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Archive for September, 2015

What Is The Price of A Drink Driving Conviction?

What Is The Price of a Drink Driving Conviction? 

 

Most of us have seen the anti drink drive TV adverts they roll out every Christmas Season of the bartender playing the many parts – the boss, the motor trader, the defendant… but what about the actual cost.  The financial hidden cost? 

 

We are often contacted by people desperate to save their licence.  They say they need their licence to do their job, they need it to get their children to and from school and activities, or they need it to act as a carer for an elderly relative. None of these are reasons for the court not to disqualify you, nor to avoid a conviction. To do either of these there needs to be legal grounds. 

 

I was contacted last week by a gentleman who was convicted of Drink Driving back in 2012. He was disqualified from driving, he was offered and completed the Drink Drive Rehabilitation course, he had served his sentence, paid his fine, got his licence back and was doing his very best to move forward with his life. 

 

Then he received an email from his former Insurance Company. The Insurer who held the policy at the time of his arrest. 

 

You see for this particular gentlemen the incident that called him to the attention of the police was that he had an accident.  He had an accident, he was breathalysed at the scene and he was found to be over the limit. 

 

The conviction for Drink Driving meant that his Insurers did not need to pay out for the damage to his own vehicle but his understanding was that, under the terms and conditions of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and agreement between the Motor Insurers Bureau and Department of Transport that the third party claim would be honoured. What he failed to realise was that these provisions also allow the Insurer to pursue him for these costs. 

 

Last week he received an email requesting payment of almost £35,000. Yes, you read that correctly, almost £35,000. To break it down for you a little further they were seeking recovery of costs calculated as follows: 

 

* £10,000 Legal costs 

* £13,000 Uninsured losses 

* £2000 NHS Charges 

* £10,000 Damage and hire 

 

You may think this is excessive, that it must have been a massive accident with high value vehicles and significant personal injury – but this is not necessarily the case. The sums included in these matters add up very quickly. Imagine the injured party is off work for a couple of weeks, they need physio for a whiplash injury plus the initial consultation, maybe they are prescribed medication, they need to attend a couple of doctor’s appointments, possibly even attend the hospital for an x-ray.  Did they have child car seats in the vehicle?  These have to be replaced.

 

Everything adds up – and fast. 

 

At Forrest Williams we never advise a client that they should plead Not Guilty unless we believe they have grounds to do so. What we will do is assess the evidence against you. We will talk with you. We will listen to you. And then we will advise you as to what we believe is the best course of action for you and you alone – we do not have a one size fits all service – we offer bespoke advice for each individual client, taking all of your individual circumstances into account.  But we would always advise that the evidence against you is, at the very least, checked, because we understand just how serious – and expensive – a drink driving conviction can be.

 

If you are charged with an offence give our offices a call on 01623 600645 and we would be happy to talk with you about your situation and advise you further.

 

Can you afford not to?

Exceptional Hardship in Mansfield Magistrates Court

forrest williams solicitors - MTFC pitchside board @ 20x2.5ft

 

At Mansfield Magistrates’ Court this week, Etta Reynolds was delighted to avoid the automatic 6 month disqualification from driving that would have been the lawful consequence of her ‘totting up’ to 12 penalty points, had her Exceptional Hardship application not been successful.

 

She thanked Steve Williams, principal of Forrest Williams, and a leading criminal solicitor recognised in the prestigious Legal 500, and told him how the court’s recognition of her need to maintain her driving licence would mean that she could continue her work as a professional musician – a singer working in collaboration with a six piece band.

 

Etta had feared that a disqualification would impact not just on herself, but on all the people she worked with. She was well aware that the other band members relied on her not only to stand up front and lead their musical act, but also as one of only two possible drivers.

 

There was not, she explained to the court, the finances within the band’s earnings to pay for a driver, should she be disqualified. In addition, given the fickle nature of the profession she worked within, Etta knew that to not be involved in gigging for a period of 6 months would mean a great struggle to re-establish herself – if this was even possible.

 

There were also, Steve Williams explained to the court, personal reasons for Etta’s Exceptional Hardship application. Etta, a single parent with a young child, had child care and other costs to meet, which she would struggle to do if she was not earning.

 

In short, like so many of the clients who approach Forrest Williams for help, Etta’s main concerns were not for herself, but for those who would be adversely affected by her disqualification.

 

The court recognised these concerns and allowed Etta to keep her driving licence.

 

Another satisfied client who told us she would happily recommend us to other people – not least because of the level of support she had received throughout her case from her caseworker, Tracy Johnson, her advocate Steve Williams and all the friendly staff in the Forrest Williams office.  Exceptional Hardship in Mansfield Magistrates Court is our speciality – get the experts on side.

 

Forrest Williams are Mansfield’s only criminal law firm recognised in the prestigious Legal 500 rankings of leading law firm.  To get the local experts on your case, contact us now on 01623 600645.

Legal 500 image

 

Exceptional Hardship Solicitors at Mansfield Magistrates Court

Mansfield Exceptional Hardship Solicitors

 

Exceptional hardship applications for Nottingham are normally heard in Mansfield Magistrates.

 

They are so busy with them now that they have 2 days a week dedicated to motoring matters.

 

As Mansfield’s only specialist motoring solicitors we are in court most weeks for exceptional hardship applications.

 

If you reach 12 points then the court will have to disqualify you for 6 months unless you can show them that you or others will suffer from exceptional hardship.

 

Exceptional hardship is not defined by the court, it will often include loss of a job but this in itself is not enough. You will also have to show them that as a result of losing your job you will suffer more than normal hardship.

 

Can I do this myself?

 

You can but these cases are not easy. You will have to give evidence in support of your application, you will be cross examined by the prosecutor and you may be questioned by the court. You will have to make sure your application is water tight. We have seen many applications lost because someone said the wrong thing or did not explain the position properly.

 

Can’t I just get a local Legal Aid Solicitor to act for me?

 

You can, you won’t get Legal Aid, it is not available for this type of case. We know that a few local Legal Aid solicitors are now trying to move into motoring law as a result of Legal Aid cuts. We are the only specialist motoring law firm in Mansfield. No one has our experience in these matters. You will definitely get a cheaper job from the Legal Aid lawyers and if your only concern is price then we aren’t the firm for you. If your licence is important to you and you don’t want to risk it to a Legal Aid lawyer who will fit you in in between their druggy, shoplifting clients then we can show you the difference in our service. 

 

Are we worth our fees?

 

Well of course we are going to say yes but don’t just take our word for it. We have won awards for our client care, locally with the Mansfield 2020 Award Winners and Nationally. We have just been recommended by the Legal 500 criminal solicitors – the definitive guide to lawyers reputations. We were one of only 4 firms recommended in the whole of the East Midlands in our category – this covers from Lincoln, to Northampton including Nottingham, Derby and Leicester. We were the only firm in Mansfield recommended in this category.

 

But ultimately what you want to know is do we win?

 

Our principal Steve Williams has been appearing in Mansfield Magistrates Court doing these applications for 20 years…. He has never lost one yet! We want to maintain that record so we won’t just take on any case, we will give you a free assessment and if we believe you have a strong case we will take it on. 

 

We have a unique way of defending these matters, we have a 37 point checklist to ensure we build the strongest application. Your case will be prepared by one of our trained paralegals and will then be reviewed vigorously by one of their colleagues to pick holes in it. It will be refined constantly. Eventually when the team are happy with it they will present it to Steve Williams who will assess it for it’s strength and then talk to you about the case. He tries to do everyone of these cases personally and will meet with you at court to go through it face to face before the hearing. 

 

If your licence is important to you or your family then call us for a free, honest appraisal of your case.

 

CALL US 24 HOURS ON 01623 600645

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