How Do I Contest a Careless Driving Ticket?

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How Do I Contest a Careless Driving Ticket?

Receiving a careless driving prosecution notice can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, but there may be ways for you to reduce any penalties you may be facing. Contesting a careless driving ticket is possible in many cases, but may depend on the severity of your offence and the circumstances that caused it.

In this article, the motoring law experts at JMW Solicitors will provide an overview of how to contest a careless driving ticket, including the steps leading up to court proceedings.

What is a careless driving offence?

Careless driving is an umbrella term for a number of illegal actions that a driver can make on the road. To be considered as careless driving, the actions must have the potential to be dangerous and cause accidents. While most motoring offences fall under this description, those categorised as careless are typically considered so based on the situation under which they occurred.

The following are examples of careless driving offences that JMW has frequently dealt with:

  • Lane hogging
  • Handbrake turns
  • Tailgating
  • Eating/drinking while driving
  • Operating a sat nav while driving
  • Driving too fast
  • Undertaking
  • Overtaking and forcing other vehicles to brake
  • Ignoring road signs
  • Driving through a red light
  • Using a mobile phone while driving

A person who is convicted of any of these offences can face penalties such as points on their licence, an unlimited fine, or disqualification from driving for a certain period of time.The severity of their penalties will either be decided by a police officer or by the court.

Drivers are notified of their prosecution in a number of ways - a fixed penalty notice given by a police officer, or notified by the court with a Single Justice Procedure Notice (SJPN), Court Summons or Postal Requisition. The way in which you are notified of your careless driving prosecution will depend on the unique circumstances of your offence, such as whether the incident was caught on camera or if you were pulled over by a police officer.

How are careless driving offences assessed by the police?

In order to determine whether an individual has committed a careless driving offence or not, the police must assess the circumstances surrounding the incident at hand. The police will use video footage, photos, witness statements and accounts from officers to determine these circumstances. This includes taking into account factors such as:

  • Speed limit violations
  • Weather conditions
  • Visibility at the time of the offence
  • Number of vehicles on the road
  • Condition of your vehicle
  • Whether you were distracted by an electronic device
  • If there were any passengers in your car
  • How close you were travelling to other vehicles
  • Whether any pedestrians were present at the scene

The seriousness with which careless driving will be treated will depend heavily on all these factors and more. For example, if someone is caught speeding excessively, this will warrant a harsher punishment than if they simply failed to observe traffic signs at one junction. Therefore, it is important for drivers to understand exactly what constitutes a careless driving offence so that they can avoid running into legal trouble down the line.

Common defences used when contesting a careless driving ticket

Careless driving incidents are often caused due to circumstances that cause the driver to make split-second or bad decisions. If the reasons for your offence were unusual and you are normally a responsible driver, you may be confused and struggle to know what to do.

The following points are defences that are commonly used to counter careless driving accusations:

  • Mechanical defect
  • There was a medical emergency
  • You were in danger, and driving carelessly was the only way to avoid it

How to contest a careless driving prosecution

When you receive notice of your prosecution, you should act differently depending on how you were informed and what your charges are. If your penalty is more minor, i.e. a lower fine and a small number of points on your licence, you may want to consider simply paying your fine and accepting the points. Contesting motoring offences is a complex process that can take a long time to resolve, and if you are unsuccessful in your claim, you may end up with a more severe penalty and substantial cost implications. Regardless of what you choose to do, you should consult a solicitor first.

If you received a fixed penalty notice, you will be expected to respond to it by either accepting the charges or disputing them. You can do this by filling out the correct side of the notice and returning it. Disputing your charges will require you to attend a court hearing and make your defence, which you should not do without the help of a legal professional. Similarly, if you have received court summons, your notice will contain a court date that you will be expected to attend, otherwise you will face more severe consequences.

You should contact our team as soon as possible so we can begin working on your defence. We will hold a free initial consultation with you to understand your situation and explain whether we can help you, how we will do so and what your chances of success are. We will then begin to gather evidence that supports your case. This may be medical reports or communications from doctors or someone in need if your defence is based on a medical emergency. In addition, it may be from a forensic expert on collisions.

When it comes time for court proceedings, we will represent you in court and present your evidence to support the argument as to why you should not receive your intended prosecution at all or have your penalty reduced.

If we are successful, you may still receive some sort of penalty. In some cases, the court will allow you to take an educational training course and reduce your penalty in turn. You will be expected to attend all of the course sessions, and missing any could result in your original prosecution being enacted.

If you have received communications that you are being prosecuted for careless driving, you should contact us immediately for advice and we will support you all the way through your prosecution. Call us today on 0800 804 8159, or fill out an online contact form and we will return your call at a time convenient for you.

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