driver of an intention to prosecute (a Notice of Intended Prosecution).
Depending on the circumstances, care should be taken with any response provided as any information given in response may come to be disputed later.
Most minor road traffic prosecutions are dealt with by a single magistrate under a system called the Single Justice Procedure. The magistrate determines the matters on the papers alone and without the need for a driver to attend court.
The prosecution starts with the issue of a Single Justice Procedure Notice (SJPN). This requires a response, including an indication of whether the suspect intends to plead guilty or not, within 21 days.
For some people, the Single Justice Procedure offers a convenient and swift resolution of a minor offence. However, there can be problems.
The system’s apparent simplicity can tempt drivers to accept criminal responsibility without understanding the full implications of their actions, which can included being convicted, sentenced and disqualified from driving. Similarly, under the system a driver may be convicted of a flawed criminal charge which, if raised in court or with the prosecution, would likely lead to the matter being dropped.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, it may be advisable to seek expert legal assistance before responding to an SJPN.
Many people’s livelihoods rely on being able to drive. For these people, disqualification can be a particularly harsh punishment for motoring offence.
There are some limited circumstances in one can avoid disqualification, particularly in relation to drink driving and so-called ‘totting up’ provisions. Depending on the nature of the matter, it can be significantly advantageous to seek expert legal opinion on such applications.
Hickman & Rose’s expert lawyers are able to assist at every stage of a motoring offence, from the outset of an investigation to police interview and advocacy in court, if necessary. The firm prides itself on its strategic approach to these cases. Our lawyers work closely with the client and other experts to achieve the best possible outcome.
Hickman & Rose is often engaged to achieve the goal of seeing an unmerited investigation end without charge – something our expert lawyers have achieved on numerous occasions. [Link to ending prosecutions page. Recent notable work in this area includes:
Unlike some other firms operating in this area, Hickman & Rose does not offer a fixed fee system. Our lawyers pride themselves on providing a tailor made, bespoke legal service, which while it may initially appear more costly, is often much more cost effective for the client.
While we cannot set out in advance exactly how much representation will cost, it is sometimes possible to provide a rough estimate. For example, a case that is concluded in one Magistrates’ Court hearing will likely involve six to eight hours’ work, excluding travel time. This will include:
An associate lawyer can undertake this work at an hourly rate of £250 + VAT. Partners’ rates range from £300 to £500 + VAT. Travel time is half the hourly rate and depends on the court’s location. Travel expenses are additional costs to the client.
There may be circumstances in which it is more cost effective to instruct a barrister for the court hearing. Barrister costs vary according to experience and expertise, but are typically between £500 and £2,000 + VAT if applicable. Queen’s Counsel, the most senior type of barrister, cost more.
If it is necessary to instruct an expert, such as a doctor or scientist, these individuals’ fees will vary depending on their work and expertise. It is hard to estimate what their fees might be but the range could be from £100 to £3,000 + VAT if applicable. In exceptional circumstances, these fees may exceed these figures. We will agree their fees with you before they are engaged.
Many cases do not conclude in one hearing. Please contact a member of our serious & general crime team to discuss how we can assist and what the likely costs in your case will be. For further information about the members of our team who can help, please refer to the lawyers page.
21 Jul 2021
Aileen Colhoun, a partner in Hickman & Rose’s Serious and General Crime team, has written a blog explaining why, for some of the most serious road traffic offences, defining what an ‘accident’ is…