Motoring Offence Successes
MTM achieves maximum discount in High Court dangerous driver case
This was a case involving a youngster who had caused death by dangerous driving. In these cases, the Court operates a tariff system. Our client was initially charged with engaging in a race with the co-accused, who was also charged with causing death by dangerous driving. The difficulty with that 'aggravation' is that it takes the case into the realms of 7 – 9 years in custody upon conviction.
MTM obtained and studied in detail video footage from a power station that the two accused had passed. The footage could not support the allegation of racing. This brought the case down towards the 4 – 5 year mark in terms of a possible sentence, although it was still dangerous driving.
To secure a Section 196 discount, it is necessary to plead guilty at the earliest possible opportunity. Although our client did not plead guilty at the earliest opportunity, we were still able to persuade the High Court judge to give him the maximum discount. We highlighted that the reason that the plea could not be tendered earlier was because the Crown had not disclosed, despite our request, large parts of the evidence – particularly relative to the video footage. So the client received the maximum discount on the sentence, which had another knock-on effect as the sentence which was selected was 5 years (60 months) and meant that he then qualified for the full discount of a third of the sentence. This took the potential sentence down to 42 months, which in turn made him a 'short-term prisoner' and not a 'long-term prisoner' and qualified him to be eligible for release after one half rather than two-thirds of a sentence. It meant he could be out within 21 months and could be tagged half-way through the sentence, which could mean serving only 10 months of the sentence.
The other side-effect of MTM's intervention was that it also saved the co-accused because he was only responsible for the crash and resulting tragic death if he was involved in a race with our client. He was then convicted of a lesser charge of careless driving and was fined. The case illustrated MTM's meticulous research and the firm's ability to get the best deal in the most difficult cases.
Nurse retains licence in serious road traffic case which almost resulted in a fatality
A nurse who was travelling not in the course of her employment, but on leisure was involved in a collision with a motorcyclist as she turned across a carriageway. The motorcyclist was catapulted off his motorbike and suffered life-threatening injuries. He survived and she was prosecuted on the charge of dangerous driving resulting in a serious injury.
The Crown case relied on an expert and a report provided by investigators who had done a detailed site examination looking at issues such as the time the client would have had to see the motorcyclist as well as speeds. MTM successfully contested the report and pointed out that the evidence against the client was not as clear-cut as the prosecution were alleging. The Crown accepted the plea to the lesser charge of careless driving causing injury; as a result, the client was not disqualified and was able to keep her licence and her job
The client was a group practice nurse who travelled regularly between different practices in Central Scotland. This incident was so serious that it almost caused loss of life, which would have attracted a custodial sentence; such sentences can be anything up to 14 years imprisonment.
Prosecution dropped in professional driver case in Aberdeen Sheriff Court
The power of persuasion is an essential part of being a good defence lawyer. In case where our client already had 9 points on his licence, MTM convinced the Procurator Fiscal to discontinue the prosecution.
Our legal argument was that, although our client had, strictly speaking, not complied with the letter of the law, he had made it obvious by the steps that he had taken that he was not deliberately seeking to flout the law. This was a case where interpretation of events was of paramount importance: MTM was able to convince the Procurator to exercise his powers of discretion, based on the interpretation put forward by MTM. It was a crucial result for the client who would otherwise have lost his licence and his livelihood.
Dangerous driving charge reduced and disqualification avoided
In a case that originated in the Scottish Borders, an ex-Army driver with a 40 year driving record was charged with dangerous driving after being in a collision with a vehicle driven by a police officer. MTM's legal team worked to get the charge reduced to one of careless driving, thereby avoiding the very real risk of disqualification.
MTM helps to keep client on career professional path in road traffic case
A road traffic conviction can seriously affect a person's career and livelihood. An MTM client was in the process of pursuing a career professional path when he was charged with being in charge of a motor vehicle while unfit to drive. He had no previous convictions, but this really was not the issue. The real issue was that his career professional path had been put on hold pending the outcome of his trial. A conviction would have seriously damaged his career plans and future prospects generally.
The MTM team secured an acquittal by MTM being able to identify the statutory defence that, although he was indeed in charge of the vehicle, he had no intention of driving the vehicle. The defence was possible because MTM cited the relevant witnesses and had taken photographs, which it made available to the court.
Plea negotiation in road traffic case safeguards client's liberty
Skilful plea negotiation can be central to a case – and to preserving a client's liberty. This was a major consideration in a road traffic case where a client had been charged with dangerous driving and driving whilst disqualified. MTM was able to negotiate a plea on the client's behalf so that the charge of dangerous driving became one of careless driving. Crucially, the charge of dangerous driving is an imprisonable one; careless driving, on the other hand, is not imprisonable.
In addition, MTM still had to deal with the outstanding charge of driving whilst disqualified. The client had very many previous convictions for driving whilst disqualified. Careful investigation by the defence revealed that the driving occurred over a very short distance as the vehicle was being moved off-road to an off-road site. Nonetheless the place where it was seen by the police did constitute a road in legal terms.
Despite all of these factors, the Sheriff was persuaded that he could take an exceptional view of the disqualified driving given where the client was seen driving. The Sheriff specifically stated in Court that the man was not being imprisoned because he had pled guilty to careless and not dangerous driving. In other words, without MTM's plea negotiation, prison would have been his definite destination.
MTM wins traffic double in one day
MTM has won another traffic ‘double’ on the same day. Two clients have avoided disqualification in separate road traffic cases, despite driving at speeds of more than one and half times the speed limit. Both would have lost their jobs if they had been convicted; both were acquitted and retained their livelihood.
MTM secures early removal of disqualifications
Most of the road traffic cases defended by the firm have an economic dimension for defendants. There is also usually a family element to such legal defence work.
This case involved two working men who had lost their licences and were trying to get back to work. Solicitor Murray Aitken persuaded the Sheriff to reduce the period of disqualification early to help them to achieve their goal of returning to work. Both cases were held and won on the same day.
Road traffic collision case with cyclist ends in acquittal for client
A client has been found not guilty of careless driving by causing a collision with a cyclist. The complainer was in fact a professional cyclist who was knocked over; she claimed that our client had been the cause of this.
MTM convinced the court that there was insufficient evidence of our client having made contact with her – and that consequently her claim of having been knocked off her bicycle by that contact could not be substantiated.
MTM advocacy makes the difference for businessman in driving without insurance case
Despite having six points on his licence, a self-employed businessman has avoided losing his licence for driving without insurance.
An MTM road traffic law expert was able to persuade the Court that there were special reasons for him to be driving without insurance at the time. Our client was saved from disqualification under the customary ‘totting-up’ procedure on a charge that normally attracts at least six penalty points.
Medical professional receives only 3 points and a small fine despite travelling at almost twice the legal speed limit
A medical professional charged with driving at almost twice the legal speed limit has been given only a nominal fine and a minimum of penalty points. The client, whose work is dependent on her being able to drive, has received only 3 penalty points and a fine of £60.
Careful advocacy on the part of MTM meant that the Justice of the Peace was inclined to use a lesser sanction despite the fact that the client was recorded as travelling at 75 mph in a 40 mph zone.
Exceptional Hardship Proof accepted in Road Traffic case for business client
A client running a delivery business has been saved from disqualification thanks to skilful advocacy by MTM in the Justice of the Peace Court. The client’s delivery business employs a further nine people whose livelihoods also depend on it.
The client already had a previous 9 points, and yet MTM successfully persuaded the court not to disqualify the client - even though he had now gained a further 6 points, making 15 points in total. The client retained his licence and avoided a totting-up disqualification as the court accepted that exceptional hardship would exist if it were to impose a disqualification. It was a great result for the client, his business and his employees.
Drink driving charge client receives discounted disqualification
An MTM client facing seven road traffic charges, including one of drink driving, has received a discounted disqualification and a financial penalty after successful representation by one of MTM’s road traffic team. Other charges faced by the client included: driving without insurance; careless driving; failing to stop and report; and having no valid MOT.
The Sheriff could have called for reports, given the high level of the breathalyser reading the client was three times over the legal limit. Instead, the Sheriff decided to fine the client £400 and impose a disqualification of only 18 months, discounted from 24 months, following an early plea of guilty to the drink driving charge. All other charges disappeared as a consequence.
MTM saves accountant’s career in road traffic case
An MTM client, who is a single parent and an accountant, has been given a discretionary disqualification of only 60 days, enabling her to keep her career. She had been charged with speeding on the motorway at 111mph and already had 9 points on her licence - yet MTM was still able to secure a discretionary disqualification. The result was critically important for the client, both personally and professionally.
Taxi driver retains licence and livelihood
It’s one of the things that every driver dreads – being involved in a road traffic incident where a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle. This is exactly what happened to a taxi driver client who was going about his work when his vehicle was involved in a collision with a pedestrian. The pedestrian sustained an injury that required hospital treatment.
MTM made a successful legal submission of ‘no case to answer’ because there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the quality of the client’s driving at the time in question fell below the standard expected of a careful and competent driver. It was a crucial outcome for our client whose driving licence was at stake: had he been convicted, he would have been unable to work as a taxi driver – leading to the loss of his employment.
Careful defence work leads to discontinuation of road traffic prosecution case
Being stopped as a motorist by the police can happen in any number of circumstances. This was exactly the experience of an MTM client who was asked to produce documents at the roadside. Unfortunately, our client was unaware that his driving licence had been apparently revoked by the DVLA, which meant that his insurance policy was also invalid.
Behind-the-scenes research by MTM lawyers revealed inconsistencies between the police records relating to our client’s driving licence and the records held by the DVLA. MTM was therefore able to persuade the Procurator Fiscal to take the view that the prosecution against our client on these charges should be discontinued.
MTM succeeds with little-known Road Traffic law defence
An MTM client was facing a charge of being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle in terms of the Road Traffic Act 1988, Section (5)(b). The client indicated that he had no intention of driving the vehicle whilst drunk, and MTM used the little known defence under Section 5(2) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 which allows a Court to find a person not guilty of the charge if there is no likelihood of them driving a motor vehicle whilst a proportion of alcohol in their breath or blood exceeds the prescribed limit.
After a trial involving defence witnesses, MTM was able to persuade the Sheriff that the client should be found not guilty of the charge, thereby saving him from the possibility of being disqualified for a period of time. This was an important case because the client was a self-employed man who required his motor vehicle to carry out his work as a landscape gardener.
Driving licence and livelihood saved as MTM uncovers insurance error in prosecution case
In a second private client Road Traffic case and on the same day, MTM represented a council support worker charged with driving without insurance under Section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. It was a charge for which the client already had a previous conviction. He approached MTM as his work depended on his ability to drive and he would have lost his job if he had been convicted and lost his driving licence. Once again, out of court investigation by MTM was to prove decisive.
Although the police officers who investigated our client had information from the police database that he was not insured, our investigations were able to confirm that a mistake had been made by the police. We obtained documentation to confirm that, in the circumstances of this case, he was in fact insured. Our client retained his licence and his employment.
This was another case in which we were able to persuade the Procurator Fiscal to desert the case against our client. Disqualification from driving would have been an inevitable result if the client had been convicted.
Out of court investigation again saved the day for the client, but the case also illustrated the importance of seeking legal advice IMMEDIATELY where there is any dubiety about insurance status. MTM can work behind the scenes to secure an acquittal as opposed to clients simply pleading guilty or being convicted at trial and facing far-reaching consequences for themselves and their families.
MTM investigation leads to charges being dropped by the prosecution in private client Road Traffic case
Detailed on-the-ground investigation by MTM has led to a Road Traffic case against a private client being dropped by the prosecution.
The client, a taxi driver, had been charged with careless driving under Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. He was at risk of losing his employment if he was convicted of injuring a pedestrian.
MTM conducted a thorough investigation of the case which included visiting the locus (the place where the event took place) and obtaining maps and photographs of the locus to compare with information given by the Crown witnesses in their statement.
The investigation revealed a number of discrepancies in the evidence of the Crown witnesses, as contained in their statements. We were able to persuade the Procurator Fiscal that there was no prospect of a conviction against our client and the case was therefore dropped.
This Road Traffic case was a prime example of the effectiveness of a forensic approach to evidence, securing a result where someone’s livelihood was on the line.
Road Traffic Appeal improves on result for client
MTM's expertise in appeal cases was once again to the fore when one of the firm’s Solicitor-Advocates identified a point of appeal in a case at Falkirk Sheriff Court.
The case, which went to the Appeal Court this month, was seen as being of legal importance and was therefore adjourned from a bench of two judges to be dealt with by a bench of three judges, which would provide a more authoritative decision. The Sheriff had failed to allow the client a discount in the period of her disqualification in the original road traffic case, even though she had pled guilty to the charge at the first opportunity.
At the Court of Criminal Appeal, we argued that our client should have been allowed a full one third discount in the period of her disqualification because of the stage at which she pled guilty to the charge, which was the pleading diet. The Crown opposed her appeal.
Nevertheless, as a result of legal research and submissions in this case, MTM saw things through and was able to persuade the Appeal Court to reduce the period of 4 years disqualification to only 3 years. That period could be reduced further to 2½ years in the event that our client successfully completed the drink driving rehabilitation scheme. Even though the Sheriff had disposed of the original case, MTM was still able to get a better result for the client by targeting novel and complex legal issues and arguing them in court.
Skilful defence wins road traffic case - despite insurance company claim to have cancelled insurance
Most people pay their insurance premiums by direct debit. This seemingly straightforward arrangement can, however, often lead to a real insurance problem – and a serious legal charge: that of driving without insurance under Section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
If funds are not available in a person’s bank account, and the direct debit is re-presented but is not paid, a letter is sent to the insured person advising that insurance cover has been withdrawn. This is a pretty regular occurrence.
MTM has defended a client in exactly these circumstances. The client, a successful businessman, was stopped by the police as part of a routine check and advised that he had no insurance cover for driving his vehicle. He insisted that he had valid insurance. However, subsequent investigations revealed a claim on the part of the insurance company that they had written to cancel the insurance some months previously on the grounds of unpaid premiums. Our client, who had been with the insurance company for seven years, vigorously denied having received any such letter.
The legal position is that insurance companies can withdraw cover without having to actually prove that they made contact with an insured person. The case proceeded to trial on the basis outlined above, and the client was delighted when MTM succeeded in persuading the Justice of the Peace to find him not guilty of the charge of driving without insurance.
Anyone accused of driving without insurance should contact MTM immediately. We will be pleased to advise and represent them in this highly specialist area of law and legal defence.
SRTL client found not guilty of failing to provide a specimen of breath
A client in a road traffic case has been found not guilty of a charge of failing to provide a specimen of breath to the police at a police station, in terms of Section 7 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
The client was from Poland and spoke poor English. Critically, the SRTL lawyer was able to persuade the Sheriff at the trial that the client had not fully understood the instructions given to him by police officers at the police station, in order for him to provide a specimen of breath. The client was acquitted of the charge.
Exceptional Hardship Proof saves postman’s livelihood in road traffic case
SRTL has successfully defended a client using an Exceptional Hardship Proof. We were able to save the driving licence of a postman who made deliveries in a van. Careful research and preparation, involving information gathered from his employer, was presented by SRTL to demonstrate that he was very likely to lose his job if he lost his driving licence.
Skilled presentation by SRTL’s lawyers meant that we were able to persuade the Judge that exceptional hardship would be caused to the client’s family if he lost his job. We outlined and substantiated our case which was based on the argument that he would be unable to support his family and that they would likely incur debt and have to move house. The consequences were demonstrated so compellingly, and with respect to other members of his family, that our defence was accepted.
Exceptional Hardship Proof saves senior executive’s licence
A senior executive of a UK company with a requirement to attend business meetings across Scotland and the North of England has retained his driving licence thanks to an Exceptional Hardship Proof presented by SRTL Lawyers.
We were able to persuade the judge that the client would be likely to lose his job or be downgraded in his job in the event that he lost his driving licence, which was essential for him to be able to carry out his role within the company. Careful preparation meant that we were able to obtain and then present information regarding his family circumstances, particularly relating to the care of a member of his family who was unwell. Again, skilful advocacy helped to persuade the Court that this was a case where the client should not be disqualified from driving.
MTM argues successfully against three prosecution witnesses in usual road traffic case – client acquitted of dangerous driving and an alternative charge
MTM has successfully defended a client against a charge of dangerous driving under Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and an alternative charge of culpable and reckless conduct. The prosecution decided to charge the client with the additional alternative offence because, although the Crown was sure that the client’s conduct was criminal in nature, the prosecutor could not be sure which of the two offences he had committed. The charge stated that our client had driven off his vehicle at a time when a person opened the door and was trying to enter the vehicle, causing them to fall out of the vehicle onto the ground, suffering a substantial number of injuries
After a trial involving cross examination of three witnesses against the client an MTM lawyer was able to persuade the Sheriff that all three of the witnesses’ evidence was unreliable and the client was acquitted of both charges.
Unusual application to the Justice of the Peace Court successful in uninsured taxi driver case
An MTM client driving without insurance has benefited from a successful and highly unusual application to the Justice of the Peace Court.
MTM argued that there were special reasons why the client’s licence should not be endorsed and why he should not be disqualified from driving. Our case rested on the fact that his estranged wife had stopped paying the insurance premiums for his vehicle without telling him.
We entered a plea of “special reasons” in terms of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, which resulted in our client being simply given a warning. The case had a particular significance in that the driver concerned was a taxi driver; if he had been disqualified he would have also lost his livelihood.
Businessman avoids disqualification due to MTM plea
An MTM defence of exceptional hardship proved decisive in the case of an Edinburgh businessman charged with using a mobile phone while driving. Already on 9 points, the client received a further 3, but, critically, avoided being disqualified after MTM successfully entered a plea of exceptional hardship. The businessman had recently invested some £250,000 in a restaurant; disqualification would have made it extremely difficult for him to have run his business, which employed a number of people.
Senior director of national company retains licence
The consequences of losing a licence can be disastrous for anyone, and particularly for senior business executives whose jobs require them to be fully mobile. A senior director of a large national company has retained his licence despite driving at almost twice the 30 mph speed limit in a built-up area. Again, MTM’s advocacy meant that the client avoided disqualification.
Diligent research leads to acquittal in road traffic case
An MTM client has been cleared of a road traffic offence that would have cost him his licence had he been convicted. The client was facing the lesser used charge of driving while unfit through drink or drugs.
Witnesses had spoken of the accused being clearly intoxicated. However, research by MTM revealed that he had been separately tested for alcohol; the test had proved negative. MTM also discovered that, although not immediately apparent, the accused had been seen by a doctor who had passed him ‘fit’. Once again, diligent and persistent research led to the prosecution dropping the case.
Fines overruled and re-assessed
An appeal client who had been convicted of a course of conduct of stealing diesel from garages and also of driving without insurance has had all his fines radically reduced.
Disqualification period reduced
In another appeal case, this time of drink driving with a level of alcohol over three times the legal limit, an MTM Solicitor Advocate has succeeded in persuading the Appeal Court that a discount in the period of disqualification should be allowed to the offender, given that he had pled guilty at the first opportunity. This was a novel situation and the Solicitor Advocate was able to persuade the Appeal Court to set a new precedent
The Sheriff had imposed a sentence of 30 months disqualification. Following careful research, the MTM Solicitor Advocate uncovered new legal cases which suggested that the disqualification period imposed was too high. Submissions based on this new information were instrumental in securing the discount in disqualification.
Driver keeps his job by avoiding disqualification – despite previous ban for drink driving still being in force
Being disqualified from driving is one of the surest ways of losing your livelihood – and the prospect of any other job.
MTM recently saved a client from all this, in circumstances that were anything but promising. The client had been caught driving a motor vehicle before a previous ban for drink driving had expired. In such cases, a Sheriff will normally move to impose a period of disqualification as well as a community service order.
Submissions by MTM, based on extensive research of the law, meant that the firm was able to persuade the Sheriff to resort to neither option, but to impose penalty points instead. It meant the client got to keep their licence - and their job.
MTM successfully argues that prosecution failure to produce supporting evidence rules out right to a fair trial
The prosecutor in a road traffic case has been persuaded to discontinue the prosecution half way through the trial after MTM raised a successful objection to the prosecutor’s failure to produce evidence for the defence to examine, in order to give the accused a fair trial. The case involved a charge under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, where the registered keeper of a vehicle had allegedly failed to identify the driver of his vehicle which had allegedly been involved in a road traffic accident. Police officers had attended the registered keeper’s house asking who the driver of his motor vehicle was on a certain date many weeks previously. It was successfully argued in Court that it was very difficult for him to know who had been the driver of his vehicle.
MTM’s approach in this case was to invoke the ‘best evidence’ rule. We objected to the trial proceeding in the absence of the production of the evidence because it meant the defence did not have an opportunity to examine it, as the police witnesses had done for the prosecution. The presiding Magistrate agreed that this was unfair to the defence and the prosecutor was persuaded therefore to discontinue the trial and our client was acquitted of the charge.
MTM client avoids 12 penalty points and disqualification – and keeps his job
An MTM client accused of road traffic offences, relating to careless driving, failing to stop at the scene of a motor accident and failing to report a motor accident, has been acquitted after trial. If he had been convicted he would have had over 12 penalty points and would have been disqualified for a period of six months. Such an outcome would have led to the loss of his job, with potentially disastrous consequences for his family in terms of personal distress and economic hardship. Winning such a case for a client is always satisfying, not least because of what it means to their family.
MTM wins road traffic case in Sheriff Court and protects driver’s livelihood
MTM has successfully defended a client against a charge of driving without due care and attention in an incident involving two police officers. The allegation was aggravated by the suggestion that the incident had caused a police vehicle to take evasive action to avoid a collision. The only eyewitnesses in the incident were two experienced police officers.
Fortunately, the driver involved, whose livelihood dependent on being able to drive an HGV, had the benefit of the MTM defence team to call on. MTM’s representation and challenging of the ‘facts’ led to the case being dismissed. It was all a great relief to our client, who had maintained his innocence throughout.
MTM succeeds in making exceptional hardship case for client
MTM has succeeded in pleading exceptional hardship on behalf of a client in the Justice of the Peace Court. The defence was for a client who already had 12 points on his licence, and who was studying to improve employment prospects. The plea succeeded based on family circumstances and the need for continuing study. Instead of a ban, the court imposed penalty points and a fine.