Our solicitors have decades of experience in protecting our client’s driving licences. Whether you are accused of an alcohol-related offence such as driving with excess alcohol or failing to provide a specimen, dangerous/careless driving or speeding we can provide you with advice and representation anywhere in England and Wales.
Alcohol and drug offences
If you are charged with an alcohol/drug-related offence there are certain circumstances where you may be able to argue that there are “special reasons” why you should not be disqualified from driving.
Motor vehicle interference
Under section 9 of the Criminal Attempts Act 1981, it is an offence to interfere with a motor vehicle or trailer or any of the contents with the intention of stealing the vehicle/ trailer or any of their contents or of taking the vehicle without the owner’s consent.
The maximum sentence is 3 months imprisonment in the magistrates’ court, although the more usual sentence is a financial penalty.
If you are facing disqualification as a result of accumulating 12 points it may be possible to preserve your driver’s licence by making an “exceptional hardship argument” to the court. We can advise you of what is required and your prospects of such an argument succeeding. Follow the link to learn more about driving endorsements and how the penalty points system works.
If you are already disqualified from driving and have been disqualified for a substantial period of time, it is possible to apply to the court to remove the disqualification early.<
In addition to our knowledge and experience of road traffic law we have access to some of the best expert forensic scientists, vehicle examiners and crash scene investigators in the country. If you have received a summons to attend court our solicitors can advise you on the likely outcome of your case and, if necessary, defend you in court.
Funding road traffic cases
We have a duty to explore your eligibility for legal aid funding. However, some cases such as simple motoring offences do not attract legal aid and some people because of their means are not eligible for legal aid. Alternatively, you may wish to fund your defence privately whether you are eligible for legal aid or not.
In accordance with the SRA Transparency Rules, we now provide the following general information regarding our private client fees and specific information concerning any fixed fee quote for a motoring offence to be met by a guilty plea.
We often represent clients on a fixed-fee basis. That fee is calculated on the basis of the amount of work we believe will be involved in a case. For straight forward, not guilty/guilty plea case in our local court (St Albans Magistrates’ Court) our usual fixed- would be £500 plus travel disbursements and VAT. That fee is for representation at a single hearing in the magistrates’ court at which you will meet with your solicitor to provide instructions and go through the prosecution papers and any other evidence. Your solicitor will then advise you regarding the law, any defences available to you, possible sentence if convicted and then represent you in court. If the hearing is at a more distance court then our fees and the costs of any travel would be greater.
If a pre-court conference (either at our offices or by telephone) is required there will be an additional fee of £275 plus VAT.
The above fees do not include:
- Any expert/medical reports
- Instruction of any expert witnesses
- Taking statements from any witnesses
- Advice and assistance in relation to a special reasons hearing or an appeal
More lengthy and complex cases such as exceptional hardship or special reasons hearing would usually attract a fixed-fee in the region of £1,275, which would include a pre-court conference.
If we are not representing you for a fixed fee, our hourly rates are as follows:
Senior solicitor – £225 plus VAT
Solicitor – £200 plus VAT
Recovery of Legal Fees
In the event that you are found not guilty or the case against you is discontinued it is possible to make an application to the court for a Defendant’s Costs Order which allows a claim for a partial refund of costs to be made. However, any such costs will only be refunded at legal aid rates which are approximately one-quarter of private client rates. Please note that we make a nominal administrative charge of £50 plus VAT for assisting you in recovering any legal costs.