There are many sites online promoting all sorts of different internet myths to do with getting away with motoring offences. We get to hear them all the time, and the sad fact is that most of them don’t work.
We appreciate that you might be desperate to defend the allegations against you and will reach out for anything that might help you. However, in most instances, by the time the man in the street has heard about a supposed loophole, it has already been addressed by law and so drivers then using those loopholes end up with a weak argument, or no argument at all and often ends up in a worse position than they would have been by pleading guilty in the first place.
Listen to Emma Pattersons BBC Radio interview with Mark Forrest discussing some common motoring law myths and misapprehensions:
We can advise you on legitimate defences once we have heard the circumstances of your case and stop you from getting into trouble by trying to use one of the dodgy ‘internet’ defences below.
As the registered keeper of my vehicle, I have been asked under Section 172 of the RTA to provide the identity of the person driving my vehicle when an offence happened.
My human rights say that I don’t have to incriminate myself by providing this information.
I also believe that it is up to the prosecution to prove the allegations against me beyond reasonable doubt and so it is not up to me to tell them anything.
This is not a valid argument. This has been argued over and over in court and indeed all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.
The ECHR clearly states that the keeper of a vehicle is obliged by law to give information relating to the identity of the person driving if and when that vehicle is involved in an alleged road traffic offence. It also states that this compromise is proportionate to the requirement to maintain safe roads.
This means that you are required to name the driver of the vehicle at the time of an alleged offence and that you can be punished if you fail to do so. (Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 – a large fine and six points).
I have purchased a car and haven’t insured it because I am covered on the policy for my old car. I am covered to drive any vehicle owned by someone else with their permission. I haven’t yet registered my new car so it is still owned by someone else.
As soon as you do the deal for a car, pay for it, part exchange against it, or take possession of it, you enter into a legally binding contract and you own the vehicle.
You don’t have to be the registered keeper in order to be considered the owner of the car. This means in the above instance, you are not driving another persons car, and therefore you are not insured.
The police officer made a mistake when he issued the fixed penalty notice so I can get away with the offence.
Mistakes on fixed penalty notices are surprisingly common. These are usually issued for offences such as speeding, traffic sign violations, traffic light offences etc.
But….. does a mistake on the FPN invalidate it?
Normally no it doesn’t.
The fixed penalty notice should be considered as an offer by the police which will allow you to get the matter settled quickly and cost effectively.
The ticket does not represent the evidence that the police have against you, but is instead just a summary of the offence and an opportunity if you choose to settle the matter by paying £60 - £200 and receiving three to six penalty points on your driving licence.
Many people want to argue that the FPN is defective because it has the wrong date, registration number, a misspelt name or an incorrect date of birth, but please remember this is not the officers evidence that you have in front of you.
If you reject the fixed penalty notice then the police will ask the court to issue a summons and when that happens, the officer will refer to his notebook for details of your case. He is unlikely to make the same errors on the summons.
It is a different case however if you don’t agree with the details of the offence itself. If you don’t accept that you are guilty then you should ask the court for a hearing so that you can contest the allegations.
The fact that the police officer originally made a mistake will help your defence as it makes it easier for you to prove that the officer in question was not thorough in his approach and that therefore the rest of his evidence may be unreliable.
There is a process to go through and you will not win if you simply stand up and claim that there is an error on your paperwork.
The police officers job in court is to prove that you committed the offence beyond reasonable doubt, if he can prove that then a mistake on the original ticket will not help your case.
Regardless of the severity of your alleged offence, if the prosecution are convinced that they have reliable evidence that you committed the motoring offence then you will be summonsed to appear in court.
It is not wise to ignore the initial request for the drivers identity because if you do, you will add the offence of failing to provide the drivers identity onto your offences and it carries a hefty fine (usually in the region of £700) and 6 penalty points on your licence.
In addition you won’t have a defence to the allegation if you just ignore it and hope it will go away.
This used to happen a lot and so if you do this, the police will assume that you are lying in an attempt to avoid the points yourself.
The police hear this defence all the time, and their normal procedure is to initially ask you to prove that the person in question was insured to drive your vehicle.
If you can’t provide that proof then you may well be charged with allowing someone to drive uninsured which itself carries 6 – 8 penalty points as well as a substantial fine.
If however you can demonstrate that the person concerned was insured then you will have a defence. You can additionally argue that the burden of proving that the person wasn’t insured lies with the prosecution.
When you receive an NIP it is always best to tell the truth because there is a very real risk of digging a deep hole for yourself if you don’t.
If I purchase a pack of letters online guaranteed to get me off a speeding offence they will be successful. The police won’t take any action against me.
You need to know that the police have seen all these letters many times before. These letters are sold in bulk and as such are pro-forma’s which won’t be totally applicable to your case in every instance.
If the police believe that you are trying to pervert the course of justice then you could get your self into real trouble, so be very careful that you do not attempt to mislead them with your response to your notice of intended prosecution.
We would advise against trying to use those letters. They have not been created by legal professionals and if they do not contain the specific details of your case then you could easily find yourself facing a prison sentence.
I already have 9 points on my licence. I am going to get my partner to take the points for my latest speeding offence. The police have better things to do than investigate me.
Often, the police will look into any case where a third party has been identified as the driver. If you are already close a totting up ban then alarm bells will start to ring and this is when the police will investigate further.
In 2013 MP Chris Huhne was imprisoned for falsely nominating his wife as the driver, and in 2019 MP Fiona Onasanya was jailed for perverting the course of justice when she falsely nominated a lodger as the driver of her car
It is a dangerous path to tread, and we strongly advise you not to do it. Stick to the truth.
If you speak to us about your case we can advise you of the legitimate ways we can defend your allegations and can advise whether you would be able to use an exceptional hardship argument.
We currently have a 85% success rate mounting exceptional hardship arguments and are always willing to look at your circumstances and advise you on the likelihood of a positive outcome.
I wanted to thank you for all the good and diligent work you have done on my behalf. I am very pleased with the final outcome of my court case and most satisfied with the level of service you provided.
Dear Louise, I would like to express deep appreciation for all the work and effort you've put into my case and for ultimately getting me the decision that I wanted. Your professionalism, ease to communicate with, understanding of my problem and successful result are all testimony to your excellent legal services. I would recommend anybody with a Road Traffic Offence matter to your use your firm as they can be assured of an excellent and thorough service. Thanks again.
Having Googled for a solicitor who had expertise in the area of my alleged offence I found your firm and I have to say it I am so glad I contacted you. From the first phone call the attitude from your office was positive and informative. Once I instructed your firm officially I immediately felt that my case was at last being handled by someone who actually had an interest and knowledge and wanted to provide an exceptional service. All in all a positive experience. My thanks to all who had dealings with my case and especially to Louise for the expediency with which she dealt with the case saving me many sleepless nights. Very professional, honest from the outcome, didn't raise my hopes at getting case discharged at all. Very well done.
It is extremely rare to do a web search and stumble across a firm of any profession, and actually receive a first rate service, but that’s what’s happened in this instance. My hesitation was doubled by the fact they are located 200 miles away from me. From my initial contact through the web site, the call back was very, very fast, and the conversation put you in no doubt you were in safe hands. The contact with the secretaries was fast and efficient. The information from both the Principle Solicitor Emma Patterson and the Solicitor and Senior Case Progression Officer Louise Kippax was professional, useful, thorough and pragmatic. I wish more people in all professional services sector were as down to earth, and say it like it is! Overall, I would have no hesitation in recommending this firm. Thank you!
Great Response, Great Advice, Great Service and … Great Result – Thanks.