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Being charged with a motoring offence can be frustrating at best, and paralysing at worst. Depending on the offence you have been charged with, you can feel as though your freedom is taken from you. This is especially true if you have committed a serious driving offence such as taking the life of another person through reckless or careless driving. While the charges may feel insurmountable, there is help. In this post, we will offer some advice on finding the best motoring offence lawyers in the UK so you can get the representation you need (and deserve).
As governed by the Road Traffic Act 1988, Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, and the Road Safety Act 2006, motoring offences vary from simple document offences to careless driving causing death. In this article, we will quickly look at the two most severe categories, as these warrant the assistance of an experienced and trusted motoring offences lawyer.
This crime is committed when a driver has been deemed to have operated a vehicle far below the expected standard of a reasonable driver, which led to the death of an individual. In these cases, this driving is considered to be a danger to others.
Some examples are:
It is important to point out that driving under the influence of legal or illegal substances can be classified as a motoring offence or a criminal dangerous driving offence, so you need to find the best motoring offences lawyer to assist you with the charges.
Careless or inconsiderate driving causing death
Similar to the above charge, careless driving occurs when a vehicle operator’s driving falls well below the reasonable standard of a careful and considerate individual, which leads to death. In contrast to dangerous driving, this type of offence does not necessarily involve danger to others.
Some examples are:
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, driving carelessly (or driving under the influence) and causing death will result in a sentencing period of 1 to 14 years. The sentencing range for careless driving that causes death is quite a bit lower. You may face up to 5 years in prison and be disqualified from operating a vehicle for at least a year.
Given the complexity of various motoring offences and the wide range of sentencing options, finding an expert motoring offences lawyer is essential if you want to ensure the best outcome for your case. Here are some characteristics you should be looking for in your search for a lawyer.
Since motoring offences are governed by multiple pieces of legislation and carry a range of sentencing possibilities, it is vital to hire a lawyer that has many years of experience in this niche. And as these charges rely on a plethora of different facts to determine harm, culpability, and mitigating factors, having a lawyer that is already aware of these nuances will work in your favour. Although hiring an experienced lawyer may seem costly compared to more junior professionals, keep in mind these lawyers will likely spend fewer billable hours on your case. Why? They have more extensive background knowledge than junior lawyers and will take less time to complete similar projects.
In a case where a life is lost, even in an unavoidable accident, you can feel paralysed by guilt and remorse. Making sure the lawyer who will be working closely with you is caring and supportive will go a long way in helping your meetings go smoothly. Moreover, hiring a compassionate lawyer likely results in a greater sense of mutual trust. So, when you are faced with challenging trial situations (such as a cross-examination), knowing your lawyer has confidence in you will increase your chances of success.
Attentive to details
Lastly, a lawyer that has a high level of attention to detail is always a good sign for motor offences, given the many factors that contribute to sentencing factors. A lawyer that is always focused and paying attention could unearth a piece of information in your favour that was formerly overlooked.
Below are some efficient and simple ways to find the best motoring offence lawyers in the UK.
A quick internet search
It’s quick, easy, and it works! In your search, ensure that you are using specific keywords and phrases to narrow down your results. More importantly, given the broad range of charges that fall under the heading of, “motoring offences,” make sure to specify the exact charge on your charge sheet. Here are some examples:
Word of mouth
Because motoring offences are often accidental, talking to others who have faced something similar is also a viable option. Hearing about lawyers first-hand will enable you to understand how they deal with clients and will likely put you at ease. While asking around for recommendations might yield fewer options than searching online, the quality of the referrals and the trust you place in the chosen lawyer will likely be much higher.
Review the UK Law Society website
Possibly the best online resource for finding a specialist lawyer is the UK Law Society. You can use this website to search for a specific barrister or solicitor who fulfils the criteria you specify, including their area(s) of competency, location, and current qualifications and accreditations. The Law Society also makes note of outstanding lawyers and law firms in their niches by marking their profiles with a distinctive badge, helping you find the top rating firms more easily. This alone makes their site one of the first to visit when beginning your search. Start your search here.
Reading through legal magazines and articles is a highly effective way to find a trusted lawyer that specialises in motoring offences. Typically, the authors of these pieces are leaders in their fields and respected lawyers in their own right. To start, look into Criminal Justice Matters. If you are looking for more complex literature, review either the Journal of Criminal Law or Criminal Law Review. Reading these publications is also a good way to stay informed about issues that might impact your case (though your solicitor will of course tell you about anything pressing).
Although each lawyer is going to have a different billing strategy, there are some general guidelines you should be aware of before hiring a motoring offences lawyer.
Generally speaking, criminal lawyers in the UK charge anywhere from £120-400+ per hour, with varying exceptions. Bear in mind that lawyers/firms located in the London area will usually charge more than those in other parts of the country.
This billing type involves paying a fee in advance, usually on a repeatable monthly basis. As the lawyer bills their hourly rate and other fees, these will be deducted from the retainer fee you paid prior. This fee is determined by the case’s complexity, the lawyer’s expertise, and other factors.
Flat fee schedules
Similar to retainer fees, flat fee payment structures involve paying a flat fee after the work is completed and/or during your case. This fee is calculated by determining the lawyer’s expertise, accreditation, and your case’s complexity. This type of fee structure is good if you need predictability, but might not be offered for more complex cases.
If you are overwhelmed by a looming motoring offence charge, we at Stuart Miller Solicitors can help. Our team of non-judgmental and expert motoring offence lawyers can help you through the complexities of your case, and we might even be able to get your charges dropped before trial. Contact us today for your free consultation.
A legal expert will consult you within 24 hours of making an enquiry.
We will always treat you with trust, understanding and respect.
Your case will be handled by an expert who specialises in your type of offence.
We will take early action to end proceedings as soon as it is practically and legally possible to do so.
You will be kept updated on your case at all times. We will provide a named contact available to answer your questions.
We understand this is a difficult and stressful time for you and your family. Our team will support you every step of the way.
We will never give up on your case. We fight tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome.