Drink Driving – Acquitted!

We continue our flawless success of drink driving acquittals with another great result.

One of our recent clients has kindly provided the following client testimonial to let other drivers know about the quality of the service he received.

Client testimonial about a drink driving case which resulted in a finding of not guilty

We often provide free initial advice to drivers accused of committing a drink driving offence. Many drivers mistakenly believe that their case cannot be defended. It is genuinely one of the most rewarding aspects of our job to be able to examine a case, identify defences and build a strong case to take to trial and win.

If you, like many others have been accused of committing a drink driving offence, or any other motoring offence which could cost your licence, please contact our free advice line on 0330 33 22 770 to speak to a specialist driving offence solicitor today. In many cases, we can provide an initial opinion on whether your case could be defended right from the very first phone call.

Lines are open round the clock. We look forward to helping you.

The Cost of a Drink Driving Conviction

If you are convicted of a drink driving offence it could cost you up to £70,000, according to road safety charity IAM Roadsmart.

Following conviction, you could receive a fine, the level of which now has no maximum limit. The charity IAM Roadsmart maintains that you could spend an average of £11,000 on legal fees if convicted after a not guilty plea.

You can expect for your insurance premiums to typically increase by £13,500 over the 5-year period that you are required to tell your insurers of the conviction.

During a ban, you can also expect to rack up £2,000 in taxi or public transportation bills while you are unable to drive. In addition, a loss in earnings of £38,500 over 15 months is possible based on the average UK salary, and unemployment following a conviction.

You should also consider the risk of injury to yourself and others.

The Department of Transport’s statistics for 2018 show that there were 240 fatal drink driving related incidents, with a total number of 8,680 casualties.

roadside breath test

Beware the morning after!

In 2018, almost 39% of roadside breath tests took place the morning after the night the suspect had allegedly been drinking, between the hours of 7am and 1pm.

Roads minister Baroness Vere commented: “Drink driving kills, so during the festive season don’t be tempted to have a drink before getting behind the wheel – it’s irresponsible and incredibly dangerous.”

You should always ensure you are safe to drive before doing so the morning after an evening spent drinking alcohol:

The £70,000 impact of being convicted of drink-driving is very sobering. This should be more than enough – let alone the thought of causing any other suffering for yourself, your family or the other people you put at risk on the road – to stop those drivers who are tempted to have an extra drink and get behind the wheel.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM Roadsmart

How our specialist drink driving solicitors can help you

By calling our free phone number on 0330 33 22 770 we will advise you on the likely penalty which you face, and outline any immediate defences which we are able to identify. We can help to reduce the cost of a drink driving conviction if you intend to plead guilty.

Managing Director and drink driving expert Alison Ashworth, has an outstanding record of success in defending drink driving allegations, and has won every case involving the analysis of blood or urine that she has presented to the Court; meaning that all such clients were found not guilty.

Drug Driving – Acquitted!

This year has marked outstanding success in our defence of all motoring offences, with particular success in defending drug driving offences.

One of our recent clients has kindly provided the following client testimonial to let other drivers know about the quality of the service he received.

Client testimonial about a drug driving case which resulted in a finding of not guilty

When asked what he liked most about our business, he said:

“You were approachable with a very good understanding of the situation whilst being professional and efficient”.

Michael Aspin from Cheshire: Acquitted of Drug Driving

We often provide free initial advice to drivers accused of committing a drug driving offence. Many drivers mistakenly believe that their case cannot be defended. It is genuinely one of the most rewarding aspects of our job to be able to examine a case, identify defences and build a strong case to take to trial and win.

If you, like many others have been accused of committing a drug driving offence, or any other motoring offence which could cost your licence, please contact our free advice line on 0330 33 22 770 to speak to a specialist driving offence solicitor today. In many cases, we can provide an initial opinion on whether your case could be defended right from the very first phone call.

Lines are open round the clock. We look forward to helping you.

Proposed changes to Dangerous Driving Law could Send Offenders to Prison for Life

Dangerous drivers could face harsher sentences as a new bill by former Prime Minister Theresa May makes it way through the Commons. The bill proposes to make changes to dangerous driving laws. The changes will increase courts freedom to issue tougher sentences for those who have committed serious motoring offences.

The updates could see some offenders issued life sentences to stop them walking clear after just years.

Drivers who kill others after speeding, racing, or using a phone, could receive life sentences under new legislation.

Serious dangerous driving accident

Those who cause death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs could also get a life sentence.

It comes after police forces have revealed that 555 drivers were killed or seriously injured in England and Wales through dangerous driving in the year to March.

Changes to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 will be known as “Violet Grace Law” in memory of a four-year-old child who was killed in a shocking dangerous driving incident.

The child was struck by a vehicle driving dangerously at over 80mph in a 30mph speed zone just three years ago.

However, the driver was jailed for just nine years and four months, meaning the offender could be released just next year.

The sentencing reforms will likely be introduced in Parliament early next year.

A new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving is also being proposed.

Currently, without that specific offence, drivers who cause injuries under such circumstances can only be convicted of careless driving – which has the maximum penalty of a fine.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said the proposed changes for tougher sentences would send a “strong message” to offenders.

He said: “While Britain might have some of the safest roads in Europe, it is a horrendous thought that each year more than 500 drivers in England and Wales are convicted of killing others as a result of their decision to drive dangerously”.

Permitting courts to issue much tougher sentences will send a strong message to motorists and will go some way towards reassuring families of victims killed in collisions that the law is on their side.

The new driving proposals were backed by two-thirds of road users in a massive RAC survey.

The poll revealed that a quarter of road users believe maximum sentences should be increased from the current 14 year maximum.

A massive 40 percent revealed that courts should be able to hand out a life sentence if they believe this is appropriate.

The Government pledged in 2017 to change the law to impose tougher penalties on the worst offenders.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said:

“This government has been clear that punishments must fit the crime, but too often families tell us this isn’t the case with killer drivers.

“So, today I am announcing that we will bring forward legislation early next year to introduce life sentences for dangerous drivers who kill on our roads, and ensure they feel the full force of the law.”

Any increase will apply to offences in England, Scotland, and Wales, but not Northern Ireland, which has separate road safety laws.

Call 0330 33 22 770 any time to speak to a specialist motoring law Solicitor if you require advice or assistance with any driving offence.

DVLA extends driving licence renewals

It has long been the case that your full photocard driving licence needs to be renewed every 10 years. However, due to recent uncertainty caused by Covid19, the DVLA has extended driving licence renewals until November 2021. If your photocard driving licence is due to expire before the end of 2020, you will now be granted an 11-month extension.

Covid19 extra lbs

Welcome news if you need a little extra time to lose the additional famous Covid19 lbs generated by the previous lockdown before taking to the photobooths for your next photocard renewal picture!

The extension is automatic, so no application is necessary. However the extension only applies to full licence holders. If you are a provisional licence holder, then unfortunately, the expiry date remains the same.

DVLA: Being able to drive is a “lifeline”

Noting that a seven month extension on photocard renewal had already been made earlier in the year, Julie Lenard, DVLA chief executive said :

“Being able to drive is a lifeline for millions of people and this further extension will ensure that in these continued uncertain times, drivers don’t need to worry about the admin or the associated forms with renewing their licences. “

Julie Lenard, DVLA chief executive

Ordinarily, a failure to renew your driving licence would result in a fine of up to £1000. It could even invalidate your car insurance if you are involved in an accident since you could be deemed to be driving without a valid driving licence. Failure to update the licence for over two years could even result in the need to retake your driving test.

DVLA driving licence

Licence renewals: How to renew your driving licence

You can renew your driving licence at the post office, via the post or online up to 2 months before it expires, and you must always ensure to update your current address; not only on your vehicle registration document (V5C) but also with the DVLA.

Need advice regarding a motoring offence? Call our free advice line on 0330 33 22 770 to speak to a Solicitor who specialises in Motoring Law today. Lines are open round the clock. We look forward to hearing from you.

Covid19 lockdown Update

Covid discount for NHS staff

As another National Covid19 Lockdown looms, no doubt our current and future clients will be concerned about the impact this may have on their case.

Rest assured that our Expert Motoring Law Solicitors, Barristers and Support Staff continue to give their all to deliver you the best results during Local and National Lockdowns.

We are pleased to report that since the beginning of the pandemic, the Criminal Justice System has adapted significantly to accommodate the ‘new normal’ including reducing overall footfall within Court buildings, practicing social distancing and permitting remote hearings by video link where possible.

At Ashworth Motoring Law, we are deeply grateful for, and supportive of the wonderful work of our National Health Service and would like to reiterate this support by offering a 10% discount on all initial fees for new clients who work for the NHS.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our amazing team of Specialist Motoring Lawyers who have proven that a global pandemic is no match for our grit and determination when it comes to delivering outstanding results, even in the midst of a global emergency.

Thank You and Well Done.

Ashworth Motoring Law support our National Health Service

Using a mobile phone whilst driving – proposed changes to the law

Under proposed changes to the law, motorists are to be banned from any use of a mobile phone whilst driving.

It is currently illegal to make calls and send text messages, but a potential loophole still exists for drivers to take photographs, videos, or use music apps while driving.

The current wording of the law bans using a handheld device for “interactive communication” as app-laden phones did not exist in 2003 when the law was originally introduced.

woman holding a mobile phone whilst driving

The Department of Transport is proposing a change to the law which will ban all handheld use of a mobile phone while driving. The law will still allow handsfree use, for example using a mobile phone in a holder as a sat nav. However, drivers who type in destinations while on the move could still be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.

The statistics for using a mobile phone whilst driving

The RAC state that there have been 2263 crashes caused by drivers using a mobile phone between 2013 and 2017. There were 33 fatal crashes in 2017 due to mobile phone use at the wheel. 25% of people admitted to talking on a handheld phone while driving in 2018. 40% said they checked texts or social media when in traffic in 2018.

Last year, crashes where using a mobile phone whilst driving was a contributory factor caused 637 casualties, including 18 deaths and 135 serious injuries.

The proposal is expected to be passed into law early 2021 following a 12-week public consultation which will end in January 2021.

While it will be illegal to pick up your mobile whilst driving, there is likely to be an exemption when using your mobile phone for contactless purchases, for example at drive-throughs, provided the vehicle is stationary.

Minister for Roads, Baroness Vere, said: “Our roads are some of the safest in the world, but we want to make sure they’re safer still by bringing the law into the 21st Century. That’s why we’re looking to strengthen the law to make using a hand-held phone while driving illegal in a wider range of circumstances. It’s distracting and dangerous and far too long risky drivers have been able to escape punishment, but this update will mean those doing the wrong thing will face the full force of the law”

Motoring organisation the AA welcomed the tighter legislation. Jack Cousens, head of roads policy, said: “Drivers should be focused on the road ahead and not the tweet or email that has just pinged to their phone.”

The intended changes will apply through the whole of the UK. Any driver caught using a hand-held device for any purpose will receive the current fixed penalty sentence of a £200 fine and six penalty points. on their driving licence

Be aware that should you reach 12-points on your licence you would be totting up, leading to a 6-month ban. Should you find yourself in this position, please do contact Ashworth Motoring Law on our 24/7 motoring law helpline on 0330 33 22 770 for FREE initial legal advice. We can save your driving licence and keep you on the road.

The New Driver Act and what it means for New Drivers

Amidst the excitement of passing a driving test, it’s crucial that new drivers take the time to familiarise them with a vitally important law which applies specifically to them.

The New Driver Act and who it applies to

The new driver Act applies to ‘new drivers’ who are within the first two years of passing their UK driving test.  This includes foreign licence holders who have taken a UK driving test in order to obtain a full UK licence.

If a new driver accumulates 6 points or more on their driving licence, then their licence is automatically revoked by the DVLA. They would then need to retake both parts of their driving test, resulting in considerable expense, and time spent off the road.

How the 6 point threshold could be reached

Motoring offences carry different amounts of penalty points depending on their severity and nature. Some offences have a range of points that can be imposed so that the Magistrates can vary the punishment according to the severity.

The New Driver Rules do not distinguish whether the points are accrued in one go or are as a result of two minor offences. All that matters is the total number of points on the licence before the two year period is up.

For example, a person who commits two minor speeding offences would face licence revocation, as would someone who commits a single offence of driving without insurance.

Examples of single offences which could result in licence revocation under the new driver rules

  • Using a mobile phone whilst driving (fixed penalty of 6 points)
  • Failure to furnish information (fixed penalty of 6 points)
  • Driving without insurance (6 – 8 penalty points)
  • Permitting someone to use a vehicle without insurance (6 – 8 penalty points)
  • Some cases of careless driving (3 – 9 penalty points)
  • Some cases of failing to stop and report an accident (5 – 10 penalty points)
  • Excessive speeding (4 – 6 penalty points)
  • Being drunk in charge (10 penalty points)

Examples of multiple offences which could result in licence revocation under the new driver rules

  • Failure to stop at a red light (3 penalty points)
  • Low level speeding (3 penalty points)
  • Driving with a defective tyre (3 penalty points per tyre)
  • Driving with defective breaks (3 penalty points)
  • Leaving a vehicle in a dangerous position (3 penalty points)

How to avoid licence revocation by the DVLA

Neither the DVLA nor the police have any discretion over the revocation of a driving licence. Therefore a new driver who is facing the 6 point threshold will need to plead the case in Court.  That’s where we can help.

If you accept that you’re guilty then significant mitigation (information and circumstances to reduce the severity of the offence and its consequences) must be identified, prepared and presented to the Court. It is vitally important that a compelling case is created.

We would ask the Magistrates to impose a short term ban instead of the penalty points. This would prevent you from reaching the 6 point threshold in the first place. The short term ban needn’t be longer than 7- 14 days in many cases, and would see you back on the road considerably faster than having to retake the theory and practical elements of a driving test.

When preparing mitigation, we will ask you about the offence(s), your circumstances and what you use your licence for. The standard for avoiding licence revocation is set high, that’s why we leave no stone unturned when preparing your case.

We will advise on any necessary evidence to support the application and will not rest until your case is as strong as it can possibly be.

A specialist motoring law barrister will then present your case to the Court on your behalf. You would need to do nothing more than confirm your name and enter your plea of guilty or not guilty.

Our methods of avoiding licence revocation have proved extremely successful and have seen the licences of countless individuals saved. Individuals who may have otherwise needed to quit their job or their studies as travel without a car would have been impossible.

At Ashworth Motoring Law, we support new drivers and hope that they spend a long and enjoyable lifetime on the roads. We know that mistakes can happen, that’s why we are here to support, advise and represent new drivers who need to avoid licence revocation within the first two years of driving.

If you are a new driver and would like to discuss the ways that we could save your licence, call 0330 33 22 770 any time, day or night, to speak to an expert motoring lawyer who specialises in avoiding driving licence revocation.

Article by Expert motoring lawyer, Alison Ashworth – Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law.

When Speeding turns into Dangerous Driving

speedometer

When a person is caught speeding, the usual consequences include:

  1. An invitation to attend a speed awareness course;
  2. A fixed penalty of 3 points and a £100 fine;
  3. A Court summons to attend a hearing at the Magistrates’ Court and up to 6 penalty points or a ban of up to 56 days and a fine of up to £1000 (or £2500 if speeding on the motorway).

However, where the level of the speed is so excessive, the Crown Prosecution Service could consider laying an additional charge of Dangerous Driving.

Unfortunately, there appears to be no uniform approach to what level of speed would provoke the more serious charge of dangerous driving. Sadly, some geographical areas tend to take a different approach to others. I’ve acted on cases where motorists have been ‘lucky’ and avoided the more serious charge and on cases where they have not.

The Dangerous Driving charge can be, and is laid in cases where the only ‘dangerous’ factor is the speed.

There is a common misconception that to be charged with dangerous driving, you must have performed some type of risky manoeuvre such as overtaking multiple cars on a blind bend or driving on the wrong side of the road. It is a further misconception that there must be some form of consequence from the dangerous driving, such as an accident.  This is simply not the case.

I have acted on a number of previous cases where the only factor which made the person’s driving dangerous was the speed.  This is not difficult to understand when the test for dangerous driving is explored:

The test for dangerous driving is simply: whether the person’s standard of driving fell far below the standard expected of a competent driver, and whether it would be obvious to a competent driver that the person’s manner of driving would be dangerous.

The consequences of a conviction for dangerous driving when speed is the only ‘dangerous’ factor

Unfortunately, regardless of how the driving is deemed dangerous, the basic legal consequences of a dangerous driving conviction remain the same:

  • A mandatory minimum 12 month disqualification from driving;
  • An extended re-test;
  • An unlimited fine;
  • Community service or a prison sentence.

In addition, the case could be sent to Crown Court if the Magistrates feel their sentencing powers are insufficient for the nature of the offence.

How many people are driving at excessive speeds during the lockdown?

The Department of Transport has advised that motor vehicle use on Great Britain’s roads has decreased by two thirds since the lockdown started on 23rd March.

Despite this statistic, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) say that they caught more than 6,200 drivers breaking speed limits during the period 23rd March to 22nd April. One driver was clocked driving 115 miles per hour (mph) on a 40 mph road and another 129 mph on the M62.

It is not just the GMP that has noticed the high number of speeding offences during the lockdown. Avon and Somerset Police have stated that 1,391 drivers were charged with speeding offences during the same period. 144 of those caught were charged with high end offences due to the high speeds they were travelling, meaning they will automatically face prosecution due to the severity of their offences.

Gloucestershire Police recorded one driver at 74 mph in a 30 mph speed limit.

Police in Wales have seen a multitude of high-speed offences including speeds of 105 mph in a 60 mph speed limit, 114 mph and 104 mph on 70 mph roads.

Lincolnshire Police forces have stated that they have experienced a doubling in the number of speeding offences despite a reduction by two thirds in the amount of traffic.

These statistics certainly are shocking. However, they make no mention of the number of motorists who are routinely caught driving at excessive speeds in lower speed limit areas. Having acted on such cases in the past, I know that these offences, which often take place in built up areas, can be viewed far more harshly in the Courts.

If you’ve been caught driving at an excessive speed and are worried about a dangerous driving charge

Ashworth Motoring Law are specialists in representing drivers who are charged with driving at particularly excessive speeds. No matter how bad your case might seem, we can assure you it’s probably not the worst we’ve seen!

Whether you’re looking for a specialist speeding or dangerous driving solicitor to identify a defence to clear your name, or want to secure the best possible outcome and ultimately avoid a prison sentence, we can help.

Our specialist motoring law solicitors have secured some truly phenomenal results in cases just like yours. We are proud to say that despite the very real likelihood of a custodial sentence in dangerous driving cases, not a single previous client of ours has ever been sent to prison.

Call now!

Feel free to take a look at our specialist sections on Speeding, Dangerous Driving, or our Guilty Plea and Mitigation Service for more information, or call one of our expert motoring lawyers on 0330 33 22 770 for free initial advice. We look forward to hearing from you.

Article written by Expert Motoring Law Solicitor and Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law, Alison Ashworth

Alison Ashworth; Expert motoring lawyer and Director of www.ashworthmotoringlaw.co.uk

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What to expect during a roadside drug test

As described in our article on “are random drink or drug tests legal”, you can be asked to undergo a roadside drug test if either:

  • The officer reasonably suspects you’ve consumed drugs;
  • The officer reasonably suspects you’ve committed a motoring offence;
  • You’ve been involved in an accident;

If you’ve never done drugs, or haven’t for several months, then being asked to undergo a roadside drug test should cause you no concern. However, recent use of drugs, sometimes as long as two or three days ago could result in a positive test, ultimately ending in a disqualification from driving unless a defence can be identified.

What happens during a roadside drug test?

You’d usually be asked to circle the inside of your mouth with your tongue three times. Once you’ve worked up enough saliva, the officer will use the sample collector to wipe saliva from your tongue.  The sample pads usually change colour indicating that the sample has been successfully collected.

The police officer would then place the sample collector back into the test cassette and click it back into place. The officer then holds the device vertically with the blue section at the top and presses until the sealed section of the capsule breaks. The police officer should continue to hold the device vertically for another ten seconds.

After obtaining the sample, the officer should leave the test undisturbed on a horizontal surface and read the test result after 8 minutes.

If a red line appears, even if it is very faint, then the test is positive, and you’ll be taken to the police station for an evidential blood test to establish the quantity of drugs that are in your system.

What the police should NOT do during a roadside drug test procedure

  • Don’t use the test if the expiration date has been exceeded;
  • Don’t use the test if the packaging is damaged;
  • Don’t use the test if the package contains any moisture;
  • Don’t use the test if the control line already appears red on opening the packet;
  • Don’t store the test at extremes of temperature such as extreme heat or frost;
  • Don’t open the test until shortly before intending to swab the driver.

If you’ve been subjected to a roadside drug test and you think the police have failed to follow the above guidelines, please contact a member of our legal team as soon as possible on 0330 33 22 770. There are numerous defences to drug driving, whether the police have breached procedure at the roadside, police station or hospital. It may not always be obvious that the police have made a mistake, so it’s vital to gain expert opinion on whether you have a case to fight. It could make the difference between walking away from Court with your licence intact or facing a minimum twelve-month ban from driving and a criminal record.

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Article written by Alison Ashworth, Specialist drink and drug driving solicitor and Managing Director of Ashworth Motoring Law. Alison has a first-class honours degree in law and has appeared on various TV and Radio programs to discuss drink and drug driving. Widely considered the “go-to” expert in the field of motoring law, Alison has outstanding rates of securing not guilty verdicts in cases involving drink and drug driving. If you would like Alison to personally look into your case, please call our advice line on 0330 33 22 770 and ask to be transferred directly to her.