Plans under the new sentencing guidelines published this week suggest that drivers who commit the more serious speeding offences face harsher penalties. In particular, tougher fines will be given to those who exceed the speed limit by over 30 mph. For example, someone driving in excess of 100 mph on a 70 mph road will be fined a third more.
In addition, statistics show that more drivers are being caught for driving whilst on a mobile phone. At present, if a person commits this offence he/she could receive three penalty points on their licence to being disqualified from driving and a maximum of £1,000 fine. The government has taken a stronger stance after several high-profile deaths caused by drivers using their mobile phones. In September 2016, Danny Warby received six years in prison after his lorry hit the back of Detective Constable Sharon Garett car in Cambridgeshire after he opened a text message whilst driving.
Driving offences are heard in the magistrates court and defendants are not usually eligible for Legal Aid unless they pass the custody threshold however it is very rarely awarded. The case is brought before the court usually by the Crown Prosecution Service. The charge is then read to the defendant and he/she has an opportunity to plead guilty or not guilty to the charge. If the client pleads not guilty, the case will be adjourned by the court so that a trial can be fixed and witnesses including the defendant will be given the chance to give evidence.
If, on the other hand, the defendant wishes to plead guilty, the court will consider his/her credit for an early guilty plea and mitigating circumstances. The court will look at several mitigating circumstances including the defendant’s previous driving convictions, personal circumstances, distance travelled, and visibility. The range of penalties for speeding that can be ordered by the Magistrates at present varies from a minimum of £100 fine and three penalty points to the higher end being a fine of up to £2,500 with costs.
The Magistrates look at each case on its individual facts and merits, and therefore it is important to have lawyers that can put your case across as effective as possible whether you plead guilty or not. Should you be faced with any driving offence, then please get in contact with Rosewood Solicitors. We will invite you to have a meeting with us, provide you with a case strategy, advise you accordingly and represent you at court for a fixed fee.