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Hello, I’m looking for some help please...

I was pulled over last night by the police at 11pm on the A303 in Somerset. They asked me to step inside their car and cautioned me as soon as I did so. They told me that they had tracked me travelling at 100mph for 0.2 miles and that the speed limit on that section of road was 60mph. They told me they would not be giving me a fixed pen notice but instead I would receive a court summons. I was breathalysed but recorded 0 on the reading.

I wasn’t aware that the car behind me was a police car as it was dark, I could only see their lights. The car was driving very close behind me while I was travelling at around 60mph, the road then opened up into a duel carriageway and I sped up to overtake a car in front of me, the car behind (the police) continued driving very close behind me and I continued to speed up. I thought it was some idiot driving too close to me. I then slowed back down to around 60mph when the road went back to single lane in each direction. I was then pulled over about 2 miles later. I do not believe however that I went as fast as 100mph, I felt I went to a max speed of around 90mph. It was late and the road was quiet.

 

The police told me that I would very likely lose me license for around 3-6 months. I am very stressed and worried about this. I am 29 years old and am self employed running my own company, I rely on my car for my work. I am often on the road late at night when there is no public transport. I do around 25,000 miles a year. I also do some driving for my mum who is on Disability Living Allowance, such as shopping for food for her etc. If I was to lose my license this would have a massive effect on my business, the last few months have already been very hard indeed and do not see how I could survive a loss of my license. I have been driving for 4 years and 2 months, I have a clean license and have never had any motoring offences.

 

So I have a few questions...

1. Do you believe I have a good case to argue that the loss of my license would cause exceptional hardship and therefore escape a ban?

 

2. The police gave me no paperwork on the spot, I was told I would receive something in the post, is this correct?

 

3. Will I be able to move the case to a local magistrate’s court? The police officers said the hearing would be in Yeovil, which is 91 miles from my home.

 

4. Would it be wise to seek professional legal help with the case?

 

5. Is there anything else I could try and argue other than the exceptional hardship submission?

 

If you've read this far thanks for taking the time to read it and I would be most grateful for any advice you can give.

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1. Being brief, on the basis of what you have posted there is the makings though not the substance of an exceptional hardship argument. In such cases you would have to demonstrate that those around you - immediate femaily members usually - are going to suffer, not you. Your business is a separate issue and if, as I suspect, the business is comprised only of you then this presents particular problems.

 

2. The only thing that you are now going to receive is a summons. This could arrive in as little as 3-5 weeks but is more likely to take 6-12 weeks.

 

3. As the offence was committed in Somerset then that is where the case will be heard. You will not be able to get the matter transferred. Yeovil MC has a particularly hard reputation and a half-baked case will be seen through.

 

4. A claim of exceptional hardship is the only thing that is likely to save you from a ban of some sort. The likely length of a ban is going to be something between 7 and 56 days - but at over the 100 mark that's likely to be closer to 56 than the 7. A solicitor is going to cost you a minimum of £500 and as there is a measure of complication (i.e. preparation work) the cost is far more likely to be closer to £1500 than the former.

 

If, however, you feel able to speak reasonably well on your behalf then there is nothing to stop you preparing your own case and conveying it as well as any solicitor. You must bear in mind that all round this exercise is going to be expensive and employing a solicitor to do something you could well do yourself will help keep the costs down. Besides, magistrates do tend to like a defendant who is willing to stand up in front of them an "take it like a man".

 

PS You have a pm.

Edited by Old Snowy
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Its about hardship to others not to you.

 

I thought where the hardship affected your own livelihood and, (as a direct consequence because you may not be able to work) your immediate family, this is taken into account by the court.

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hardship to others. the punishment is supposed to be a punishment. how the argument is made re hardship to others is dependant upon the case and circumstances. See the sentencing guidelines - "The aim is for the fine to have an equal impact on offenders with different financial circumstances; it should be a hardship but should not force the offender below a reasonable ‘subsistence’ level." and "The period of a totting up disqualification can be reduced or avoided for exceptional hardship or other mitigating circumstances. No account is to be taken of hardship that is not exceptional hardship or circumstances alleged to make the offence not serious. Any circumstances taken into account in the preceding three years to reduce or avoid a totting disqualification must be disregarded"

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Hey guys, cheers for the replies. So I'd be best off focusing on the fact I do driving for my mum who is on Disability Living Allowance and can't get around easily herself, than pushing the effect it will have on myself? Will they not take into account the fact that I've spent 5 years building up my own business and if I lose my license will probably lose it all and as a result not be able to pay my rent, bills etc? :?:

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effect on others for sure. any employees you would have to fire ? see the full version of the Magistrate's Sentencing Guidelines. a specialist solicitor can plead it better than you if you can find one and can afford it.

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I don't have any employees sadly, I use outside contractors a lot though. Sadly I wouldn't really be able to afford a solicitor as things have taken a real down turn the last few months and I'm already finding it hard, so paying for a solicitor isn't really an option, neither is losing my license though! It's a real mess :(

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Small point to consider, did the officer definately say they had followed you at 100mph for 0.2mls? I thought they still had to declare a followed speed over 3/10th of a mile? If so, you may find the actual details of the prosecution may "only" be for a speed of 90 odd mph, and as such a ban would be far less likely.

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Is there much hope of that working and would it really effect the outcome much?

 

Also, will the court ask me the reason I was speeding or will they not care for the reason.

 

There is rarely a good reason to be speeding so I doubt they will be interested.

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There are a couple of statutory reasons that can apply but nothing you have said indicates they apply to you, and it would probably take a talented specialist solicitor to argue them. Looks like like you fell for 'being pushed', the court will take the view that a prudent and careful driver would have slowed down and or pulled in. You are in ban territory so you need to prepare well for this if a ban is to be avoided. It can and has been done by drivers in the low hundreds.

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while waiting for the summons read up on newton hearings and scour the web for detailed accounts of people caught in the low three figures who managed to escape being banned. You may be lucky and just get a COFP if you passed the well known 'attitude test' when the police stopped you. The only way to to find out it see what arrives in the post. You can't change what they are going to send you so hope for a COFP but prepare for an appearance is the best advice I can give. A good appearance in court has saved licences at these speeds.

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Cheers for all your advice. What is a COFP? A friend of mine has warned me that its possible that the summons could end up being for not just speeding, but as a result of my speed could also be for dangerous driving which could see me banned for at least a year! Please tell me this isn't likely? Wouldn't the police have said something at the time? They did comment that the only issue with my driving and car was the speed I was traveling at.

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Cheers for all your advice. What is a COFP? A friend of mine has warned me that its possible that the summons could end up being for not just speeding, but as a result of my speed could also be for dangerous driving which could see me banned for at least a year! Please tell me this isn't likely? Wouldn't the police have said something at the time? They did comment that the only issue with my driving and car was the speed I was traveling at.

 

COFP - Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty. i.e. accept the fault and take the fine/points stated without going to court. There is a fixed level of fine/points for each offence so it isn't just down to the police to "decide" what to fine/points you for this offence.

 

I believe a charge of dangerous driving requires some level of evidence to demonstrate "dangerous", that is why that type of offence is often pursued as "careless" driving which doesn't require the same level of evidence to succeed.

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IMO if nothing else occurred other than the speeding itself, i.e. another car didn't have to swerve, slow down or stop, then it is unlikely the police would add a further charge. Otherwise, it would seem logical that every instance of speeding would have a secondary charge of careless driving added because, by it's nature, "speeding" can be perceived as careless driving on every occasion.

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In that case is it possible I will also find myself charged with careless driving on top of speeding?

 

There would normally have to be some other circumstances for that to happen - wet roads, raining, windy, lots of traffic, narrow roads, your overtake was iffy, pedestrians/horses/tractors/mud/cyclist on the route, etc.

 

Usually, if a careless driving charge was being considered by the reporting officers, he/she would have mentioned it [he/she doesn't HAVE to, but it would be the norm].

 

As food for thought, some years back I was done for 103 on the A1[M]. I was pinged by a VASCAR from a stationary solo motorcycle. I travelled to the magistrates court [some 100 miles away], taking a mate with me just in case I was to return without my licence. I appeared in person and pleaded 'guilty'.

 

When asked for my explaination, I went down the 'Although the road surface was dry, level & good and the visibility was very good, I was a complete wally/I am mortified/Never do it again' route, and threw in that 'I travelled some 150,000 miles a year for my job, and this had had a very sobering effect on me. I had wel & truly learned my lesson Your Worships, etc...'

 

I copped a £250 fine, 6 points & a posh bollocking from the Bench, but escaped a ban.

 

The guy before me had been caught at the same place, same speed, same officer. He appeared with a solicitor and, despite pleading guilty as well, he'd instructed his brief to argue the position of the officer & disputed the speed quoted. He copped a £150 fine & [i think?] 6 points, but was also hit with a 6 month ban.

 

Good luck.

If anything I say on this forum is construed as advice, it's probably worth almost as much as you paid me for it

 

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