ROAD TRAFFIC LAW
Many of us cannot imagine a situation where we will appear before the criminal courts. For most it is this country’s Road Traffic Law that brings us in to contact with the police and the criminal justice system. We regularly appear as Road Traffic Lawyers throughout Scotland’s courts for individuals, companies, and taxi drivers (See our specific section on Taxi Drivers below).
You may be accused of bad driving, or one of the numerous regulatory offences such as driving without insurance, driving without a valid license, failing to abide by traffic signs, speeding or driving whilst disqualified.
Whatever the offence, you will be all too aware that the accumulation of penalty points can lead to the loss of your driving licence, which in turn can have a serious effect on both your career and personal circumstances.
Whether you are accused of bad driving (ranging from failing to stop, careless driving to dangerous driving) or alcohol and/or drugs related offences (such as driving whilst unfit, driving with excess alcohol, or failing to supply a specimen for analysis), our lawyers can make the difference between you losing or keeping your driving licence.
We regularly appear in courts from Dumfries to Inverness, the length and breadth of the country and will provide you access to some of the country’s leading road traffic experts and investigators.
ROAD TRAFFIC LAW – CAN I AVOID A BAN?
In some cases, such as drink driving or death by dangerous driving, a driving ban is obligatory. However, for other offences, disqualification is discretionary and it is therefore possible to avoid a driving ban if the correct mitigation is presented to the Court.
Although, under the totting up procedure a driving ban is mandatory, the Court does in fact have discretion and a totting up ban can be avoided if the Court accept a submission of exceptional hardship. Before imposing any discretionary driving disqualification, the Court will allow the motorist the opportunity to plead for their driving licence. The Court will take into account the individual’s circumstances to include the circumstances of the offence and the effect a driving disqualification would have.
If the accused can show that having taken into account all of the information available, a driving ban would be an exceptionally harsh punishment, the Court can exercise discretion and allow the accused to keep their licence.
CAN I ESCAPE A BAN?
It is a common misconception that if an accused merely suggests that a driving ban would be a particularly harsh punishment, the Court will be lenient. In fact, the accused has to convince the Court that such a punishment would be exceptionally harsh, hence the term, exceptional hardship.
The obligation is upon the accused to show why a driving disqualification should not be imposed. This is not a straight forward task and is one for which a motorist should seek legal guidance from a lawyer.
There is no specific legal definition of Exceptional Hardship and it will vary according to the circumstances of the accused. However, in order to prevent the loss of a driving licence, the accused must show the implications and effect of a disqualification would go far beyond that which would normally be anticipated.
The Court will automatically assume that any suspension will result in hardship and will emphasise that that is the purpose of a disqualification. However, if it can be established that the implications would go far beyond that which would be reasonable, it is feasible that the Court would accept those circumstances as being “exceptional” and sufficient to justify a punishment other than a licence suspension.
We work closely with the taxi trade and regularly appear in the criminal courts for both road traffic offences as well as allegations of criminal offences. As a result we often appear at licensing boards across Scotland to defend both Hackney and Private Hire Taxi drivers who face having their licences and livelihoods threatened. You could be facing penalty points on your license, criminal charges over violent/fare dodging/drunken passengers, or the chance of losing your livelihood before the licensing board, whatever it is we can help.
If you are a taxi driver that believes that you have been wronged do not take the law into your own hands, pursue other options. If you find yourself in a difficult position call the Police if possible, drop off passengers outside their homes or places of work and note the address.
Some drivers still believe that non-payment of fares, or violence allows them to lock the doors and drive at speed to the local police station, but this usually results in often the same ‘drunken’ passengers screaming that they were kidnapped, making up bogus allegations and as a result the drivers facing serious charges as well as a loss of his livelihood.
The law is still far from satisfactory for taxi drivers which is why you need advice from lawyers who deal with both the criminal allegations and Road Traffic Law as well as the council’s licensing board. Whether you face three points on your license, disqualification or possible suspension/revocation of your taxi license by the council contact us.
We will provide reasonable fixed fee quotes, but it may be that your insurance policy which we can check on your behalf will allow us to represent you to no cost to yourself.