Traffic Lawyers successfully persuade the Court to not impose any period of a driving disqualifcation upon a motorist convicted of three offences following his involvement in a road traffic collision
Mr Tej Thakkar, Solicitor in our Traffic Lawyers Team, was recently instructed by a motorist charged with three allegations in connection with a road traffic accident.
On the date of the accident, the motorist was driving his father’s van because his car was at the garage undergoing repairs. The motorist was relying upon his motor insurance policy which he honestly and genuinely believed permitted him to drive other vehicles owned by another.
The motorist made a call a short time before driving and therefore his mobile phone was still being held in his hand at the relevant time of the accident. The motorist paused for a significant period of time at the junction awaiting a clear and safe opportunity to advance and, upon looking and properly signalling, embarked onto the road where the bus collided with the side of his vehicle. The motorist, along with other independent witnesses present at the time of accident, did not see the bus approaching until it was too late to prevent a collision resulting. Thankfully, no passengers were on board the bus and no significant injuries of the parties involved resulted.
Following the collision the motorist was charged with three offences namely:
- Driving with no insurance contrary to s 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988;
- Using hand-held mobile phone while driving contrary to s 41D of the Road Traffic Act 1988; and
- Driving without due care and attention contrary to s 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
He pleaded ‘guilty’ to each of the allegations as specified at the first reasonable opportunity. As a result, the motorist found himself in a position where, upon conviction, he was liable to either:
- a discretionary driving disqualification in accordance with the sentencing guidelines; or
- in the event the Court imposed penalty points for the offences concerned, a driving disqualification for a minimum period of six months under the ‘totting-up’ provisions having accumulated 12 or more penalty points on his driving licence in a 3 year period.
The motorist concerned sought legal advice from the Traffic Lawyers Team in respect of the three alleged offences, together with the resulting consequences. Mr Thakkar advised that the Court was likely to impose a discretionary driving disqualification for these offences given the circumstances. However, Mr Thakkar explained that in the event the Court could be persuaded to alternatively impose penalty points then the individual would fall within the ‘totting up’ provisions, upon which submissions can be advanced to mitigate the normal consequences. If such submissions were accepted then the Court could exercise its discretion to either reduce the minimum term of a disqualification (6 months) or not impose any period of a disqualification whatsoever.
Mr Thakkar meticulously prepared the case and represented the motorist at his recent hearing before Norwich Magistrates Court. At that time he successfully managed to persuade the Court to exercise their discretion to impose 9 penalty points for the three offences, rather than a discretionary driving disqualification which would have precluded Mr Thakkar from being able to advance ‘exceptional hardship’ arguments on behalf of the motorist.
The imposition of 9 penalty points brought the motorist under the ‘totting up’ provisions having then accumulated 15 penalty points, which entitled Mr Thakkar to advance submissions of ‘exceptional hardship’ on the following grounds:
- Family; and
- Care for his partner’s grandma.
The Magistrates accepted the submissions advanced, ruling the grounds collectively satisfied the threshold for ‘exceptional hardship’. As a result the Court did not impose any period of a driving disqualification. In addition, Mr Thakkar successfully persuaded the Court that the offence of ‘no insurance’ was as a result of a genuine and honest mistake, thus the Court did not impose a separate financial penalty in respect of that matter.