Everyone has the right to appeal against the court’s decision; if you’re unhappy with the outcome of your case, appeal today.
We often receive enquiries from motorists following a conviction for advice on appeal and we are constantly surprised by how many have been misrepresented from the outset of the proceedings, which has ultimately led to a conviction.
If you have already been convicted and want to consider appealing the decision, please contact us to speak to a member of the team who can provide you with comprehensive advice. Wrongful convictions in the Magistrates’ Court (the main court dealing with motoring offences) do occur but with expert representation, in some cases these decisions can be overturned and convictions quashed.
The Magistrates’ Court
The majority of motoring offences are known as “summary only offences” which mean that they will all be dealt with by the Magistrates’ Courts. Often Magistrates have no formal legal training and therefore rely heavily upon a court “Legal Adviser” for guidance.
As motoring law is such a specialist area, it is not uncommon, even for Legal Advisers, to be unaware of its complexities. It is therefore not surprising that Magistrates are often advised to make the wrong decisions during a motoring case which can lead to an unjust conviction. Our team of specialist lawyers have a proven track record successful appeals against convictions and/or sentences.
There are several different ways to appeal a case depending on the circumstances, but knowing which method has the most chance of success can be a complicated decision with many variables to consider.
Appealing to the Crown Court
The Crown Court in England and Wales deals with more serious offences but can also hear an appeal from the Magistrates’ Court (which is lower in the court hierarchy). If you think your conviction is due to the Magistrates not fully considering the case then this is the best court to appeal to.
The Crown Court would hear the case again from the beginning (effectively a second trial would take place) and a fully qualified Judge will make a decision at the conclusion. The Crown Court apply the law more stringently than the Magistrates’ Court, which often leads to a poor decision being corrected.
The High Court – Judicial Review and Stating a Case
Magistrates often make decisions during a case (whether it be during the preparation stage or at trial) that we strongly disagree with. For example, a court may decide that a certain piece of evidence obtained by the police can be used against you which we disagree with, or they decide to adjourn a trial to give the Crown Prosecution Service more time to prepare.
If your conviction was as a result of such a decision, then we can ask the High Court to “Judicially Review” that decision and make a ruling on whether or not the Magistrates’ Court was right to act in the way it did under the circumstances.
If the Magistrates misunderstood a particular legal point which led to an erroneous decision and ultimate conviction, then we would “state a case” to the High Court. In essence, we outline what we think the Magistrates’ Court did wrong and ask them to consider our argument and make a ruling. If either of the above are successful, then convictions can be overturned completely.
Conviction? What Conviction?!
There are times when a motorist will have no idea about on-going legal proceedings and will only be aware of a conviction when they receive a letter confirming the penalty. There are various methods we can use that essentially set the conviction to one side and start proceedings over, giving you the opportunity to defend it (or at least minimise the penalty).
I Want to Appeal! Now What?
An appeal must be lodged within 21 days from sentencing and it is important that you contact us as early as possible to ensure this deadline is met.
If you want to appeal against a conviction, contact us on 0808 168 0017.