Driving Whilst Using A Mobile
It is a criminal offence to use a mobile phone whilst you are driving a motor vehicle. Many people don’t realise that this applies even when the vehicle isn’t moving; if you use your mobile phone whilst stationary at traffic lights with the handbrake on, you are still committing the offence; but if you were parked at the side of the road at the time, you might have a defence.
Another common myth is that you can only be guilty if you were actually talking on the phone. If you read or send a text message whilst behind the wheel, or listen to a voice message, or use an app, you can still be convicted of the offence. You can even be convicted simply for picking up the mobile in your hand to look at the screen.
Anybody caught using their mobile phone whilst driving is automatically given 3 penalty points. If you are approaching 12 points on your licence, the consequences of this could be disastrous.
If you deny the offence, we can put our trial expertise to use on your behalf, challenging the evidence presented by the police. If you admit using your phone whilst driving, there might be special reasons in your case why the magistrates should not impose the penalty points. If so, we can argue your case before the magistrates so you stand the best chance of avoiding the points.
Failing to stop after an accident or failing to report an accident are offences which can attract a wide range of penalties. The scope of the Court to impose a prison sentence, fine, penalty points and driving ban on those who are guilty is broad because of the varying circumstances surrounding such an offence.
This week has seen two extreme examples of circumstances where this offence applies.
The first is the case of Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls, who is in hot-water for failing to stop after he accidentally crashed into a parked car whilst undertaking a seven-point turn in his Ford Mondeo Estate.
The collision was caught on CCTV and the police traced the vehicle registration back to Mr Balls who said that he, “was aware the two bumpers touched. But had no idea damage had been done.”
In this case, Mr Balls has admitted his mistake, apologised and offered to pay for the cost of repairs to the other vehicle. As yet, it is not clear if the police intend to prosecute him.
However, in the ‘hit and run’ case involving Sheffield teenager, Jasmyn Chan, there is no doubt that a prosecution will take place. Jasmyn was killed after she was knocked down by a car on Normanton Hill in Sheffield on 9th May. The driver failed to stop at the scene of the accident and also faces the charge of causing death by dangerous driving.
The offence of failing to stop after an accident or failing to report an accident can attract the following penalties:
- Imprisonment up to 6 months
- Fine up to £5,000
- Discretionary ban
- 5-10 penalty points
We specialise in advising and representing drivers who have been charged with this offence, so get in touch via the website or free phone number for a free initial consultation.
The Direct Gov website has more detailed information on what the penalties are and when it is considered safe to use your phone.