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Drivers Found Smoking In Car Carrying Minors To Receive Fine Or Points

November 21st, 2014 by Just Motor Law

MPs have recently voted in favour of an amendment to the Children and Families Bill, which will see drivers caught smoking in cars carrying children under 18 years of age hit with a £60 fine or 5 points on their licence.

The new law, expected to come into force from October 2015, also states that drivers who fail to stop passengers smoking in front of a child face fines of up to £10,000, with a surprisingly lower maximum fine of £800 imposed on the passenger.  The driver would have to demonstrate at court that they took ‘reasonable steps’ to stop the passenger lighting up.

A YouGov poll in 2014 found that 77% of adults in Great Britain agreed that smoking should be banned in cars carrying children younger than 18 years of age, including 63% of smokers.

This appears to be a seemingly popular amendment to the law but not all of the public are so supportive. What will drivers think  if they are faced with a fine of up to £10,000 and 5 penalty points for preventing others lighting up in their vehicle? Some believe that this is another example of an increasingly intrusive ‘nanny state’.  However, we recall a similar outcry when seatbelt laws came in during the 1980s. Surely no one now questions how important those laws are? Indeed, 46% of people polled by YouGov agree smoking should be banned in all cars.

We live in a society where the child’s welfare is paramount, and rightly so in my opinion. This law is ethically justifiable to protect a section of society who are not fully autonomous and powerless in this situation to protect their own wellbeing.

International research found that in a moving car, the level of second-hand smoke produced by a single cigarette can be as high as 7 times the average level of a smoky bar; rising to 11 times higher in a stationary car!

The Prime Minister David Cameron suggests the ‘time has come’ for a full ban to be implemented, whilst his deputy and right-hand man Nick Clegg believes the ban would be illiberal and unenforceable.

Enforceable or not, it is refreshing to hear of a positive change to the law which protects those most vulnerable in society – our children.

Scotland Drink Driving Limit to be Reduced

November 3rd, 2014 by Just Motor Law

Scotland drink driving limit

Scotland’s drink-drive limit is to be reduced before Christmas 2014, making the level lower than south of the Scottish border.

 This change will mean that unaware motorists could well be breaking the law if they drink just one pint of beer or a single glass of wine before climbing behind the wheel. The blood alcohol limit will now be cut from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood from December 5, under this new proposal.

This draft legislation will bring Scotland’s legal alcohol limits in line with much of Europe, including France and Germany.

The UK has been called to follow suit by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, who have welcomed Scotland’s move to reduce their legal limit for blood alcohol content

Scottish road safety manager Sandy Allan said he believed the move would save lives and help to prevent injuries on Scotland’s roads.

He commented: “There is a considerable body of research which shows that reducing drink drive limits is effective in reducing drink-drive deaths and injuries. We would like to see the rest of the UK follow Scotland’s example.”

It’s estimated that one in ten deaths on Scotland’s roads involves drivers who are over the legal limit.

Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill said drinking and driving has shattered families and communities, and that it was time to take action to reduce the risk on the country’s roads.

He commented: “I have today introduced legislation to lower the drink drive limit in Scotland so that, subject to parliamentary approval, new laws will be in place in time for the beginning of the festive period.

“This new limit will bring Scotland into line with most of Europe and send a clear message to drivers who continue to ignore the warnings that there is never an excuse to drink and drive.

“Getting behind the wheel after drinking can have fatal consequences. The advice is simple – if you have had any alcoholic drink whatsoever, don’t drive.

“No one should be drinking and driving and the new lower limit only reinforces what should already be the case with drivers taking full responsibility and not putting lives at risk.”

Holyrood’s justice committee will hear evidence on the move next week ahead of a final vote in the parliament.

Driving Bans: Paying the Price – Employer Spotlight

September 23rd, 2014 by admin


At Just Motor Law, we understand how important your driving licence is to your day to day routine and the impact that losing it would have on you and your family.

If you are convicted of a motoring offence that carries points and already have 9 points on your licence, then the court will normally impose a six months disqualification. The consequences of this can be life changing, particularly for those who rely on driving for employment or caring for dependents.

The expertise of motor law specialists can offer you the support and legal guidance you need to help keep you on the road. Our team at Just Motor Law are on hand to advise on your options and discuss potential defences available, including Exceptional Hardship.

Here, we catch up with a group of employers who discuss the impact the loss of a driving licence could have on their business. The interviews bring valuable insight into the employers world, and how they too can pay the price for a driving ban.

Click here to view the piece and to share.

If you or someone you know is facing the risk of losing their driving licence, call Just Motor Law today on 0845 415 4641 for expert advice and representation.

Freddie Flintoff Avoids Driving Ban

September 1st, 2014 by admin

Former England Cricket Captain Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff has avoided a driving ban after successfully arguing “exceptional hardship” to Carlisle Magistrates.
Having already accumulated 9 points for speeding offences, Mr Flintoff was caught speeding at 87mph near Linstock in Cumbria. Mr Flintoff received penalty points for the offence, leading to the consideration of a driving disqualification. 
However, Magistrates accepted that a ban would have an adverse effect on others who relied on his extensive charity work.
Instead, the cricketer, who has been caught speeding four times in the past three years, was given the three points on his licence and fined £330 but allowed to remain driving.
Mr Flintoff’s solicitor told the court a ban would also have a negative impact on his regular TV work and intrude on the privacy of his three children.
Although Mr Flintoff was able to avoid a driving ban on this occasion, he was warned he would not be able to use the same reasons again in court if he was caught speeding again in the next three years.
The latest offence would take him to 12 points, which would normally mean an automatic ban after “totting up”.
Mr Flintoff’s solicitor told the court that his client drove himself to charity speaking arrangements, cricket matches and auctions of cricket memorabilia and “never took a fee”.
After taking 20 minutes to retire and consider the sentence, chair of the bench David Johnson said: “Because of your position and the fact that you are well known, clearly the impact has to be on others, more than you yourself.”
This case is a prime example of how driving bans can have an adverse impact on not only the driver but can also have further reaching consequences for others and while driving offences such as speeding are certainly serious and cannot be overlooked as trivial matters, there is always hope when facing such an outcome.
If you are facing the possibility of a driving ban after totting up penalty points, contact Just Motor Law today on 0845 485 1237 for expert help and advice from our specialist motoring legal experts.

High Court Case Emphasises Distinction Between ‘Receipt’ and ‘Service’ In Cases of Failing To Identify The Driver and Notice of Prosecution (NIP)

June 3rd, 2014 by Just Motor Law

As Motoring law specialists, we are frequently contacted by drivers who have been summoned to court for failing to identify the driver following a NIP being sent to the registered keeper’s address. This is often the first time they have heard about the matter as they never received the NIP.

After a motoring allegation has come to light (such as speeding or running a red light) the police contact the DVLA and establish who the registered keeper was and their current address. They send a NIP to the keeper within 14 days of the alleged offence and the keeper has 28 days to complete and sign the form and return to police.. Failure to do so is an offence contrary to S172 of the Road Traffic Act which carries 6 penalty points, a fine and court costs.

So if you didn’t receive the NIP in the first place then you can’t be guilty of the offence can you? Unfortunately it isn’t quite that simple.

The Road Traffic Act provides that the person who is served with a NIP and fails to provide the required information within the requisite time frame is guilty of the offence (unless he can avail himself of a statutory defence).


What does the term ‘served’ mean?

The notion of when the NIP is served relies on the postal system. The police will usually send the NIP first or second class to the keeper’s address i.e. the address that the keeper has told the DVLA he lives at. The NIP is treated as being properly served on the day it would then arrive at that address in the course of the ordinary post.

However, this service is rebuttable by the defendant i.e. they can give evidence on oath that the NIP didn’t arrive at the address that the DVLA had for them and if that is accepted by the court that will be the end of the matter and he/she will be found not guilty.   However, if the NIP is properly ‘served’, the only statutory defences open to the defendant are that the owner gave the information as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of that period or that it has not been reasonably practicable for him to give it. In previous cases this defence has been used where there is more than one user of the vehicle and the registered keeper has been unable to ascertain with due diligence, who was actually driving the vehile at the relevant time.


Case Study – Krishevsky V DPP

In the recent High Court case Krishevsky V DPP the court emphasises that the key distinction here is not whether the defendant received the NIP but whether it was properly served and that service is not rebutted.  Service of a reminder notice in the absence of service of the original NIP is not sufficient for a conviction. Only in a case where service of the NIP is not rebutted would the court need to consider the statutory defences.

So if the driver didn’t receive the NIP because it never arrived at their address, as Motoring lawyers we can argue that there was no service and that the case should be dismissed. If the NIP did arrive at the address but the owner couldn’t establish who was driving the vehicle at the relevant time or have only been able to establish that after the time limit, there is a defence that and a real prospect of success at court.

At Just Motor Law, we have vast experience in advising on all types of driving offences. If you need legal advice, contact us today on 0845 485 1228 or use our contact form.

Fraudulent Claims to Blame for Rise in Car Insurance Premiums

May 20th, 2014 by admin

Fraudulent claims

Reports from a leading motoring organisation show car insurance premiums are set to rise yet again.

The reports show the coming rise in premiums can be attributed to the failure of reforms put in place by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, which failed to have an impact on the high number of fraudulent claims filed by UK motorists.

The AA recently released a report which showed the average insurance quote in the first three months of this year was more than £100 cheaper than during the same period in 2013. This fall in price can be attributed to insurers competing for business as they anticipated the effects of new measures to combat phoney whiplash claims, and other motor insurance scams, the AA said.

However the report predicted premiums will soon go into reverse, lumping motorists with sharp premium rises from July onwards.

Ian Crowther, a spokesman for the AA, said: “Our best guess is they will level off in the current quarter and start to rise in the third quarter. They could start to rise quite steeply.

“It’s great for the consumer at the moment. But insurers are saying this can’t go on, and that it is utter madness.”

Young drivers, who have to pay the most for comprehensive insurance, enjoyed the biggest dips in premiums in the first part of this year, with falls of about 20 per cent for 17 to 29-year-olds.

Ian added: “The falls that we are experiencing at the moment have been going on for three years now, and the rate of fall has been accelerating.

“This was created mainly by the reforms that were proposed by the Ministry of Justice and insurers dropped premiums as they began to anticipate some return.

“However, that return has not been delivered. There is no evidence that this is delivering any significant reduction in the number and value of personal injury claims.”

The aforementioned reforms included the introduction of panels of accredited doctors to assess whiplash claims, which are reported to be costing motorists up to £2 billion a year and adding an average of £90 to every care insurance premium.

Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary, said: “We are turning the tide on the compensation culture and doing our bit to help drivers with the cost of running a car.

“We have made major law changes which have been a significant factor in these record falls in car insurance premiums. But we want to do more, and we are now going after the fraudsters who force up the costs for everyone else.”

For drivers who have narrowly avoided the revocation of their UK driver’s licence, they can also expect an increase in insurance premiums. As a result of totting up penalty points, the chance of losing their licence becomes a very real possibility, but with the help of an experience team of Motoring Solicitors such as Just Motor Law, they may be able to keep hold of their driver’s licence, based on the negative impact that losing their licence could have on them and those around them.

The penalty points however, remain in place, and will have a direct impact on the cost of their insurance until the points are eliminated.

For help avoiding the revocation of your driver’s licence, be sure to contact Just Motor Law today on 0845 415 4658.

Special Reasons – Failure To Provide A Specimen

April 2nd, 2014 by Just Motor Law

At Just Motor Law we often speak to drivers who have been charged with failing to provide a specimen who inform us that they didn’t cooperate with the police because they hadn’t been driving nor had they been intending to drive.

This does not provide them with a defence for not providing a specimen of breath, urine or blood. As long as the police officer made the arrest in good faith because he believed that an offence of drink driving or being drunk in charge had taken place, it doesn’t matter that the police were mistaken about whether you had actually been driving.

The law still penalises you if you do not provide the sample when requested. If the failure to provide a sample follows an arrest for being in charge of a vehicle then the court can sentence you to either 10 points or a discretionary disqualification. If the failure to provide a specimen follows an arrest for an allegation of drink driving (driving with excess alcohol), then after a guilty plea, the court have a power of mandatory disqualification from driving for a minimum of 12 months.

Does this seem grossly unfair if you were actually not driving nor was there any likelihood of you driving while over the legal limit? Unfortunately, there is no defence in such circumstances! However, our legal system generally does have the scope to deal with potential iniquities. This is where this particular special reasons argument comes in.

A special reason is in general terms, ‘a mitigating or extenuating factor, which relates to the circumstances of the offence, that a court should properly take account of when sentencing’. It cannot provide a defence of course, so in our situation the circumstances do not provide a defence in law. The fact that you were not driving or not attempting to or likely to drive can be taken on board by the court at the point of sentence. If the court accepts your argument, then it can decide not to disqualify you from driving or decide not to endorse penalty points on your licence.

This particular thread of special reasons argument was established in two cases in the High Court in the 1980’s and is one that the courts are generally unfamiliar with. Indeed, this is an argument that many solicitors are unfamiliar with! At Just Motor Law it’s always extremely rewarding to root out obscure case law that can make all the difference in a case.

Just Motor Law is experienced in winning cases of this kind and should you find yourself in a similar predicament then our team of experts will be happy to advise you on your options. It is important that you are not prejudiced by the magistrates being unaware of this little known special reasons argument that could actually save your driving licence.

Arguing Exceptional Hardship To Avoid A Totting Up Ban

March 31st, 2014 by Natali Farrell

Exceptional hardship is a legal argument used when a motorist incurs 12 or more penalty points on their driving licence. 12 or more points on a driving licence results in the motorist being disqualified from driving for a minimum of 6 months and so a successful exceptional hardship argument avoids the disqualification altogether or significantly reduces the period.

There are no set reasons on what exceptional hardship actually is and so every case is considered on its own merits.


The reasons used to make the legal argument need to be something out of the ordinary and often something which results in other people being affected rather than just the motorist themselves.

Examples of reasons used in court might be cases when you need your licence for your employment, you care for an elderly or disabled relative that depends on you to get them around or you are disabled yourself and need your licence to get yourself around, the list goes on.

The most often argued reason would be loss of livelihood in situations when the motorist would lose their employment or business if they were to lose their driving licence. This said, loss of livelihood does not automatically guarantee a successful exceptional hardship argument!

To be successful in arguing loss of livelihood for exceptional hardship you need to be able to show that loss of your employment or business will impact on others as a result. For example, if you are a self-employed plumber who needs your driving licence to travel to your jobs; the loss of your driving licence would mean you could no longer earn a living. This reason alone would not be sufficient to argue exceptional hardship although if losing your licence means you have no income you would then be unable to provide for your family or pay your rent or mortgage, the argument is likely to be more successful.

You should not assume that you have exceptional hardship simply because loss of your licence would be a massive inconvenience as for most of us it would be an inconvenience. Exceptional hardship is a complex legal argument that needs to be carefully prepared and submitted in such a way to the court that only a specialist lawyer could do.

You should not assume

Every single case is different to the next and so when a motorist finds themselves in such an unfortunate position they should immediately discuss their case with a specialist motoring lawyer. The lawyer would then assess the situation and advise on whether it is an argument that can be run with. You may have a good case but speak to the experts first!

Drink Driving Awareness from Sixt

March 31st, 2014 by admin

Driving under the influence of alcohol continues to be a huge concern in the UK. While collision statistics tend to fluctuate year-on-year, it’s fair to say that there are always campaigns running to raise awareness of the dangers  to try and reduce the amount of people who are getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.

This video from Sixt car hire does just that, but takes a new approach to spreading the message.

A Message that Resonates

‘Cocktail for Disaster’ uses a style that creates a memorable and hard-hitting message.

Using familiar cocktail names to introduce several characters and elements in the piece, this video makes a sudden transition between being seemingly cool and stylish, to showing the tragedy and emotional torment easily caused by drink driving.

A Tragic Tale

‘Cocktail for Disaster’ portrays the tragedy of a man that makes a poor decision, and as a consequence leaves a trail of devastation in his wake.

The key message for the viewer is that it is impossible to determine the specific amount of alcohol it will take to put someone over the legal limit. The best approach to keeping yourself and others safe on the road is to not drink any alcohol at all.

Help spread awareness of the dangers of drink driving and share this thought-provoking video with friends and family.

If you have been accused of a drink driving offence and require some professional help, get in touch with one of our experts using our contact form at the top of this page.

Exceptional Hardship Explained

March 28th, 2014 by Natali Farrell

Exceptional hardship is a legal argument that can be submitted to the court to avoid a disqualification from driving when a driver accumulates 12 or more penalty points on their driving licences.

Legislation stipulates that if a driver does acquire 12 or more penalty points they should be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of 6 months.
Under these provisions exceptional hardship can be argued, which if successful can result in a reduction of the 6 month disqualification or no disqualification at all.

Defining the word ‘exceptional’ is vital to any case, as just simply pleading ‘hardship’ would not be enough. Most people will suffer some kind of hardship when losing their driving licence although this is the aim of the legislation. What is not the aim of the legislation is when ‘exceptional hardship’ would be caused.

What circumstance are deemed to be considered ‘exceptional’?

what is exceptional harship

To be exceptional, the hardship to be suffered must be something out of the ordinary. For example, in the case of Brennan v McKay (1996) a taxi driver accumulated 12 points and argued that if he were to lose his licence he may lose his job and suffer financial difficulty. Although the court accepted the fact that the taxi driver would suffer hardship, they did not accept that the hardship would be exceptional and he was still disqualified for 6 months.

However, had the driver been able to prove is was the sole financial provider to his family and if he were to be disqualified it would have an effect on his mortgage repayments and risk losing his home, meaning his family would suffer from the consequences then the case would have been deemed exceptional by the Court.

The distinction between ‘hardship’ and ‘exceptional hardship’ is very important and one which needs to be determined well in advance of submitting any argument to the court by a motoring legal expert.

How do I know if my case is exceptional?

How do i know if my case is exceptional

As there is no set list of what is exceptional, the lawyer at court can argue whatever case they wish in an effort to persuade the Magistrates that the hardship to be suffered would be exceptional and it will be for the Magistrates Court to assess every case on its own merits.

This said, if not just you but others around you and who depend on you either financially or to assist them in getting around would be affected by the disqualification, this may be good starting point.

The lawyer representing at court would prepare and present the case in such a way as to show that exceptional hardship would in fact be caused. It would then be for the Magistrates to make their decision.

What would happen next?

Anybody who would be affected by a disqualification should consult a specialist lawyer to see whether they have any grounds to argue exceptional hardship. This can be a complex area of law and one where a driver has one opportunity to make their case. To ensure your case is professionally prepared from the outset to give you the very best possible chance of being successful, always contact a specialist motoring expert.