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Motoring Advice Blog

Archive for May, 2016

Motoring Offence: Is Legal Representation Needed?

Kirsty Day of Forrest Williams


I’ve had a few calls before where the client asks: “is it really worth having legal representation for a motoring offence?”


My answer to that is simple: Yes


Not long ago Tom called into the office for some initial advice. He’d been caught for speeding – over 100mph on the motorway.  He also had 9 points on his licence.


His conversation to me was “I’ve already got 9 points on my licence so the courts are obviously going to ban me, is it worth having someone represent me just to end up getting the same outcome?”


The speed Tom was charged with meant he would either face a short disqualification or a further 4-6 points on his licence which would make him fall to be disqualified for 6 months under the “totting up” procedure should he not be able to conduct a successful Exceptional Hardship application.


He was desperate for the short disqualification so he could keep his licence and in turn his job. He instructed us to mitigate for the ban rather than the points, but that didn’t stop me from fully preparing an Exceptional Hardship application should the disqualification not be imposed by the Magistrates at his hearing.


I took a full statement outlining his mitigating circumstances and guided him through full case preparation for Exceptional Hardship just in case. Tom was so grateful that I’d been proactive enough to think about what might happen should he not get his favourable outcome in court.


I hand-picked one of our fully experienced motoring offence barristers for the hearing and provided her with the full case details and prepared documents.


The full mitigating statement and supporting documents secured Tom his desired short disqualification from the Magistrates. He was delighted with the effort both myself and his barrister had put into his case. His feedback was:


Hi Kirsty, I just wanted to write a quick note of thanks regarding your help towards my case. Whilst I did receive a ban I feel this was the best result under the circumstances and my barrister read the magistrates well as to what they were going to dish out as a punishment and she felt that trying for an EH claim would have not gone our way so we went for the lesser of two evils. I hope (in a nice way) that I don’t need your services again in the future but if anyone else comes into similar circumstances I will certainly point them in your direction.


At Forrest Williams we always go above and beyond for our motoring offence clients. It was obvious to Tom that instructing us to represent him for his speeding matter was “worth it”. We would do the same for any one of our clients.


If you have a motoring offence you’d like representation for, please do not hesitate to contact the team on 01623 397200.


118mph in a 70mph and No Ban

Jess Sadler, paralegal at Forrest Williams solicitors


Billy came to us facing a charge of speeding at 118mph in a 70mph. For most people a simple speeding offence is something they get annoyed about, but ultimately apart from their insurance premium increasing, they can carry on with their normal lives.


This was not the case for Billy.


For Billy it could potentially make him lose his insurance, lose his business, make him move house, and have drastic consequences for his disabled father.


Billy had a clean licence. He was a careful and competent driver until one day where he was rushed off his feet; he had to make a run in the morning to pick up parts for his business, and then he had a medical appointment in the afternoon.


Billy co-owned a garage when the offence happened. His business partner didn’t take an active role in the garage and so everything was ultimately left down to Billy.


Billy was the only person in the garage who had trade insurance to drive customer’s vehicles, so he was responsible for a lot of the day to day work.


He had managed to pick up the parts in the morning, but it meant him running late for his medical appointment. Billy was distracted by this; and was caught speeding at 118mph in a 70mph.


Billy contacted Forrest Williams as soon as he received his Notice of Intended Prosecution for this offence. He was so worried.


We explained to him that his speed was actually  so fast it was off the Magistrates Sentencing Guidelines. The Court was going to take this offence very seriously.


For Billy’s speed of 118mph in a 70mph, he was facing a disqualification upwards of 8 weeks.


This news devastated Billy. If he was disqualified for any amount of time then his Insurance Company would no longer insure him, meaning that no-one could drive the customer’s cars and ultimately forcing the company to close because it just would not be able to function.


We started preparing Billy’s case as soon as we were instructed. We need to make sure that Billy had the best chance of being able to keep his licence.


We had countless phone calls with Billy discussing his business, how his garage employed 4 employees who would all become unemployed if he lost his licence. His case was fully prepared on the business side of things.


But we wanted more.


We dove deeper into Billy’s personal life to try and gather different aspects to why he needed to keep his licence.


His father had recently become disabled. He needed help climbing the stairs, getting dressed, just doing the day to day stuff.


Billy moved in with his Mother and Father to help care for his Dad. His Mum tried but she was too weak to physically support him.


Not only that, his Dad relied on Billy to drive him to weekly hospital appointments.  Nobody else could do this. If Billy lost his licence then his Dad would have to get Taxis.


We spoke in depth with Billy about the support he provided. We obtained medical records to show to the court as evidence, and most importantly we obtained a letter from his Dad to show how much he relied on his son.


The day of the hearing came.


We had done everything we had this end to prepare the strongest possible case for Billy, but now we had to hand over to one of our Specialist Motoring Barristers to present the case on Billy’s behalf.


His barrister had been fully briefed on Billy’s case and knew it inside out.  She was armed with all of our prep and now needed to persuade the Magistrates to sentence Billy by way of penalty points rather than a disqualification.


Four hours later I received a call from the barrister. It was successful. Billy had avoided a disqualification and been sentenced to 6 points and a fine.


He was over the moon.


He kept his licence despite admitting driving at 118mph in a 70mph. His business was safe. He could still care for his father.


He could effectively carry on with his life, and could put the past few months behind him. 


If you are facing a motoring charge, call our expert team on 01623 397200. 


specialist motoring solicitors in Mansfield

Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving

Helen Newman of Forrest Williams


Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving
by Helen Newman


At Forrest Williams we like to do a little case study after each file is closed, we know that potential clients like to know about real life cases that we have dealt with before.  We are often asked to provide references, which, unfortunately we cannot do (confidentiality reasons) so this is the closest we can come, along with the anonymous references and feedback we receive.


This is a case study I’ve been putting off writing, it was a hard case and one I got very close to.  I have been working as a paralegal for just over 4 years during which time I have come to appreciate how very true the comment “no two cases are alike” is, but this one was new to me.


You see in this case the client knew he was going to prison, for several years.  His family knew he was going to prison.  He was accepting of this fact, and my job was not to try and keep him out of prison, it was to prepare him and his family for prison and to try and ensure that his sentence was as short as possible.


James was charged with 3 counts of Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving.


He had gone to the pub, drank too much and left in his car. He was driving too fast. He hit another car. The injuries to those in the other car were life altering – all 3 were in hospital for many weeks, all 3 required numerous surgeries, all 3 will never fully recover and be as they were before the crash.


James knew this. From the start he knew what he had done, he was distraught, he wanted to visit the injured family in hospital to beg their forgiveness.  He knew he couldn’t so instead he started a Drink Drive Campaign to try and make sure that others didn’t make the mistake he had made, that others didn’t feel as he did. He made posters, he toured around pubs and restaurants in his area asking them to sign up to the scheme to discourage Drinking and Driving. He attended Alcoholics Anonymous to help him come to terms with his use of alcohol as an emotional crutch.


James was never in any doubt as to the seriousness of his situation, he was very pragmatic about it. He wanted to work for as long as he could so he could put as much away to help care for his daughter and elderly parents. He wasn’t interested in reducing the penalty – in his eyes he had committed the offence so he would take the punishment – it was his sister who told us about the Campaign he had launched.


I worked with James for a year, as we first waited for him to be charged, then through the numerous hearings as it went from the Magistrates to the Crown Court, and then off to the Probation Service before finally the day came for sentencing. I honestly believe that James was, in some ways, relieved when that day arrived – finally he could truly take responsibility for his actions. James was, is, a lovely sweet guy, a devoted father and a caring son. He just made some bad choices.


James was convicted of Causing Serious Injury by Dangerous Driving and sentenced to 32 months in prison, a brilliant outcome as with good behaviour he could be released on licence after 16 months.


James was the first client I ever had to prepare for a certain significant custodial sentence. He knew it was coming and so did I. That didn’t make it any easier. James’s sister commented after the hearing that it was obvious to the whole family how invested we all were in his case – and how much of a support knowing that we were there was for them.


At Forrest Williams we know that clients don’t just appoint Solicitors for the legal knowledge they hold. We know that our job is to support you, and those around you, through this difficult time. If you are charged with an offence, and you want a team behind you who care, then give the Forrest Williams team a call on 01623 397200.


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