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All clients demand a high level of service but none more so than the private paying road traffic client. Their very livelihood may be at stake and this brings an added degree of anxiety to it all. Their expectation is that you have checked, and double checked, everything to ensure that the prosecution case against them is fully in order before deciding whether or not they have any option other than to plead guilty. Not guilty pleas (which may or may not result in a full blown trial) demand an attention to detail and a level of expertise. This work is not to be undertaken lightly. Clients can be very unforgiving when costly mistakes are made.

A plea in mitigation – we may not cover all of the content during the hour but you will have the relevant Sections and leading cases and Rules at your fingertips in your full set of notes!




The following topics will be under consideration

  • Rule 4 of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2020 – has all of the documentation in the case been correctly served?

  • Rule 7 of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2020 – have the proceedings against the client been properly ‘issued’ by an Authorised Prosecutor? – A consideration of the time limits under Section 127 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980

  • The clients driving history – accessing the database at Swansea

  • The whole issue of costs in the Magistrates’ Court – costs against the defendant  and costs in favour of the defendant under a Defendant’s Costs Order – Section 16 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985

  • The private paying road traffic client in the Crown Court – tread very carefully and ensure that your letters spell out the costs implications in great detail

  • Appealing the case from the Magistrates’ Court to the Crown Court – appeals against sentences (which includes findings made by the Magistrates’) and appeals against convictions – the position on costs at the Crown Court when considering an appeal

  • Clients accumulating 12 penalty points or more – the things you can argue and the things you cannot – has life become more difficult following the recent amendments to the Magistrates’ Guidelines concerning loss of employment?

  • Situations in which it might be more beneficial to seek a short discretionary disqualification under section 34 (2) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988

  • Special Reasons – what you can and cannot argue – evidential issues

  • ‘Driving’, ‘attempting to drive’ and ‘in charge’ – the meaning of these terms

  • Road or public place – or both? – have you checked what the Section actually says? – The important case of R v Hallett

  • Speeding offences generally and notices of intended prosecution

  • Evidence and unused material following a ‘not guilty’ plea

  • Being frank with your opponent and the Court as to the trial issues following a ‘not guilty’ plea – what are the trial issues? – What is agreed and what is not agreed?

  • Expert evidence – Rule 19 of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2020

  • Duress of Circumstance/Duress of Necessity – do not confuse your defences with Special Reasons!

  • Sections 4 – 7A of the Road Traffic Act 1988

  • High-risk offenders (HRO’s) – Swansea refusing to return the driving licence – appeals are by way of complaint to the Magistrates’ Court

  • Consideration of early removal of the period of disqualification under Section 42 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988

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