Author Topic: what should I plead ? Should I go to court ?  (Read 366 times)

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ilan goodfriend

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what should I plead ? Should I go to court ?
« on: March 26, 2024, 11:03:07 pm »
Hi everyone, im an 18 year old who passed his test 4 months ago and I got caught driving with no insurance and iíve received the letter giving me the option to either -
1) plead guilty and not attend court
2) plead guilty bit make a case for special reasons with a solicitor and try to avoid the points by accepting a short term ban (solicitor advised of this option)
3) plead guilty and attend court myself without a solicitor and explain the reason why i was unintentionally driving without insurance.

back story - i always get temp insurance on my mums policy when i use the car but this time i left the computer before seeing the error message and i assumed the application would be accepted as it normally is so after hitting the go button on the final step i got up and left the desk. i thought i was insured but i wasnít.

the solicitor said to pay them £1500 and they would represent me and think there is a good chance that they can mitigate points this will allow me to keep driving albeit with more expensive insurance.

i want the chance to explain the circumstances to the court with the hope that they might be lenient but i donít know which of the options to choose that would result in the most favourable outcome and would appreciate any guidance.

thank you

iím gutted.

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NewJudge

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Re: what should I plead ? Should I go to court ?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2024, 01:11:45 am »
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...the solicitor said to pay them £1500 and they would represent me and think there is a good chance that they can mitigate points this will allow me to keep driving albeit with more expensive insurance.

The solicitor should know better than to mislead an 18-year old into parting with £1,500.

He is misleading you when he says that he will make a case for "Special Reasons (SR)." If a SR argument was successful there would be no endorsement on your licence and neither points nor a ban. There are no "Special Reasons" as far as I can see. No Insurance is a strict liability offence and drivers must make absolutely certain they are covered before driving. By your own admission you didn't.

To ask the court to impose a short ban instead of points is not to argue "Special Reasons" All you would be doing is asking the court to sentence you outside their guidelines. A straightforward offence of No Insurance with no aggravating features does not attract a ban. For the court to impose one they would be sentencing outside the guidelines and to do this they must have (and announce) their reasons for doing so. Their only reason to do that would be so that you can avoid the affects of the New Drivers' Act and they should not be prepared to do so.

By all means ask for a court appearance but I would not recommend paying a solicitor £1,500 to make an argument that is highly unlikely to succeed. You can make that argument yourself (with a similar chance of success) and save the solicitor's fees.

If you do receive six points the DVLA will revoke your licence. However, you can immediately apply for a new provisional licence and begin driving (complying with the conditions of that licence - 'L' Plates and a supervising driver)  as soon as you have it

ManxTom

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Re: what should I plead ? Should I go to court ?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2024, 12:44:32 pm »

... iíve received the letter giving me the option to either -
1) plead guilty and not attend court
2) plead guilty bit make a case for special reasons with a solicitor and try to avoid the points by accepting a short term ban (solicitor advised of this option)
3) plead guilty and attend court myself without a solicitor and explain the reason why i was unintentionally driving without insurance...

Never having been in this position I don't know, but does it really give you separate options (2) and (3)?

ie (2) plead guilty with a solicitor to accept a short term ban or (3) plead guitly without a solicitor and explain why etc.

Maybe I'm wrong but those two options don't sound right to me...(?)

Don't they also give you an option to plead not guilty?

As NewJudge has said, you shouldn't be paying a solicitor £1500 based on the advice they've given you so far...

NewJudge

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Re: what should I plead ? Should I go to court ?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2024, 02:06:34 pm »
Quote
Maybe I'm wrong but those two options don't sound right to me...(?)

They certainly don't. The options on a SJPN are

- Plead guilty - do not attend court.

- Plead guilty - attend court

- Plead Not Guilty.

The options the OP has outlined are probably those which the solicitor has said are his choices.

If that is the case it really is quite disgraceful advice. For example
Quote
"...and try to avoid the points by accepting a short term ban (solicitor advised of this option)"

Apart from the fact that defendants do not "accept" a ban - it is imposed if that is the court's decision and they have no choice in the matter. But more than that, it is very poor - especially when accompanied by a fee of £1,500 - to suggest that there is a "good chance" that this strategy will succeed. Any worthwhile solicitor should know that Magistrates have guidance which suggests the "New Driver's Act" should not be circumvented in this way and their Legal Advisor would (or should) strongly advise them against it. The chances of success are not "good". They are not even moderate. They are remote and to suggest otherwise is dishonest.

Of course the way to avoid this is to modify the New drivers' Act so that any disqualification also triggers revocation. But that discussion is for another place.

The Rookie

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Re: what should I plead ? Should I go to court ?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2024, 06:07:22 pm »
Not to mention that the fee suggested is about 3x the fee one would expect for representing you for a guilty plea.
There are motorists who have been scammed and those who are yet to be scammed!

Southpaw82

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Re: what should I plead ? Should I go to court ?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2024, 09:38:59 pm »
Which solicitors?