Traffic Offences in the UK

General practice lawyers who deal with all areas of criminal law won’t always know the ideal legal arguments that can be put forward on your behalf if you have been accused of any of the motoring offences below;

Failing To Provide Driver Information

After a motoring offence, you will be sent a s.172 driver information request. Failing to respond can lead to six penalty points.

There are 2 statutory defences in the road traffic act, Section172(4) and Section172(7)(b) RTA 1988.

To establish the drivers’ identity at the time of offence, you will have to demonstrate to the court that you used reasonable diligence, or that you didn’t receive the section 172 request at all.

No Insurance

Without valid insurance, you are presumed guilty regardless of your reasons for doing so may be. The penalty for this offence is six to eight points on your driving licence.

police size uninsured cars

Motoring policies in this instance have often been cancelled by the insurance broker without the driver’s knowledge.

If you honestly believed that you were properly insured and can show that to the court then you can use a special reasons argument. No insurance and permitting no insurance are ‘strict liability’ offences, but there are a couple of possible defences you can use.

Speed Limit Offences

You will receive 3 to 6 points for speeding, plus a possible discretionary ban, court costs for your case and a fine.

speed cameras ahead

Professional expert testimony is mandatory following recent motoring case law if you want to successfully defend your alleged speeding offence.

More and more drivers are being caught for minor (lower speed) speeding offences, and with an increase in roadside variable speed cameras adding to the burden of drivers to concentrate on their speedometer rather than the road ahead.

Drink Related Driving Offences

The legal UK drinking and driving breath reading limit is 35mg. A one year driving ban is the minimum driving licence suspension if convicted of drink driving.

There are three legally valid defences for drink drive allegations. You can prove that you were not the driver of the vehicle, you can demonstrate that you were not in a public place, or you can prove that you didn’t consume alcohol until after you had driven, rather than before.

Avoiding a drinking & driving disqualification is also possible if you can prove that you unwittingly drank the alcohol, that it was a real life emergency situation or that you only drove a limited distance. You can defend drinking and driving in some circumstances if you present your case effectively.

Drunk in Charge Road Traffic Offences

The two points that the prosecution are required to establish to secure a conviction are that you were over the drinking and driving limit and that you were in charge of the motor vehicle at the time of the offence.

You have a viable defence if you can demonstrate you were not intending to drive until you were under the legal limit.

If the court finds you guilty of being drunk in charge then you will be given ten penalty points on your licence and possibly a discretionary ban of 12 – 36 months and a fine of up to £2,500.

Drug Driving

Legislation passed in early 2015 introduced a range of drug driving offences for UK motorists. There are a wide range of illegal drugs that can be tested for as well as many prescription drugs which can also impair your ability to drive safely.

The basic difference between alcohol and drug use is that alcohol leaves your body quite quickly, whereas many drugs can linger in your body for many days, and even weeks after use.

For testing purposes, this is a huge problem, because a driver can fail a drug driving blood test having not consumed any drugs for days beforehand.


Driving with a Mobile Phone

You have to be holding the mobile while you are using it in order to commit an offence.

accidents caused by mobile phones are increasing

Lots of Magistrates have many different opinions regarding phone related offences and the law.

Even if you are stationary at traffic lights or in a hold up, it is still an offence as you are still considered to be driving.

Without Due Care

In order to convict you, the prosecution have to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the quality of your driving was below that expected of a careful & competent driver.

Low speed car park scrapes as well as undertaking offences are good examples of driving offences covered by driving without due care.

For some offences the police have the ability to offer you a Driver Improvement Course as an alternative to being prosecuted in Court.

Failing to Report Offences

S 170 Road Traffic Act states that following an accident, if there is damage to either property, another vehicle or to a person then you are under a legal obligation to stop and offer your details.

After an accident, you have up to twenty four hours to report the accident to the police if you were not able to exchange details at the time.

Failing to stop or report carries 5 – 10 penalty points or a discretionary driving licence ban.

You would have a legal defence if you didn’t know that damage had been caused and you can show that it would have been reasonable that you didn’t know that you had in fact been a party to an accident. This is also often called ‘hit and run’ and is an  offence that courts take very seriously. If you are facing fail to stop or failure to report an accident accusations, ask Patterson Law how they can help you to minimise your punishment in court and keep your licence.

The maximum punishment for failing to report and failing to stop is a custodial sentence, but community service is also a possibility.

Dangerous Driving Offences

To be convicted for dangerous driving, the level of your driving must fall far below what is required, but also it should be plain to a careful and competent driver that the driving is dangerous.

outcome of dangerous driving

If convicted of dangerous driving, you face a minimum 1 year ban, an extended re-test and even a prison sentence.

No Licence Motoring Offences

This motoring offence is often misunderstood by drivers.

If driving not in accordance with the conditions of your current driving licence .i.e. not displaying L plates or having never passed a test, it is an endorsable offence.

A non-endorsable offence would be if the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency asked you to return your current licence and they suspend your entitlement.

Many people believe incorrectly that ‘no licence’ means that your insurance is rendered invalid, but that is not the case.

This ‘no licence’ driving offence is often misunderstood by both the police and Magistrates as to whether it carries penalty points or not. Make sure you get the best result you can for your case by getting motoring lawyer to guide you.

39 Responses to UK Traffic Offences
  1. Just been caught again for low level speeding offence just above the limit. It’s almost impossible to avoid getting points these days!

  2. It’s only gonna get worse and worse. Constant speed cameras everywhere to keep us all nailed down below the limit. Whatever happened to personal freedom?

    • Get yourself a BluEye, it alerts you to the presence of police cars in your vicinity, used in conjunction with a snooper or road angel camera detector there is no excuse for not knowing that you are approaching an”accident blackspot” and should take extra care.

      • Never heard of Blueye….. does it really work?

        • My partner has one and it works amazingly. He knows whenever a police car is nearby and a few weeks ago, we were late and monitoring up the A10 when it alerted us and as we got closer, no sign of police anywhere, until we were level with a plain clothed white Volvo 4×4 with no aerials on roof, but very subtle lights hidden in rear window and front grill. It saved us then for sure!

  3. 9 points have curbed my excesses quite well….. travel 10 mph below the spped limit and will do so for three more years!!

    • That’s exactly what’s happened…… and police forces/government raise millions in the process. If the relevant authorities really wanted to curtail speeding why do they permit car companies to sell cars capable of 150+ mph? Why not limit all cars top speeds to 80 instead?

  4. If the roads are safer, surely slowing people down is a good thing? No one needs to die for us all to get where we are going

    • Are the roads really safer? Where are you pulling your information from? UK Road deaths have remained static at around 3000 per year for 20 years….. demonstrating that cameras actually make little or no difference at all??

  5. There’s a valid argument that cameras just move accidents somewhere else where speed limits aren’t enforced as rigidly. The annual death toll on UK roads hasn’t dropped much since the introduction of cameras, it’s just made that stretch of road safer, while other roads have greater fatalities instead

    • Lorries already are limited so it’s only a matter of time before cars follow suit??

    • I think people just like driving fast and if you put up cameras then speeding will happen where the cameras aren’t…. which are probably more dangerous stretches of road than the original ones.

  6. We put up with much more than that, so probably! It’s the car companies who would object the most…. who would buy a new car if it only went half as fast as the old one?

  7. Just finished a 28 day discretionary ban totting up, reduced thankfully from 6 months. I know I was breaking the law but the punishment is harsh

  8. Just followed a guy for 10 miles on the M6, me in the inside lane, him in the outside lane. Nothing in the middle lane. He didn’t move over once in 10 miles!! But it’s not legal for me to undertake him…… when will this offence start being penalised?

    • Who’s gonna police it?? It’s not going to be the police because there aren’t any. Perhaps the plastic police will start wagging fingers at people? Or maybe more cameras could do the job for us??

  9. The technology exists to automatically limit speeds in dangerous locations, I can only assume the reason it isn’t used is political?

  10. Just a money raising scam to hit motorists as hard as possible. It’s never gonna change

  11. Running a car in the UK and remaining legal in every respect is becoming harder and harder, with no tax disc to remind you, no MOT reminder and cameras everywhere it’s a wonder anyone still has a driving licence!

  12. Just been stopped again! 46 in a 40…….. flogging is too good for me!!

  13. It’s never been easier to get caught speeding. A clean licence without any points seems to be the exception rather than the rule!

  14. The law has to be enforced somehow and cameras are a cost effective way to control the chaos without parking a policeman on every road. For the most part, cameras are marked and there are a range of devices to highlight where they are, where mobile cameras might be parked as well as what your average speed is through SPECs constant speed sections.

    There isn’t much excuse for getting caught….. you could always slow down and obey the speed limit?

  15. The money made by the training companies that run the driver improvement courses is almost obscene. They have created a mini industry all of its own.

  16. I don’t want to be one of those people that rant and rave about the madness of it all……. BUT……

  17. Speeding isn’t compulsory…… you might conclude from half the rants that people are forced to do it?

    • You’re right, speeding isn’t compulsory, but it’s so easy to slip a few miles an hour over the speed limit just moving with traffic that you can soon accumulate points. It’s especially difficult for new drivers who only have 6 points to play with anyway.

      • All sat nav and speed camera detectors tell you what the speed limit is, where cameras are and where the police are most likely to be lurking….. the only time you should ever get caught speeding is if a new camera is installed and you haven’t updated your detector….. my advice… keep it up to date!

  18. Speeding is always going to be a contentious issue, but excess speed has to be controlled somehow. With all the available technology available, there isn’t really an excuse for not knowing where the cameras are, so little excuse apart from not paying attention to the road ahead?

  19. With so many distractions for drivers today I’m surprised there aren’t more accidents. It’s frightening that people driving towards you might not even be looking where they are going.

  20. Isn’t mobile phone use while driving becoming a larger problem than speeding in the UK? It’s frightening that there are drivers out their not paying any attention to what they are doing & we are seeing more and more instances where mobile phones are responsible for instigating accidents.

    • It’s not just phones, we all have so many distractions demanding our attention, it’s surprising that there are so few accidents. Quite how you can remove those distractions effectively while driving is a matter for further discussion?

  21. The hidden danger is surely the amount of drug drivers on our roads. If the papers are to be believed, its an epidemic?!

  22. Great advice for anyone totting up points and worried about losing their licence

Comments are closed.