HomeBlue Badge Offences

Blue Badge Offences

Specialist lawyers defending allegations of misuse of a blue badge and fraudulent use of a blue badge

What sets Olliers apart from other law firms is the proactive approach we adopt. This approach is absolutely crucial when a client faces offences involving misuse of blue badges.

During the investigation stage, we will always look at early pre-charge engagement. From the outset, we will focus on the need for a prosecution to be ‘in the public interest’ in order that a prosecution can commence. Our objective will always be to make effective representations against charge. If we are instructed post-charge the same methodical ‘no stone unturned’ approach applies.

Criteria to use a blue badge

Disabled parking badges, often referred to as ‘blue badges’ are provided to help people with disabilities or health conditions park closer to their destination. Badges are administered under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.

Blue badges are most commonly provided to people in receipt of certain state benefits or where evidence is provided to the local authority that demonstrates that a person has mobility issues.

The badge is for the holder’s use and benefit only. It must only be displayed if they are travelling in the vehicle as a driver or passenger, or if someone is collecting or dropping them off and needs to park at the place where they are being collected or dropped.

It is a criminal offence to misuse a badge. This includes people other than the badge holder taking advantage of the parking concessions provided under the scheme.

Offences relating to blue badges

Failing to display a blue badge in a parking spot is a civil matter for which the registered keeper will be issued a fine.

However, there are several criminal offences that could be committed in relation to misuse or fraudulent use of a blue badge.

Wrongful use or Misuse of a disabled person’s badge – Section 117 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984

Should a person wrongfully:

  • Display a badge purporting to be a valid blue badge; or
  • Use a vehicle in circumstances where a disabled person’s concession would be available to a disabled person’s vehicle;

They are guilty of an offence.

This may occur if the blue badge is not being used by the blue badge holder, or the vehicle is not being used to carry the blue badge holder.

Penalty

Misuse of a blue badge offence is a summary only offence, this means that can only be tried in the Magistrates’ Court.

The offence is punishable by way of a fine and the badge will likely be confiscated.

Defence

If the blue badge is being used and displayed correctly in the circumstances it is a defence.

Mishandling of parking documents and related offences – Section 115 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984

Section 115, covers a number of offences relating to the misuse of parking documents such as (not limited to) lending a ticket issued by a parking meter to another person, or allowing a blue badge to be used with an intention of deception.

This offence is more serious than an offence committed under section 117 as there would likely be evidence of a deliberate attempt to deceive, for example, impersonating the badge holder.

Penalty

This is an “either way” offence, meaning it can be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court and can carry a custodial sentence in the most serious cases.

Fraud – section 2(1) Fraud Act 2006

In the most serious of cases, an offence of Fraud may be considered under the Fraud Act 2006. This would usually follow in circumstances where:

  • A fake blue badge is used;
  • A stolen blue badge is used; or
  • The blue badge belonging to a deceased person is used.

Penalty

This is an either way offence and may be tried in the Magistrates’ or Crown Court. The maximum penalty is a custodial sentence.

Is it possible to avoid prosecution for blue badge offences?

For an individual to be prosecuted the prosecution needs to be satisfied that firstly there is a realistic prospect of a conviction based on the evidence. Secondly, a prosecution has to be in the public interest.

Detailed and sympathetic representations should be considered by the prosecution in all situations where the defence make such representations. They can make the difference between a conviction, perhaps for a relatively minor offence, but with unintended yet life altering consequences and no conviction at all.

Public interest

We are often above to submit representations on the basis it is not in the public interest to prosecute having regard to the following factors:

  • The circumstances surrounding the allegation;
  • Age and maturity;
  • Medical and mental health issues;
  • Career prospects and potential impact upon the same; and
  • Hitherto good character.

Lawyers representing professionals in relation to criminal allegations

At Olliers Solicitors we have a number of lawyers who specialise in defending professionals under investigation in relation to criminal allegations. We have many years experience of representing doctors, medical professionals, other lawyers, teachers, FCA-regulated professionals, and high-net-worth individuals.

What sets Olliers apart from many criminal defence firms is the proactive approach we adopt. We understand the stress and anxiety a criminal investigation can cause. Our team will do everything it can to keep to a minimum the likelihood of a client under investigation being charged with a criminal offence.

We frequently represent those facing blue badge offences. For many of our clients, they have no prior involvement with the criminal justice system.

Professional discipline expertise

As well as our specialist blue badge lawyers we also have significant experience and expertise dealing with professional regulators and early engagement allows us to take a holistic approach.

For many individuals prosecuted the potential impact on their careers cannot be overestimated. As an example, solicitors have been struck off for misuse of a blue badge due to the dishonest nature of the offence.

The SDT’s guidance note on sanctions (10th edition), states:

“Some of the most serious misconduct involves dishonesty, whether or not leading to criminal proceedings and criminal penalties. A finding that an allegation of dishonesty has been proved will almost invariably lead to striking off, save in exceptional circumstances (see Solicitors Regulation Authority v Sharma [2010] EWHC 2022 (Admin)).”

At Olliers the close working relationship between our criminal and professional discipline lawyers is key.

Fees

We do not deal with blue badge matters on a legally aided basis. Please contact our team and we can provide you with a quotation in order to represent you in relation to your blue badge case.

Need a solicitor for a blue badge offence?

Contact Olliers to arrange advice and representation in relation to a blue badge offence by completing the form below, telephoning 0161 8341515 or by emailing info@olliers.com.

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