March 2016 - Page 2 of 2 - Forrest Williams Archive - Forrest Williams - page 2 March 2016 - Page 2 of 2 - Forrest Williams

Freephone: 0800 1933 999
Mobile Freephone: 01623 397 200

Chat Online

Motoring Advice Blog

Archive for March, 2016

20 Month Drink Driving Ban For Reading of 94

20 Month Drink Driving Ban For Reading of 94


Following a hearing at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court this week, Donna Leighton told our Senior Solicitor, Steve Williams, that she was relieved about the outcome, after receiving a 20 month drink driving ban for reading of 94.


Donna was made aware when she instructed us that with her breath reading of 94, and no previous offences, the sentencing guidelines indicated her penalties would most probably be a community order (instead of a fine) and a disqualification within the range 23-28 months.


For Donna, a disqualification of around 2 years meant immediate dismissal from her job working at management level within the security industry, as travelling across the whole of the UK is a requirement of this role.


However, the seriousness of Donna’s third category offence was mitigated by Steve Williams’ explanation to the court of what had happened prior to Donna deciding to drive on the date in question. This backstory, in Donna’s case, was crucial in understanding why she had been summoned to appear in court for a drink driving offence – especially as she had been out drinking with friends that evening and travelled home by taxi afterwards. Donna truly had no intention to drive.


Steve explained to the court that Donna, a single parent with two young children, had been – for many years – a victim of domestic violence. Her abuser was also the father of her children, so avoiding ongoing contact was not practical. The violence against her had been so great that her ex-partner had been imprisoned for assault. An injunction had also been taken out against him in the recent past.


On the date in question, Donna had arrived home alone by taxi, gone into her house and immediately taken a telephone call. It was her violent ex-partner, telling her he knew where she had been, and with whom, and that he was on his way to her house.


Under the influence of alcohol, and frightened by the threat, Donna grabbed her car keys and left the house. She was stopped by police midway between her house and that of her friend, who she was going to for help.


Although Donna could have called the police, she told her case worker that she had been reluctant to do this as they had already been called to her property many times, and knew her situation and her ex-partner very well. She told us she felt ashamed of having to keep calling the police out, and that she wanted to just escape from the situation.


Unfortunately, the manner of her driving brought her to the attention of the police and she was pulled over, breathalysed and subsequently charged with the drink driving offence.


The fact that her situation was not technically an emergency meant that a ‘special reasons’ argument would be difficult, and was a fight that Donna did not have the strength for.  She wanted to plead guilty and attempt to do some damage limitation, to come away with a ban under two years. 


Donna pleaded guilty, with mitigation. She was disqualified for a period of 20 months and offered a place on the drink drive rehabilitation course, which will reduce her disqualification period by 25% on completion. She was also fined, so a community order was avoided. The court clearly took account of the mitigating factors in her case and sentenced her accordingly.


Donna thanked Steve Williams, and her case worker, for all their help in achieving the best possible outcome for her. We hope she can now start to move forward with her life and wish her – and her children – all the best for the future.


Last Minute Legal Help For A Case Today

Julia Coffin of Forrest Williams


Last Minute Legal Help For A Case Today


We had a call last week from a gentleman who rang for some free initial advice regarding his motoring matter. He told me a story about an accident he’d had at speed on a dual carriageway.  He was due to appear before magistrates in relation to a charge of Driving Without Due Care and Attention.


In 90 minutes time.


He needed last minute legal help.


As the story unravelled it became apparent that not only was his court hearing in 90 minutes time, it wasn’t the first hearing, he had pleaded guilty by post at an earlier hearing and he was due to be sentenced.


I listened to his story and determined that he had two courses of action available to him – I could write him a letter of mitigation to take into the court with him to be taken into consideration by the magistrates during sentencing, or I could arrange for a Barrister to represent him at the hearing and present the mitigation in person. I explained to the caller that the manner of his driving could be considered as bordering on dangerous and therefore he was at real risk of being disqualified for this offence.


The caller was a professional man, embarrassed at having left it so late to do something about it, and also intimidated at the thought of attending court alone for the first time.  He had never been in trouble with the law before and had been burying his head in the sand, refusing to face it. He was terrified of the possibility of being disqualified from driving as he relied on his driving licence to carry out his business as a self-employed Health & Safety Advisor.


He instructed us to send a barrister and then the race was on.  We contacted the court and persuaded them to push the hearing back a couple of hours to give us some breathing space, and then managed to secure one of our barristers to attend the hearing with this new client.


We were able to avoid a driving ban for our client by persuading the magistrates to deal with the case by way of penalty points. 


Our client was massively relieved to have kept his driving licence, and the Forrest Williams team were delighted to have been able to help this client at such short notice.


If you are due to appear before court for any offence, don’t bury your head in the sand, talk to us and see how we can help. You will save yourself a lot of stress by talking to us early, we can literally help prevent sleepless nights.  But if you do need last minute legal help, it’s never too late. 


100mph in a 70mph – Driver Avoids Totting Up Ban


Mansfield Magistrates Court

Mansfield Magistrates Court


Two Charges Of 100mph in a 70mph – Driver Avoids Totting Up Ban


In Mansfield Magistrates’ Court this week, Maggie Renshaw was delighted to avoid a 6 month disqualification via the ‘totting up’ of points as a result of her two speeding offences, which were both in the third (most serious) category, so potentially each carrying 6 penalty points.


When she first approached us, Maggie told her case worker, Tracy Johnson, that she had been caught by speed cameras twice on the same day – firstly on her way to a family member’s wedding, and then again on her way back home.


Her two speeding offences were very similar – both just over 100mph in a 70mph limit.


Maggie told us that she could not explain why she had been speeding, but that she would be more mindful of her speed in the future. Luckily for her, there had been fewer aggravating factors than in some cases, for example she had been alone in her car, the traffic conditions were good and the weather was dry with good visibility on the road in question.


Maggie’s case worker made her aware that, although she held a clean driving licence at the time of the two speeding offences, if the court awarded 6 points for each speeding offence she would automatically fall to be disqualified for a period of 6 months unless she could conduct a successful Exceptional Hardship application.


Once she had instructed us to act for her, her case worker liaised closely with Maggie to bring together a fully prepared case for the court hearing. The preparation was detailed and took into account the work that Maggie did as Managing Director of an insurance company based in London. It also focused on the fact that Maggie’s partner was not a confident driver, so could not act as driver for her during a disqualification period.


However, once Steve Williams met with Maggie at court and they discussed her case, Steve decided to try and persuade the court to award points for one of the speeding offences and a short disqualification for the other, in order to try and avoid a ‘totting up’ situation. The fact that Maggie had maintained a clean driving licence up to this point meant that 6 points could be endorsed onto her licence without jeopardising her ability to drive.


The magistrates listened to Steve’s mitigation and went along with his suggestion. For the first speeding offence, they disqualified Maggie from driving for 14 days. For the second speeding offence, they imposed 6 points.


Maggie was understandably delighted with this outcome. She told Steve she can work around a short disqualification and then continue with her life as normal. She thanked everyone at the Forrest Williams office for supporting her through this stressful process, and for taking into account her personal circumstances when working out how best to represent her interests in the court room. 


If you need help for a motoring offence, call our specialist team now on 01623 397200.


Awards - Frames + Chad Winner 2015 - Medium - 1000 x 313 (No Scaling Nee


Forrest Williams TV