Have you been accused of using your mobile phone whilst driving?
How is this offence committed?
When is the offence NOT committed?
There is a grey area of activity where the court said that there may be an arguable case that the offence has been committed such as when a motorist does use a phone whilst driving but to draft a text message in preparation for sending it or such as looking at messages which had been downloaded previously. Be warned, however, that the court emphasised that handling a phone for any purpose at all whilst driving could involve the commission of other offences such as careless or even dangerous driving!
This offence is dealt with by way of the endorsement of 6 penalty points (or a disqualification) plus a fine. If a fixed penalty is accepted then it is dealt with by way of endorsement with 6 points and a £200 fine. If the endorsement of penalty points means that you will have a total of 12 or more relevant points on your Driving Licence this means that you can expect to be disqualified for at least 6 months (unless you can establish that you would suffer from ‘exceptional hardship’ – see penalty points disqualifications for more information on this). If you are a ‘New Driver’, of course, the endorsement of only 6 penalty points on your licence would result in its automatic revocation.
As well as the defence mentioned above, for example if the motorist uses the phone whilst driving to take pictures or for some other non-interactive function, there are also cases in which the police have mistaken the identity of the user of the phone such as when a passenger not the driver was using a phone (see a case study of one such case here). We have also successfully defended motorists when holding a speaker or other object to the ear which the police thought was a phone. We successfully defended one motorist in which he was smoking a pipe (although the officer thought he was holding a phone to his ear!)
If you would like help to prepare and present your case or if you are unsure whether or not you have a defence then do not hesitate to get in touch.