It’s not that often that I’m in Court but yesterday was one of those dreaded days.
In February I received a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) for exceeding the speed limit.
The vehicle was “caught” speeding on a ‘Smart Motorway’ speed camera section of the M25 and the alleged speed was 58mph — on a motorway, the horror!
I nominated all the possible drivers of the car at the time the speeding ticket was issued, which included myself. However the Police weren’t satisfied with that answer, and on this occasion decided instead to issue a summons for “failing to identify” the driver…
The first bit of good news (for me!) was that I’m a Member of DriveProtect.
To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure whether my Membership was still active or not. However, thankfully — after checking — it was.
This meant that instead than costing £1500 to be represented at Court — which in my experience is actually cheap for experienced speeding offence solicitors — I paid only £100.
DriveProtect picked up the rest of the legal fees.
I’ve got to tell you that Matt (the specialist speeding lawyer who represented me at court) is really good.
Of course I already knew that, but it was actually quite enjoyable for me to be reminded by seeing him in action again!
You can tell, he loves the motoring law “game” and he’s really skilled at playing it*
* in my experience the best Lawyers do see court as a ‘game’, which they desperately want to win…
The first time he represented me at Court was around 10 years ago. That was for a matter unrelated to speeding but I was so impressed at the (correct) result he got for me on that occasion that I sent him a nice bottle of Champagne after to say thank you.
He really understood the Court process, and how both Magistrates and Judges react to being presented information in certain — and different — ways.
I’m telling you, good Road Traffic Lawyers know how to play the game, which I — and almost certainly you unless you’re one of them! — don’t.
Anyway, I’m glad to say that nothing’s changed :- )
On this occasion Matt asked me to get to the Court an hour early. When I arrived he sat me down to explain the strategy he’d come up with.
I’d love to say I followed all the details of what he told me…
However I don’t think I registered the finer points of Law and process that were being explained to me.
In layman’s terms, he’d identified a procedural error in the way that evidence had been served.
Try to get the whole case thrown out (no points, no fine, but with a much greater penalty if found guilty);
Attempt to get the prosecution (the Crown Prosecution Service, or “CPS”) to agree to reduce the charge from “failing to identify” to just a standard prosecution for speeding.
He could then plead to the Court that I should get the normal £100 fine and 3 penalty points.
If I hadn’t done one a couple of years ago, we would have been asking for a Speed Awareness Course!
He told me if we went for option (1) then the prosecution would definitely dig their heels in and ask for an adjournment, so they could produce a police officer they’d rely on to try to obtain a conviction.
He said that based on his (extensive!) experience of dealing with Magistrates, there would be approximately a 50% chance of them getting the adjournment.
I took this to mean that it depended what mood they were in and whether or not they liked the look of me!
If the prosecution did get an adjournment, we’d have to attend the Court again. He told me he was more than happy to do this as DriveProtect would be paying his legal fees!
However the the chances of winning were again around 50/50 in his opinion and if we lost, the penalty would be at least 6 penalty points and a much larger fine.
He put the option in my hands, but it was clear we shared the same opinion.
If that didn’t work, we could revert to option (1) as the backup.
Matt then disappeared.
10 minutes later, he walked back in to the room and told me the “deal” was done!
The CPS agreed to reduce the charge from “Failing to Identify” to Speeding!
The CPS didn’t want to risk losing (which meant they’d a) look bad and b) would have to pay our legal costs) and agreed to drop the charge to Speeding!
Matt coached me briefly about what I should say (as little as possible) and also what he would say to the Magistrates.
I just wish they allowed filming inside the Court because this guy is so good that my words don’t do him justice.
I’ll just tell you two facts that illustrate my point:
I’m convinced that I I were in this Court representing myself, I would have got at least 6 points and a big fine, and possibly a driving ban;
Matt got me the minimum possible fine (£100), and the minimum possible points (3) on my driving licence!
I was — needless to say — very happy.
And not only from a selfish point of view, but also from a community point of view.
I’m extremely happy knowing that this firm of motoring offence solicitors is representing DriveProtect Members.
And if you’re a Member — trust me on this one — you should be too!
All the best,
You can Become a Member online here
Or call the Membership Team to have your questions answered on: 01843 232 791