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£800 fine and 6 points - statutory declaration tomorrow


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Hi

 

 

This is my first post as I am really at a loss.

 

 

 

In February my boyfriend got caught twice within 2 weeks speeding, once 36 in a 30 and then 42 in a 30. He had recently started a new job on the other side of the city so wasn’t great with timings, not an excuse but still.

The owner of his car (his mum) received the letters regarding naming the driver which my boyfriend filled in and sent back. This was in March.

 

 

 

Then in mid-July he received a letterlink3.gif from the magistrates court saying he had an £846 fine and 6 points (!!!) but he didn’t read the letter correctly and assumed for some reason this was his speeding fine. He organised to pay it with a payment plan but didn’t actually make the first payment as in the mean time I saw the letter and realised it was actually a fine for not providing his information.

 

 

 

So I rang the council and after getting passed from pillar to post (3 magistrates court and the police) they finally revealed that the case had been tried in his absence because he’d never replied to a letter sent to him in the mean time. He never received any letter apart from the initial letter where he was named as the driver.

 

I organised for him to do a statutory declaration in the magistrates court so the case and the fine has been put on hold until then however what is the likelihood of this being successful?

He has no other points on his licence in case you were wondering.

 

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Edited by honeybee13
Paras
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Something is not quite right (or I may have missed something)

 

The owner of his car (his mum) received the letters regarding naming the driver which my boyfriend filled in and sent back.

 

Firstly, assuming his mum is the Registered Keeper as well as the owner the notice would have been addressed to her. It says in big bold letters at the top "Do not pass this to anybody else to complete" (or words to that effect, it varies slightly by area). Therefore, if the response was not received the "Failure to Provide Driver's Details" matter would be visited on his mum, not your bf. How did they find out his details if they did not receive the reply?

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Something is not quite right (or I may have missed something)

 

 

 

Firstly, assuming his mum is the Registered Keeper as well as the owner the notice would have been addressed to her. It says in big bold letters at the top "Do not pass this to anybody else to complete" (or words to that effect, it varies slightly by area). Therefore, if the response was not received the "Failure to Provide Driver's Details" matter would be visited on his mum, not your bf. How did they find out his details if they did not receive the reply?

 

This is what I don’t understand, when I’ve enquiries for more information they say it refers to a second letter that he did not respond to confirm he was the driver but if he hasn’t have replied to that letter would the issue still not be addressed to his mum?

I’ve never had a speeding fine before so don’t know the usual protocol however I have gathered that they get the first letter to the owner of the vehicle, then a letter to the driver as a response from the first letter then either a letter to invite you to submit a guilty plea if they decide to take it to court or an invitation to speed awareness course.

Trying to get information on this has been extremely difficult as the issue in question that courts are now concerned with is the charge of not supplying information and not the original driving offence so we don’t even know which offence he is being charged for (first or second speeding violation) I feel they are making it as difficult as possible to make him pay the fine when he will definitely not be paying this penalty for letters that he never received.

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...when I’ve enquiries for more information they say it refers to a second letter that he did not respond to confirm he was the driver

 

Ah, now it's clearer. So Mum received a request for driver's details (known as a "Section 172 Notice" after the section of the Road Traffic Act that provides for it). That notice was responded to (Mum should have completed it, not your bf. Mum is lucky to not face a S172 offence herself, but no matter). The police then sent a second S172 notice to your bf and this is the one to which they received no response. So:

 

...but if he hasn’t have replied to that letter would the issue still not be addressed to his mum?

 

No. once he has been nominated by Mum she has discharged her responsibility under S172 and the responsibility now becomes your boyfriend's. If a response to this second letter was not received it is your bf who will be charged under S172.

 

Now to the solution. When he appears at the Magistrates Court to do his Statutory Declaration (SD) there is no question of it being successful or otherwise. All he is doing is making a declaration that he knew nothing of the court proceedings where he was convicted. His declaration will be confirmed by the Court and when that is done, his conviction is erased as if it never happened. What happens next is up to the prosecutor.

 

In some areas when SDs are made the charges are put to the defendant there and then and he is asked to plead. If that happens and the S172 charge is put to him again he should plead Not Guilty. If both speeding and the S172 offence is put to him he should say that he will plead guilty to speeding providing (and only providing) the S172 charge is dropped. If that is refused he should plead Not Guilty to both charges. If that happens post it on here and I'll tell you how he should proceed.

 

In other areas the SD is simply accepted and the prosecution will re-issue proceedings against him at a later date and they may "dual charge" him with both speeding and S172. Once again, if that happens post it here. The important point (in either scenario) is that he should not, under any circumstances, plead guilty to speeding without an assurance that the S172 charge will be dropped. They have no evidence that he was driving, so cannot convict him of speeding. If he pleads guilty to it he will get three points for that and the S172 charge will see a further six.

 

This is a common situation and courts are well used to dealing with it. But unless he deals with it as I have said he could end up with nine points.

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The police then sent a second S172 notice to your bf and this is the one to which they received no response.

 

Would the second s172 notice have related to the second speeding offence? ie there will be separate s172 for each speeding offence and the information on who the driver was for one of the offences doesn't automatically get carried over to the second offence?

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Would the second s172 notice have related to the second speeding offence?

 

I read it that only one speeding offence is in play at present. If Mum received a S172 notice for the second offence and either she or bf responded to it a second S172 letter would have been sent to bf for that offence. It does not seem that that offence has been actioned. The usual penalty for a S172 conviction heard in the absence of the defendant id £811 (£660 fine, £66 Victim Surcharge and £85 costs).

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Hi,

So to update you all.

We have just been to the magistrates.

They accepted his statutory declaration at Sefton magistrates and he pleas not guilty to not providing his information however they said as the original charge was issued by Wirral magistrates they have issued him with a date where he will have to go to Wirral magistrates court where he will also have to issue his plea on the 3rd September.

 

Is this usual protocol? As I said neither of us have ever had to do this before and have clean licenses.

What will happen at Wirral magistrates?

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Is this usual protocol?

 

Yes. It's more usual than not for the matter to be referred back to the original court.

 

What he needs to do now is attend Wirral on 3rd September. Hopefully he will face two charges: speeding and failing to provide driver's details (S172). If that is the case he needs to speak to the prosecutor before the court begins. He should firstly ensure that he faces both offences and if so he should offer to plead guilty to speeding providing the S172 charge is dropped. This is a very common procedure which prosecutors and the courts deal with regularly and it is very rare for such a "deal" to be refused.

 

There may be a complication or two which he should be ready for:

 

Firstly he may not face the speeding charge but just the S172. If so he should ask the prosecutor if he can raise the speeding charge on the day (and then do the deal I outlined above). This may be a little tricky because by 3rd September the speeding matter will be "out of time". Court proceedings have to begin within six months of the offence (so by the appropriate date in August). This is not insurmountable as "out of time" proceedings can be raised with the court's agreement. (The six month provision is primarily designed to protect those accused).

 

Secondly, the prosecutor may either refuse to raise an out-of-time speeding charge or (which would be most unusual) refuse the deal.. If this happens your bf has two choices. He can either plead guilty to the S172 charge. This will see him pay a fine of a week's net income, a surcharge of 10% of the fine and £85 costs. Most importantly he will receive six points and an endorsement code (MS90) that will see a considerable increase in his insurance premiums for up to five years. The alternative is to plead not guilty to the charge (on the basis that he did not receive the request for driver's details). He faces an uphill struggle because notices requesting driver's details are deemed to have been served two working days after posting. The prosecution will provide proof that it was posted and your bf will have to convince the court that it did not arrive (always difficult to prove a negative). He can if he wishes defer the matter to have a think about a possible defence by pleading not guilty. This will see the matter adjourned for a trial (which will be some weeks or even months in the future). He will possibly lose a small amount of discount on his fine if he does this but it will give him breathing space to decide what to do.

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I am just wondering the likelihood of this deal being offered.

Also if they don’t offer the deal, won’t the fact that one court has accepted he never received the letters because of the statutory declaration be enough proof or does it not work like that?

 

Also, I feel I should mention.

In the time since we began proceedings for this case,

my boyfriend has since received another charge for failing to provide information.

 

Seemingly the exact same thing that they received the initial nomination and nothing else.

 

Once again we never received any further letters.

At this point, we are at a complete loss.

He has pleaded not guilty on very basic advice from a lawyer friend as he can’t plead guilty to something he wasn’t aware of.

 

However even he see’s now proving this is completely impossible.

I assume no court will accept that someone just isn’t receiving their mail as he does receive other things.

 

All we can think is his mum usually gets to the post before him,

we know she’s had a habit of ignoring what looks like her bills and there is sometimes letters that keeps with her things left unopened/thrown away but she assures us that’s only her post. Other than this, I cannot see how post is just not making its way to the house.

 

I have called the magistrates court as he never heard anything back after his not guilty plea and was told that this is being heard in court on Friday but we cannot attend?

 

They will simply make a judgment and then we can expect a letter with a court date following this, the man on the phone also said we can call after 3rd September to find out the date in order to avoid anymore issues with not receiving mail.

 

Please advise on any possible course of action we can take.

My boyfriend relies on his car to get to work as he works across the city doing shift work that can see him starting/ finishing at 6am based on that weeks pattern.

 

He has been driving for 8 years and has a clear record up to now, should we be thinking of bringing in a solicitor?

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This is getting a little complex and (unsurprisingly) you are getting a little confused.

 

Let’s stick to the first allegation only for the moment. Your bf making his Statutory Declaration (SD) has no bearing on the proceedings when they are started again. All the Magistrates are doing when they hear his SD is to witness his undertaking that he knew nothing of the earlier proceedings when he was convicted. They are not accepting or confirming that he was guilty or not guilty of anything, only that he swore before them that he did not know about the proceedings. (Simply being unaware of the proceedings does not make him guilty or innocent of anything). There is no decision for them to make. They cannot refuse to accept his Declaration. The court simply provides confirmation that he has made it in the approved manner.

 

You need to find out what the hearing on Friday is supposed to be about. The only hearings he cannot attend are “Single Justice” (SJ) hearings where a Magistrate sits alone in an office with a Legal Advisor. But SJ hearings do not deal with Not Guilty pleas so you need to establish why there is to be a hearing. It may be what is known as a “Case Management” hearing. If so he is entitled to attend and state the basis of his Not Guilty plea.

 

The deal I spoke of is rarely, if ever declined by the prosecution (provided the issue of an “out-of-time” speeding charge can be resolved). They would far prefer to deal with a guilty plea to speeding (which they cannot achieve without your bf’s co-operation) than run to a trial on S172. But your bf needs to get to a court where his case is being heard to do such a deal. If the worst comes to the worst he has the option of maintaining his Not Guilty plea to S172. At trial he must convince the court that he did not receive the subsequent notice but, as you say, it will be an uphill struggle bearing in mind that now two original notices and the subsequent court notification have been received.

 

The second allegation will have to follow very much the pattern of the first though you say at this stage it is only a “charge” and he has not been convicted in his absence. If that is the case he should attend his first hearing and negotiate the deal.

 

If he is not confident of doing all this successfully (and it will very much mean that he has to keep on top of two lots of proceedings and their hearings) it may be worth discussing this with a solicitor. There isn’t anything particularly complex (for a solicitor) about this but it may cost him a tidy sum if he is to be represented in court. What he must avoid, though, is two S172 convictions. They each carry six points which means he will face a “totting up” ban of six months unless he can show that “Exceptional Hardship” will follow if he is banned. Citizens’ Advice may be able to put you in touch with a solicitor who will provide an initial consultation for a reasonable fee.

But first things first – you need to find out what Friday’s hearing is all about.

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Hi all,

Just thought I’d let you know what happened.

 

When we got to the magistrates the legal advisor offered my boyfriend the deal upfront when he heard what had happened with the case and that he’d done a stat dec.

 

The LA then asked what letters he’d received etc, when my boyfriend told them all he’d got was the orgiginal letter to his mum and then the letter with the charge and points, the LA told the magistrates that this sounded like the case they’d heard prior as well as other cases they’d heard that morning, he then suggested it be taken back to a fixed penalty because of no totting up and the speed he was going.

 

He ended up being issued with £40 fixed penalty, £30 court costs and £30 victim surcharge and given 3 points.

 

Seems like best case scenario, now alls he’s got to do is deal with the other fine and everything’s seemingly sorted.

Thanks for all the advice.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello all,

Following on from the previous offence,

the second offence my boyfriend was charged with 1 day later (the exact same thing, failing to provide information) has now gone to court.

 

To me this all seems a bit fishy if I’m honest,

both responses were sent to the initial identification letter,

he heard nothing back and was then charged for 2 offences with both charges being filed within a day of each other for speeding offences that took place nearly a month apart?

Very bizarre.

 

However as you can see the outcome of the first charge was seemingly quite positive for the situation.

 

The second charge I think is going to be a lot more tricky.

The difference being with the first one he didn’t hear anything about it until he was charged in his absence and received a letter detailing a fine and points.

 

The second charge however was sent to him before it went to court therefore he entered a not guilty plea,

with relevant information as to why.

 

This was then heard in an administrative court that we were told we were unable to attend.

 

Last week he received a letter titles ‘Summons on Referral to Court’.

 

The letter says a magistrate has decided this case should be referred to a full court hearing.

 

On the reverse of the document it says

 

‘ your case was considered under the single justice procedure,

however owing to the reasons given your case has now been referred to a full magistrates court hearing.’

 

It then says under the heading For Trial that the magistrates will receive either written or spoken evidence and witnesses must be brought who can be called to give evidence.

 

Now to me this doesn’t seem great and seems a lot more serious.

 

Should we be considering getting legal representation?

 

I was able to handle the last issue with the helpful advice given on this forum but I don’t know how confident I will be doing this in a full magistrates court.

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It's exactly the same as the first one.

 

Cases are initially heard under the "Single Justice Procedure". This is in effect an "Administrative" court as described. A single Magistrates sits with a legal advisor in an office and deals with matters on paperes alone. Defendants cannot attend. Your b/f's Not Guilty plea will see the matter taken out of that process (the SJ procedure cannot deal with Not Guilty pleas) and referred to a normal court.

 

The difference is that in the first case (if I recall correctly without reading it all through) your b/f was found guilty in his absence. This time he has had the opportunity to enter a plea.

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Right okay, unaware of that as didn’t have to go through this process for the first offence.

Would you suggest a solicitor for this?

 

As if he gets found guilty could lead to 6 points and another large fine I assume as in the case of the original charge.

 

Also would he still be able to be charged with the initial speeding offence even thought it is past the 6 months limit under special circumstances.

 

Very aware that if that is the case, if the points are totted up with his existing 3 points it could lead to him losing his license.

Edited by honeybee13
Paras
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Also would he still be able to be charged with the initial speeding offence even thought it is past the 6 months limit under special circumstances.

Has he not been "dual charged" (i.e. charged with both offences) this time? What does the paperwork say? Could you provide a quick timeline (of just the second offence) starting with the date of the initial speeding offence and going up to the paperwork he has received recently.

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He hasn’t been dual charged, only charged with one offence of failing to provide information.

 

3rd February: caught on speeding camera going 36 in a 30mph

Roughly week later: sent letter asking for information of driver

End of February: letter returned with my boyfriends information

3rd August: received letter dated 31st July of charges filed on 1st June of failing to provide information

5th August: filed not guilty plea online

 

Heard nothing so called on 23rd August to see what was happening, told plea would be reviewed in administrative court on 31st August.

 

15th September: receives letter dated 12th september of Summons on Referral to Court.

 

 

That’s a summary of everything to do with this particular charge, been dragged over nearly 8 months at this point, so extremely keen to get this over and done with.

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Then he needs to attend court as in the first offence and offer to do the same "deal" (plead guilty to speeding only provided the FtF allegation is dropped). Although the speeding allegation has not been charged it can be raised "out of time" with the court's agreement. (The six month rule is primarily to protect defendants so they are usually agreeable to this).

 

That is "Plan A" which should see success as before. If it does not he should maintain a Not Guilty plea to the S172 allegation and the matter will be listed for trial at a later date. He can then consider his position regarding defending that charge.

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