HomeMotoring Law

Motoring Law

Specialist Road Traffic Law Solicitors – Manchester & London

Motor Law is an extremely niche and specialised area and it is essential that you receive accurate advice before making any decisions as this could make a real difference to you and the end result.

If you are being investigated for or have been charged with drink driving, dangerous driving, speeding, careless driving or any other allegation be sure to contact us straight away. This allows us to quickly and thoroughly assess the options that are available for your defence.

Advice & Guidance Motoring Law

At Olliers, we appreciate that the prospect of a motoring prosecution can be an extremely stressful situation, particularly if you are dependent upon your driving licence. Our lawyers will not bombard you with legal jargon but explain your situation to you as frankly as possible.

We are able to provide comprehensive advice and/or representation for any motoring allegation in England and Wales and are happy to offer you free advice to discuss your options with you.

Please call us on 020 3883 6790 (London) or 0161 8341515 (Manchester) and one of our lawyers will be able to help you.

The Motor Law Department represent clients on a privately paid basis in both the Magistrates’ and Crown Courts throughout England and Wales and we have substantial experience in relation to all aspects of motoring law with our specialist team dealing with motoring prosecutions, including (but not limited to):

  • Drink driving
  • Drug driving
  • Dangerous driving
  • Death by dangerous driving
  • Careless driving
  • Death by careless driving
  • Causing serious injury whilst driving
  • Failing to provide a specimen
  • Failing to stop
  • Speeding
  • No insurance
  • Exceptional hardship arguments
  • Special Reasons hearings

Driving with excess alcohol

Our specialist lawyers at Olliers have an exemplary record of defending allegations of drink driving. If we advise you to defend your case, then it is because we genuinely feel that we can win.

In the UK, drink driving is defined as an offence in section 5(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988:

“Driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place after consuming so much alcohol that the proportion of it in a person’s breath exceeds the prescribed limit “.

The minimum penalty for drink driving is a 12-month disqualification and an unlimited fine.

In order for you to be convicted of drink driving, it must be proven that the proportion of alcohol in your body exceeded the following limits:

  • 35 microgrammes of alcohol in 100ml of breath
  • 80 mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood
  • 107 mg of alcohol in 100ml of urine

The type of sample you have provided will differ depending on the circumstances of your individual case. Regardless of which sample has been obtained, the police must follow rigid procedures in order to obtain this evidence and this is where our genuine expertise could make a difference and save your licence.

What should I do if I have been charged with drink driving?

If you are unsure of the best way to proceed then please contact one of our team to discuss your options. The vast majority of people who contact us are unaware (and initially sceptical) of any potential defence that may be available to them until they have sought our expert advice.

It is often difficult to confirm at the outset whether or not you can defend your case until we have had opportunity to review the evidence against you. It is with this in mind that we can offer you an investigation into the charges against you for a fixed fee.

We can review the evidence that the CPS has against you and provide you with our full advice on the prospects of success in your individual case. No two cases of drink driving are ever exactly the same and it is important that we consider the specifics of your case before advising you of the chances of success.

Once you have received our advice, you can make an informed decision on whether or not to defend the allegation or accept the penalty, and one of our team will be on hand to discuss any concerns you may have about your case. An initial investigation is what has led to the majority of our clients successfully defending their case.

Defending Drink Driving

If you know that you wish to defend the charges against you then please contact us as soon as possible (even if you have not been formally charged). The team at Olliers adopt a “no stone unturned” approach to defending cases and we will want to get started as soon as possible. A pre-emptive approach can often help secure key evidence, e.g. CCTV evidence, that may be otherwise destroyed if there is a delay between being charged and actually appearing in court.

We have found that most of our clients are happy to know that, if they choose to defend the charges, they can continue driving for as long as proceedings are ongoing.

Blood or Urine Samples

There are various circumstances when the police can take a blood or urine sample as opposed to breath and you may have been bailed to return to the police station. The legislation governing the taking of such samples are extremely strict and it is not uncommon for mistakes to be made. We have an extremely high success rate of successfully defending cases where a blood or urine sample has been taken.

You should have been given your own sample to have independently analysed and we urge you to do this immediately. The booklet of approved laboratories can be found on the Royal Society of Chemistry website. If you are unsure where to send your sample, then please contact us and one of our lawyers will be happy to recommend a laboratory.

I have not been charged yet, do I need to instruct you now?

The key to our success is preparation and you give yourself a much higher chance of success if you obtain representation (or at the very least seek our advice) as early as possible. One of the first steps we take at Olliers Motor Law is to take a full and extremely detailed statement from you. If you wait until you are formally charged, you may find that you have forgotten some of the more important details that may have proven to be beneficial to your case.

Pleading Guilty

It is important to be aware of the penalties for drink driving before deciding to plead guilty. The penalty is largely dependent upon how high your alcohol reading was but other circumstances will also be taken into account such as:

  • The minimum penalty for a first offender is 12 months’ disqualification from driving and an unlimited fine.
  • The minimum penalty instantly increases to a three year disqualification solely on the basis that it is a second offence within ten years.
  • Second Offence within a three year Period and/or an Extremely High Alcohol Level: The court will consider imposing a prison sentence of up to six months, in addition to a disqualification and fine.

Impact of a Drink Driving Conviction

Most people already know about the mandatory disqualification from driving, but there are some long term consequences that many people do not consider such as:

  • Your ability to work
  • A significant increase of your insurance premiums (often by thousands!)
  • Restrictions on travel
  • Social stigma
  • A criminal conviction which will remain on your record indefinitely and on your licence for 11 years.

We understand that almost everybody will want to secure the minimum penalty in light of the above and offer a fixed fee service to help you achieve this.

Exceptional hardship (totting up ban)

Under section 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act (RTOA) 1988 incurring 12 or more penalty points within a three-year period means a minimum period of disqualification must be imposed.

The minimum period is:

  • six months if no previous disqualification is to be taken into account
  • one year if one previous disqualification is to be taken into account
  • two years if more than one previous disqualification is to be taken into account.

A previous disqualification is to be taken into account if it is:

  • not less than 56 days; and
  • imposed within the three years immediately preceding the date on which the current offence (or most recent of the current offences) was committed.

Totting up disqualifications, unlike other disqualifications, erase all penalty points

Can I avoid a totting up disqualification?

In some circumstances you can avoid a totting up disqualification – if you can demonstrate you would suffer ‘exceptional hardship’ should you be disqualified from driving.

The court should first consider the circumstances of the offence, and determine whether the offence should attract a discretionary period of disqualification. But the court must note the statutory obligation to disqualify those repeat offenders who would, were penalty points imposed, be liable to the mandatory “totting” disqualification, and should ordinarily prioritise the “totting” disqualification ahead of a discretionary disqualification.

If the offender has 12 or more penalty points the court must order the offender to be disqualified for not less than the minimum period unless the court is satisfied, having regard to all the circumstances, that there are grounds for mitigating the normal consequences of the conviction and thinks fit to order him to be disqualified for a shorter period or not to order him to be disqualified.

What will the court consider in deciding whether to give me a ‘totting up’ ban?

When considering whether there are grounds to reduce or avoid a totting up disqualification the court should have regard to the following:

  • Where it is asserted that hardship would be caused, the court must be satisfied that it is not merely inconvenience, or hardship, but exceptional hardship for which the court must have evidence;
  • Almost every disqualification entails hardship for the person disqualified and their immediate family. This is part of the deterrent objective of the provisions combined with the preventative effect of the order not to drive.
  • If a motorist continues to offend after becoming aware of the risk to their licence of further penalty points, the court can take this circumstance into account.
  • Courts should be cautious before accepting assertions of exceptional hardship without evidence that alternatives (including alternative means of transport) for avoiding exceptional hardship are not viable;
  • Loss of employment will be an inevitable consequence of a driving ban for many people. Evidence that loss of employment would follow from disqualification is not in itself sufficient to demonstrate exceptional hardship; whether or not it does will depend on the circumstances of the offender and the consequences of that loss of employment on the offender and/or others.
  • Where it finds that there are grounds for mitigating the ‘normal consequences of the conviction’, the court may consider whether this can be achieved by ordering a period of disqualification which is shorter than the statutory minimum or by ordering that the offender should not be disqualified at all.

Where the court does not find grounds for mitigating the normal consequences of the conviction then a period of disqualification of at least the statutory minimum must be imposed.

How can Olliers help?

Olliers has successfully avoided a totting up ban for many of our clients by demonstrating they would suffer exceptional hardship should they be disqualified from driving.

We need to evidence this as much as possible by way of supporting character references, supporting information, detailing the impact on other third parties etc.

Need a Specialist Motoring Lawyer?

Contact our specialist motoring team by completing the form below, emailing info@olliers.com or telephoning 0161 8341515 (Manchester) or 0202 38836790 (London).

(Price Information to comply with Rule 1 of the SRA Transparency Rules)

In any case where a defendant enters a guilty plea, the amount of work is significantly reduced. We therefore charge a fixed fee of £1500 – £2500 +VAT to deal with the entire case through to conclusion***

Services included with this option include:

  • 2 hours attendance/preparation:
    • considering evidence
    • taking your instructions
    • providing advice on likely sentence
  • Attendance and representation at a single hearing at the Magistrates Court

The fee does not include:

  • instruction of any expert witnesses
  • taking statements from any witnesses
  • advice and assistance in relation to a special reasons hearing
  • advice or assistance in relation to any appeal

The key stages of your matter are based on the presumption that you have entered a guilty plea and have a date for your hearing.

We will:

  • Meet with your solicitor to provide instructions on what happened.
  • We will consider initial disclosure, and any other evidence and provide advice.
  • Arranging to take any witness statements if necessary (this will have an additional cost).
  • We will explain the court procedure to you so you know what to expect on the day of your hearing, and the sentencing options available to the court.
  • We will conduct any further preparatory work, obtain further instructions from you if necessary and answer any follow up queries you have.
  • We cannot provide a timescale of when your hearing will take place, as this depends on the court listing for that day.
  • We will attend court on the day and meet with you before going before the court. We anticipate being at court for half a day.
  • We will discuss the outcome with you. If advice is required on appeal, this will carry an additional cost.

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