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Charged with Speeding:  Grace’s story

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Introduction

Grace contacted me concerned that she risked loss of driving licence:  she had been stopped by the police driving at 87mph in a 50mph limit.  She had completed the Single Justice Procedure Notice herself, set out her ‘Guilty’ plea and written mitigation and had hoped to be sentenced to points and a fine without having to attend court.  Unfortunately, the court wished to consider an immediate ban and so she was required to attend.  The court is guided by sentencing guidelines which state that at 66mph, or more, (in a 50mph limit) they should consider a disqualification of up to 28 days.  At 76mph, or more, they should consider a ban of up to 56 days.  As she was doing 87mph and the court had required her to attend for sentence it was clear she faced the real risk of an immediate disqualification.

The Consultation

We arranged to meet in person, as I do with nearly all of my clients, on an agreed time and date. I took instructions on all relevant matters which included why Grace had been speeding, her driving record, and as to her work and family background.  Motorists always have a reason for speeding even if it is only that they were in a hurry!  However, often there is more to it than that as becomes apparent during face-to-face consultations.  It is important in court to be careful not to aggravate the client’s position by putting forward something which the client regards as mitigation but the court regards as aggravation. Once I had taken full instructions I was then in a position to advise Grace on steps she could take in advance of the hearing in order to improve her prospects of avoiding a ban (or, at least, of receiving a shorter ban than would have otherwise been considered).

The Hearing

On the day in question we met at court before the case was listed to ensure that we could discuss any developments since we had met and to answer any last minute questions that Grace might have. She had taken a short driving course as advised when we met and had the written report to prove it.  As we had met and signed in early we were called on first in the list.  I conveyed Grace’s mitigation, which involved selecting certain parts of what she had told me when we had first met and conveying this as persuasively as possible, to the court.  The Magistrates retired to consider the sentence and, upon their return, indicated that they would do no more than fine Grace and require her licence to be endorsed with 6 penalty points. (Of course, had Grace been a New Driver, ie if she had committed this offence within 2 years of passing her test, we would have sought a different sentence as the endorsement of 6 penalty points would then have led to indefinite revocation of licence.)

Conclusion

This was a huge relief to Grace as the aim of obtaining representation was, above all, to try to avoid an immediate disqualification.  Apart from the loss of licence the risk of a huge increase in insurance premiums (for a woman in her mid 20s) for the next few years had also been averted.  She was very pleased with the outcome and stated,

‘It is only by going through the whole process from start to finish that one can fully appreciate the detail and care that goes into a successful plea in mitigation.  I am very pleased and grateful for the effort and care employed to avoid a ban in my case.  Thank you.’

If you face a potential ban for speeding and would like to know how to maximise your chance of avoiding disqualification please don’t hesitate to call.

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