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FAQs

I’ve received a notice of intended prosecution through the post, what should I do?
Don’t do nothing! Notices of intended prosecution are often accompanied by a s.172 notice, which requires you to give information relating to the identity of the driver of your car at a particular time. Failure to respond to that notice means you have committed a further offence for which your licence can be endorsed with 6 penalty points and a fine imposed. As soon as you receive the notice, contact us to get advice from a Road Law Barrister about your options.


How much is this going to cost me?
Our fees are fixed; you are not charged extra for the time spent by your barrister preparing your case. The total cost will depend on the number of court appearances and whether your case is to be heard in the Magistrates’ or Crown Court. We are totally open about our fees, so there are no nasty surprises for you. Click here to see our fee structure.


Why use a direct access barrister?
In the past anyone that had been accused of a motoring offence that was seeking legal advice or representation first needed to use the services of a motoring solicitor who would then engage the specialist services of a barrister. Since 2004 members of the public have been able to use direct access barrister you will be hiring a legal specialist with experience and an expert knowledge of road traffic law.



Why go to a barrister rather than a solicitor?
Coming straight to a barrister means you are only paying for one lawyer. You will have direct access to a barrister who will look after your case from beginning to end. Barristers are specialist court advocates but are also trained and experienced in the preparation of cases, meaning you are getting the best of both worlds.


How long is the initial free consultation?
The initial consultation is for the barrister to obtain enough information from you to give you advice about your situation. This usually takes no longer than 30 minutes.


I have been summonsed to court for a road traffic offence but I can’t afford to get any more points on my licence. Can I avoid having points imposed?
There are a number of potential ways of avoiding the imposition of penalty points on your licence. For example, if you plead not guilty and are acquitted of the allegation, there will be no penalty. Also, we frequently argue on behalf of our clients that there is a “special reason” relating to the offence that prevents the imposition of penalty points. To discuss how this could relate to your case, get in touch with one of our Road Law Barristers.


I was convicted in the Magistrates’ Court. How do I appeal that decision?
Appeals from the Magistrates’ Court are heard in the Crown Court. There is also a way of appealing to the High Court if the Magistrates have made a legal or procedural error. There are strict time limits on when an appeal from the Magistrates’ Court can be lodged, so you need to contact us sooner rather than later. Click here for more on how we can help with your appeal.


I want to represent myself in Court but I need some advice first. Can you help me?
A Road Law Barrister would be happy to analyse your case papers and provide detailed advice, either during a face-to-face conference at our premises or over the telephone, for a one-off fee of £175 + VAT. If you later decide to instruct your barrister, this fee will be deducted from your eventual bill.


Do you provide your legal services throughout Yorkshire and the North East?
Yes, our road law are available to represent clients with cases in Leeds, York, Bradford, Northallerton as well as throughout Yorkshire and the North East.


What types of driving offences can you help with?
Whether you’ve been stopped by the police, received a court summons or been charged with an offence, get in touch with us to see what your options are.  Will be able to analyse your case and present your defence in a persuasive manner to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Whether you have been caught speeding, arrested on suspicion of drink driving, accused of dangerous driving or been accused of any other motoring offence, we have the expertise to help you keep your licence.

So if you are looking for a motoring lawyer, road law lawyer or considering using the services of a drink driving solicitor our Road Law Barristers will provide expert representation at courts across Yorkshire and the North East of England

News

Drug Driving Law: Catching the Right Targets?

With the first arrests under the new law having already been made, the Road Law Barristers team considers the effects of the new law on “drug driving” and whether drivers using legitimate prescription drugs might be vulnerable to the same criminal convictions as those taking illicit drugs such a heroin.

It has been illegal for some time to drive whilst unfit to do so due to the ingestion of drugs.  The impact of the new law, however, is to empower the police to arrest and charge a driver who has present in his system an amount of drugs over the legally prescribed limit, even if his or her driving is unaffected.

The real difference is that in addition to a field impairment test, which was very rarely deployed by police in practice, an officer can now screen for the presence of drugs through the use of a roadside drug kit.  A conviction for drug driving would lead to a minimum one-year driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000 and, potentially, a prison sentence.  There will be no legal distinction between a driver convicted having used prescription or illegal drugs.

In addition to a number of illegal drugs, police now have the capacity to check for the presence of the following prescription drugs:

  • Clonazepam – prescribed to treat seizures or panic disorders
  • Diazepam – used for anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms or muscle spasms
  • Flunitrazepam (also known as Rohypnol) – a sedative used for deep sedation
  • Lorazepam – used to treat convulsions or seizures caused by epilepsy
  • Oxazepam – used to relieve anxiety, including that caused by alcohol withdrawal
  • Temazepam – affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause insomnia problems
  • Methadone – used in the treatment of heroin addiction and for pain relief
  • Morphine or opiates – treat moderate to severe pain

The prescribed levels permitted for each drug came into force on 2nd March 2015 and range from 500 grams of methadone in 1 litre of blood to 1 gram of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in 1 litre of blood.[1]  The theory is that the levels mirror that normally prescribed legitimately – but can this truly factor in the wide spectrum of variables, e.g. human size, pain management levels and effectiveness of drug digestion?

Simply proving that you have taken the drugs pursuant to a prescription is not enough.  Once the police have proven you have exceeded the limits, the law places a burden on you to provide evidence to show that the drug had been prescribed to you, had been used in accordance with both the prescription and the manufacturer’s instructions and that your drug use was not unlawful in another way.[2]

What about the man (Mr. A) prescribed opiate pain management medication for a severe and chronic back condition?  Mr A is stopped by police and found to have a level in his system which exceeds the prescribed level of his particular prescription drug.  Whether or not his ability to drive was, in fact, impaired is irrelevant.  It will be for Mr A to provide evidence that his drugs were prescribed and, crucially, that he was taking them in accordance with medical and manufacturer instructions.  This may require expert evidence.

The salvation for Mr A might be found in another sub-section of the revised law.  Once he has provided enough evidence to “raise an issue with respect to the defence,” it is for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Mr A does not have the defence available to him.[3]

Cases on this topic will be hard fought.  If you find yourself accused of the newly-defined crime of drug driving, seek expert help from a Road Law Barrister from an early stage.  As a starting point for drivers made vulnerable by the new law, we advise you do the following:

i.            Keep a copy of your prescription with you in the car whilst driving;

ii.            Ensure your medical practitioner has been clear with you about the dosage of drugs you are being advised to take.  If the oral advice contradicts the wording of the written prescription, ask for the prescription to be amended;

iii.            Be familiar with manufacturer’s instructions; ignorance of their contents will not provide a defence;

iv.            Call us for advice at the earliest opportunity.  Whilst a road law expert can help you at any stage of proceedings, the earlier they are involved the better the chance of obtaining important evidence from the police.

 


[1] Section 2 of the Drug Driving (Specified Limits) (England and Wales) Regulations 2014

[2] Section 5A(3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

[3] Section 5A (5) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.