The legal definition of the offence of careless driving is that a person is guilty if they:-
- Drive a mechanically propelled vehicle,
- On a road or other public place,
- Without due care and attention , or;
- Without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place.
‘Driving without due care and attention’ is established if the way the person drove falls below that what would be expected of a competent and careful driver.
‘Without reasonable consideration’ means that other persons are inconvenienced by the manner of driving.
The offence is punishable by a fine and 3-9 penalty points or discretionary disqualification in serious cases.
As you might expect the offence can be committed in many ways from middle-lane hogging to causing accidents and a person accused of the offence would be wise to take expert legal advice before entering a plea.
Because of the nature of the offence the police may initially investigate it as dangerous driving or they may want to interview you under caution. If so you should take a solicitor with you to advise you. It is your absolute right and is free!
Please contact us if the police wish to speak to you about a careless driving offence.
If you need legal advice and representation for a traffic offence which is being heard in the Magistrates Court then, in the majority of cases, we can help you for a fixed fee, plus our travelling expenses to the Court where your case is to be heard. Our travelling expenses are charged at 45p per mile for the distance from our office to the Court.
In the majority of cases we will agree to deal with your case at a fixed fee however if the case is more complex, it may be that in some cases the costs or fee may be greater than those quoted. If that is the case the fee will be agreed before you are asked to make a decision whether to instruct us.
Our fixed costs do not included the following:-
- Obtaining experts reports if required
- Costs of tracing witnesses
If you intend to plead guilty then our fee will be determined by how straightforward the arguments are to mitigate the sentence applied. Arguments relating to special circumstances or exceptional hardship are likely to be more complex, as are arguments which involve witnesses.
If the arguments are straightforward, then we will charge £300 plus VAT and our travelling expenses.
If the arguments are more complex, then we will charge £500 plus VAT and our travelling expenses.
Stages & Timescales
The Court case may start in a number of ways. You may receive a summons or postal requisition with a court date. You may be charged by the Police directly to Court from the Police Station. For most road traffic offences you will receive a Single Justice Procedure notice which you need to complete. If you are pleading guilty then it may well be that the case can be concluded on the first appearance. If there is to be an exceptional hardship argument or a special reasons argument the Court may adjourn for the hearing to take place, which can typically be for 4 to 8 weeks.
We will meet with you to provide initial advice to you on your options and the procedure, take your instructions and obtain evidence. Following this we will attend at Court for your guilty plea and prepare and present mitigation for you.
Not Guilty Plea
If you intend to plead not guilty then our charges will be determined by the expected length and complexity of the trial. The length of the trial will be affected by a number of factors including:-
- The number of witnesses
- Whether you have been charged with more than one offence
- If any expert evidence is needed
For a straightforward not guilty plea where the trial lasts up to an hour and a half, we will charge £500 plus VAT and our travelling expenses.
If the trial lasts up to half a day, we will charge £750 plus VAT and our travelling expenses.
If the trial lasts up to a full day, we will charge £1,000 plus VAT and our travelling expenses.
Stages & Timescales
The Court case may start in a number of ways. You may receive a summons or postal requisition with a court date. You may be charged by the Police directly to Court from the Police Station. For most road traffic offences you will receive a Single Justice Procedure notice which you need to complete. If there is to be a trial it will normally be listed two to four months after the first appearance at Court or the not guilty plea is indicated by the Single Justice Procedure notice. However, timescales vary from Court to Court.
We will meet with you to provide initial advice to you on your options and the procedure, take your instructions and obtain evidence. We will represent you at the first hearing and the Court will then set a date for a trial.
Following this we will deal with all case management, which will include meeting to discuss the case, advising you on evidence & plea, liaising with the Court in relation to what evidence will be presented to ensure the Court lists sufficient time to deal with the matter and fixing an appropriate court date
We will then prepare your case for trial and represent you at Court for the trial itself which will include cross-examining any witnesses and presenting arguments on your behalf. We will then advise you on the outcome of the trial.
Factors which may increase costs
- Defence witnesses that need to be traced and interviewed
- An unusual aspect of the law
- Need for expert evidence
Why use a solicitor?
- A solicitor is vital if you choose to challenge the allegation
- The offence carries a possible driving disqualification.
- You will need an expert solicitor to defend and argue your case in order to keep you on the roads.
Why Watson Woodhouse?
- Our expert solicitors have a wealth of knowledge on the different possibilities and outcomes that are associated with this offence.
- We can properly advise you on what option is the best depending on your circumstances.
- We will review the strength of the prosecution’s case against you before advising you of the merits of your case.