There are some common misconceptions about so called “loopholes” within the law surrounding motoring offences such as speeding and drink driving. Minor factual discrepancies such as a slight spelling mistake on a fixed penalty ticket or charge sheet or a police officer recording a digit from a registration plate incorrectly are very common. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to result in the case against a motorist being dismissed by the Courts if only life were that simple!
Defences to drink driving normally depend on the procedure followed by the police during the arrest, detention of a suspect and provision of breath, blood or urine samples. The police do not have unlimited powers and there are therefore certain aspects of the procedure which must be followed in order for the Court to rely on a sample as evidence of driving with excess alcohol. For example, prior to requiring a specimen of breath at the police station the police must warn the motorist that failure to supply a specimen will result in prosecution. If a sample of blood or urine is required, then the reason why such a requirement is being made instead of breath must be explained.
In relation to most other offences which carry penalty points and or disqualification, a warning or notice of prosecution must be given within 14 days either verbally or in writing. This applies to offences such as speeding, using a handheld device whilst driving, dangerous driving, careless driving and contravening a traffic signal such as a red light. If a driver is stopped and issued with a fixed penalty ticket this dispenses with the need for a separate warning of prosecution. If a notice was posted not received within 14 days then a person should not be found guilty of an offence unless the notice was sent by recorded delivery on a date when it would normally be expected to arrive within this time period. The only exception to the rule that a notice of intended prosecution is required, is where personal injury or damage to property has been caused as a result of the alleged offence.
As a firm of driving offence solicitors, we handle cases like this every day. This is not a definitive summary of all defences which may be available to a charge. Whether a defence applies depends on the circumstances of each case. If you believe that there is a technical deficiency in relation to the case against you and would like the opinion of one of our motoring offence solicitors, call us at any time on 0800 433 4678.