Full transparency over fixed fees
Our approach to client service and cost structure sets us apart from other local law firms. We offer complete transparency over fixed fees, though we can also provide an hourly rate depending on your needs.
In some instances, we may not need to accompany you to court and can deal with your case through written representations – helping you to keep costs down. These matters will be agreed on an hourly rate basis.
Our hourly rates range from £185.00 – £250.00 (plus VAT of 20%) per hour. You will be provided with a written breakdown of our costs after the first consultation and are able to identify the relevant issues and level of preparation required.
Where representation at court is required, you may prefer us to fix our fees so that you can have peace of mind about mounting costs. We will explain every cost involved at the outset. Our fee’s range from £250.00 – £1,000.00 per hearing depending upon the complexity of the case, the volume of case papers, your plea and court location. VAT is payable in addition to our fees at a rate of 20%.
In addition, sometimes, we will incur disbursements (also known as expenses) on your behalf. Examples include:
- Expert reports (approximately £150.00 – £2000.00 plus VAT at 20%);
- Expert attendance at Court (approximately £50.00 – £200.00 per hour plus VAT at 20%);
- Barrister’s costs (advice or attendance at Court £100.00 – £300.00 per hour plus VAT at 20%).
These will always be agreed with you in advance. No matter the circumstances, your case will be reviewed by a senior lawyer, never a paralegal. And the fee will be agreed with you at the outset of the case.
Most road traffic cases are summary only offences dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court. The court aims to deal with all cases within 6 weeks, but the reality is that it can take 6 months, or longer. Most cases will take between 2-6 hours preparation and court attendance, but this is dependent upon the complexity and number of witnesses. In successful cases, we will apply for a “Defendant’s Costs Order” which, in most cases, will result in a proportion, but not all, of your legal fees being recovered.
If the case is to be dealt with at the Crown Court, then you will require Counsel (a Barrister). We will be happy to discuss this with you and provide a written estimate of our charges before you decide to instruct us and before you incur any costs. Cases in the Crown Court may take longer to conclude and can take 12 months or more. The range of costs for cases in the Crown Court is so wide that it is only possible to provide a realistic estimate of costs once we have further information about your case. VAT is payable at 20% on our charges. Disbursements (such as those described above) are payable on top of our charges (plus VAT at 20%). For cases dealt with in the Crown Court costs are non-recoverable even if you are acquitted.
For further information explore our FAQs here.
So that you can get an indication of what you may face, here is a breakdown of all of driving offence codes, their licence points and additional punishments. Descriptions of these categories are provided in the drop-downs below.
Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP)
A Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) is a legal requirement relating to a variety of offences. They must be issued within a specific time frame, with accurate details, in a pre-determined format.
Police officers can issue NIPs verbally following the alleged commission of an offence, or they can be sent in the post to the driver or registered keeper of the vehicle.
When receiving a NIP in the post, failure to comply with the request can lead to a more severe penalty than the initial offence. It is crucial to seek advice from a professional on receipt of a NIP as it can impact the outcome of the case.
Single Justice Notice Procedure (SJPN)
A Single Justice Procedure Notice (SJPN) is a process used by most Police Forces to commence Court proceedings for motoring offences. You should receive an SJPN within 6 months of the commission of an offence. Single Justice Procedure Notices came into force in 2015 under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 and deal with summary-only, none imprisonable offences.
The assumption is that most cases will be resolved by a guilty plea without a formal hearing. SJPN hearings take place “behind closed doors” and normally within 21 days from the posting of the notice. You will not be given the date of the ‘hearing’ and the court will write to you with the result of the hearing.
Read more about what to do if you receive an SJPN on our blog.
From postal notification to being stopped by the police, speeding tickets are a common motoring offence. Being caught speeding has a variety of punishments. These can be anything from a speed awareness course, a fixed penalty of 3 points and £100 fine, or a sentencing at court and disqualification from driving for a prolonged period.
The law around speeding fines and offences is complex due to the types of roads, adequate guidance to the correct speed, the functionality of speed cameras and more.
If accused, it is important to consider the accumulation of penalty points, because receipt of 12 or more within a 3-year period will lead to disqualification. If you’ve received notification of a speeding offence, our lawyers are on hand to assist you and provide advice as soon as possible.
Driving without due care and attention to the road and surrounding vehicles is referred to as careless driving. An accusation of careless driving can be made when a person’s standard of driving falls below that expected of a competent driver.
There is no exhaustive list of actions that constitute careless driving, but they can include the following:
- Undertaking, tailgating, not indicating
- Driving at an inappropriate speed for the conditions
- Being distracted while driving
- Performing other tasks while driving such as eating
- Poor lane discipline
Acts which are classified as careless driving offences may also lead to charges of driving without reasonable consideration or driving whilst not in proper control of the vehicle, such as being incorrectly positioned in a way which means you cannot properly see the traffic and roads ahead.
The maximum sentence for a careless driving offence is a level 5 fine. Points may be added to the driver’s licence and depending on the severity of the case, they may be disqualified.
A dangerous driving offence is often regarded as one of the most serious road traffic offences.
It is important to remember that even cases of dangerous driving that do not involve a fatality or serious injury can still result in a custodial sentence.
Depending on the severity of the case, it can either be tried at the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court. It is a matter of fact and degree as to which category someone’s driving falls into. The Court must prove that the accused’s driving is likely to cause danger of personal injury or serious damage to property. An accusation of dangerous driving can be made when a person’s standard of driving falls far below that expected of a competent driver.
This area of the law can often be incorrectly charged, and so the sooner legal advice is sought, the best chance the accused person has of negotiating a plea to a lesser sentence or securing acquittal.
Maximum sentencing for dangerous driving offences can vary depending on whether tried in the Magistrates or Crown Court. Either way, points will be endorsed on the licence and the driver will be disqualified for at least 12 months and will be ordered to sit an extended re-test.
When tried summarily, the highest sentencing is a level 5 fine and/ or 6 months custody. If tried on indictment in the Crown Court, the maximum is 2 years’ custody.
Death by Careless Driving
Death by careless driving is classed as an ‘either way’ offence. This means that it will either be tried at the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court, depending on the severity of the case, and this will be decided very early on in proceedings.
If trialled as a summary offence in the Magistrates Court, the maximum sentencing is a level 5 fine and/ or 6 months custody. A trial by indictment at the Crown Court can give sentences up to 5 years’ custody.
With this in mind, it is paramount that drivers involved in an accident causing death by careless driving seek the expertise of a specialist defence solicitor to guide them through the proceedings.
All cases of death by careless driving will have a minimum driving disqualification of 12 months with a discretionary re-test.
Death by Dangerous Driving
Causing death by dangerous driving is perhaps the most serious of driving offences, and because of this, it is only dealt with by the Crown Court.
If you are involved in a road traffic incident which leads to fatality then it is of the utmost importance that you seek expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity. It is imperative that you do this before being interviewed by the police.
There is a multitude of complex issues which the prosecution must solve. If the accused is proven guilty of causing death by dangerous driving, then they could face a sentence of up to 14 years. This is the current sentence, but it has been proposed to be increased to life.
As well as the custodial sentence, the driver will be disqualified for a minimum of two years and have to take an extended driving test to have their licence restored.
Driving Without Insurance
Driving without insurance is a strict liability offence. Conviction can result in a fine and 3-9 penalty points on the driver’s licence or a driving disqualification. The police can issue a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 points to avoid referring the matter to court.
Allowing the use of a vehicle without insurance can also lead to sentencing equal to that given to the driver. It is essential to ensure that insurance policies provide the correct cover because it is no defence to be unaware that you did not have appropriate insurance.
If the case goes to court, the decision is made after hearing evidence, and if special reasons apply, such as misleading information or genuine emergencies, then these will be taken into account.
Because there is such a high number of points given for driving without insurance, it is important to seek legal advice from a specialist road traffic offence solicitor as soon as possible.
Drink Driving Limits and Penalties
It is a criminal offence to drive or attempt to drive a motor vehicle on a road or public place if the amount of alcohol found in your system exceeds the legal limits:
- 35 micrograms alcohol per 100ml of breath
- 80 milligrams alcohol per 100ml of blood
- 107 milligrams alcohol per 10 ml of urine
A drink driving conviction can have far-reaching effects beyond your ability to drive. People convicted of drink driving may lose their job as a result of losing their licence for a minimum of 12 months.
With such big things at stake, it is crucial to seek expert advice from a specialist both at the Police Station and most definitely before the first appearance at Court.
The potential sentencing for drink driving offences will depend on the level of alcohol that is found in the sample of breath, blood or urine when tested. This can range from a large fine and disqualification from driving to a prison sentence.
Drink driving is a complex area of the law, and depending on individual case circumstances, there may be different defences available.
Consequences of Drug Driving
It is an offence to drive or be in charge of a vehicle whilst over the prescribed limit of 16 specified substances, eight of which are prescription drugs, and eight recreational. These can be identified through blood samples and roadside “drugalysers” which test for cocaine and cannabis.
Failure to provide a specimen is an offence in itself.
All drug driving offences carry substantial penalties including compulsory disqualification, a possible community penalty, and even custody if a fine is deemed inappropriate.
Procedures that take place at the roadside, a Police Station or a hospital are crucial in these types of cases. Seek expert advice as soon as possible, and absolutely before the first appearance at the Magistrates Court.
Maximum sentences can reach level 5 fines and/or 6 months custody. The driver will also be disqualified for at least 12 months, depending on their legal history.
Failure to Provide Specimen
If asked for a specimen by the police, failure to comply with the request without a reasonable excuse is an offence. Specimen requests are usually required when a driver is suspected of drink or drug driving, or being in charge of a motor whilst unfit or impaired and can be asked for at the roadside, police station or in a hospital.
Punishment for failure to provide a specimen can often be more than the consequences for the initial offence. The results can range from a fine, to in more serious cases, a custodial sentence.
The severity of each case is different and the technical nature of them is complex, so it is advised that legal advice is sought at the earliest opportunity if accused.
The maximum sentencing for failure to provide a specimen is a level 5 fine and/or 6 months’ custody. A driving disqualification will also be implemented for at least 12 months.
Using a Mobile Phone While Driving
The law against using a mobile phone while driving was introduced in the early days of such technology. It could be argued that the law has not quite developed as quickly as the technology has. These days, there are many more distractions on mobile devices beyond a phone call, and as a result, the offence is deemed a lot more serious.
A conviction for using a mobile phone while driving carries a penalty of 6 points.
The police can often issue a fixed 6-point penalty and a fine. If referred to court, there would also be the discretion to impose a disqualification if the points were not deemed punishment enough.
Other offences can be linked to this, such as careless driving, or driving whilst not in proper control, and so it is crucial to seek expert advice from a road traffic offence solicitor to ensure the best possible outcome.
Accumulating 12 penalty points within 3 years means that the driver faces a 6-month “totting up” disqualification from driving.
Occasionally, under the Totting Up Provisions, it can be argued that the ban would lead to exceptional hardship for the driver, and the disqualification can sometimes be avoided.
Exceptional hardship is different from a mere inconvenience. Cases like this consider circumstances personal to each individual, and can often argue the loss of employment. The court will need to decide whether a job is genuinely going to be at risk and could effectively lead to the inability to support a family.
Grounds can only be argued once within a 3-year period. If an additional 12 points are amassed within the following 3 years, they are unlikely to be able to argue exceptional hardship.
Law for new drivers
Upon passing a driving test, all new drivers are subject to a 2-year probationary period. Within this period, a collection of 6 or more penalty points will result in the licence being revoked. This is different from disqualification in that the license is made null and void, reverting to provisional status.
To be able to drive again, the person must re-apply for a provisional licence and take their driving tests again.
In some circumstances, the new drivers’ laws and the revocation can be avoided, for example, if there are Special Reasons for the manner of driving. As a result, it is imperative that expert professional advice is sought as soon as notification of an incident leading to penalty points is received.