A recent case brought home to me the value of instructing a lawyer who specialises in motoring offences. It involved a driver at Manchester Magistrates Court who was accused of careless driving and failing to comply with a traffic signal.

The offence occurred following a collision on the M60 in Manchester which had led to the police closing the outside two lanes of the motorway. My client was accused, along with seven other motorists, of entering the lane which had been closed and stopping near the coned area where the cars involved in the collision were situated. He contacted me after he had received a court summons for the traffic signal offence and driving without due care and attention (careless driving) a much more serious offence which can result in disqualification.

After the evidence was provided shortly before trial, I noticed that there was a technical defect in the case concerning the notice of intended prosecution. This provided my client with a defence to the careless driving charge. I made some written representations following which the prosecution confirmed that it intended to withdraw the careless driving charge. My client therefore received only 3 penalty points and a small fine for contravening the traffic signal when he would have been facing up to 9 points or a disqualification if he had been found guilty of the careless driving charge.

Whilst I was at Court the police officer who had reported the allegations informed me that the other six motorists had all pleaded guilty to careless driving when represented by other non-specialist lawyers at a separate hearing. This meant that she had not been required to give evidence once in relation to the incident! My client was the only one of the accused drivers who had escaped conviction for careless driving.

This case illustrated to me more than most the importance of having a specialist motoring offence solicitor. It was the technical defect in the prosecution case which resulted in my client escaping conviction for careless driving. If the defect was present in my clients case then it is highly likely that it was in the case of the other six motorists but my client was the only one who had managed to avoid conviction for careless driving.

My client’s decision to instruct a specialist firm of motoring solicitors saved him from a potential disqualification for driving without due care and attention and from paying a much larger fine.

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