In Derby Magistrates’ Court today, Henry Matthewson was delighted when Magistrates decided to impose 6 penalty points instead of a disqualification for his speeding offence.
Henry had been caught by a speed camera travelling at 75mph in a 40mph zone as he was travelling home from work on his motorcycle.
Although he told us, during his initial telephone call, that he had been hurrying home to tend to his sick wife, we explained to Henry that the court see many serious speeding offences and that they are not interested in excuses. To speed is unlawful.
However, we at Forrest Williams felt that Henry’s driving record (just 3 penalty points over his 10 year driving history, which had now come off his licence) and his exemplary character were factors that our Senior Partner, Steve Williams, could put forward as mitigation.
Henry told us that he spends a lot of time involved in fund raising for local charities. His character reference letters were well written and spoke of Henry in the most glowing terms. In addition, Henry told he had been so mortified by the speeding offence that he had quickly sold his motorcycle and completed a rider awareness course, during which he received one-to-one police officer instruction.
As our Steve Williams, expert speeding solicitor, was leaving court with Henry Matthewson, he noticed that all the defendants still waiting to be called for their hearings were unrepresented. This concerned Steve, as he knew that, by rights, Henry faced an almost certain disqualification had he not been represented today. For Henry such a disqualification would have been life-changing, as he needs his driving licence in order to travel to and from work each day.
For anyone who is seriously considering representing themselves at a forthcoming hearing, Steve would like to make clear that professional mitigation is so much more than simply running through a list of positive character traits, or explaining in great detail what actually happened on the day of the offence. It isn’t easy to get it right.
In fact, the people who often fare worst when representing themselves are those who are confident about their ability to speak in public, ie people who work in sales or teaching. Steve would put it like this: he wouldn’t assume he could deliver a lecture to an informed audience with no prior experience…so why should people assume they can represent themselves in court when they’ve never done it before? And yet they often do. With disastrous results. We hear from court staff all the time that confidence can be perceived as arrogance within a court room setting. Calmness can be perceived as not being all that bothered. And for those people who are nervous and struggle to give a good account of themselves, well, the court is a very busy place and not for the fainthearted.
So, for the reasons above, we at Forrest Williams would strongly advise you to think seriously about appointing a specialist legal company to fully prepare your case and to represent you in court, professionally. Henry Matthewson did this and he got the best possible result. He told us he was delighted with our services – from start to finish.
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Tags: speeding solicitors