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Chesterfield Motoring Solicitor David Gittins was recently instructed in a case where the Defendant was at real risk of a driving ban having collected 12 penalty points.

David’s client had received Notices of Intended Prosecutions from a court in Derbyshire as a result of speeding offences. If convicted, she would have been over the 12 penalty point limit for keeping her driving licence and a ban would normally follow. David knew that the client would have a strong argument to keep her licence as losing it would cause her an exceptional level of hardship.

The case began through the Single Justice Procedure (SJP) and David advised the client at an early stage as to her plea and the impact of doing so. David also advised her as to the possibility of arguing exceptional hardship in a bid to keep her driving despite the number of points of her licence.

David had conferences with his client to understand her personal and professional obligations which required a driving licence. David, using his own knowledge of the area, undertook detailed research and set about collating maps, bus times and even calling local taxi firms to get quotes to understand how much taxis would cost his client if she were to lose her licence. David also spoke to his client’s partner, sister and her business partners to obtain further information to put before the Court.

Exceptional Hardship

As all drivers know when you reach 12 penalty points the court will disqualify you from driving under the totting up procedure. However, if it can be shown that exceptional hardship will result from a disqualification, a driver is may be able to keep their licence even though they have passed the 12 point limit.

Exceptional Hardship is not defined in law and has to be considerably more than the inevitable inconvenience caused by a driving ban.

An argument for Exceptional Hardship could be based on issues that include:
• Loss of a job resulting in loss of accommodation for others such as children;
• An inability to get to any work due to geographical and public transport restrictions;
• Loss of other third persons employment due to businesses having to close;
• The requirement to take family members to urgent medical appointments when no other transport is available.

In this case, David argued exceptional hardship before Magistrates, with the Client giving evidence as to the difficulties she would face if she lost her licence. In addition, the extensive use of digital maps meant that David and his client could show the terrain she would have to cross to walk to a bus stop and the danger that would present to herself and road users given the rural locations.

12 Penalty Points and No Driving Ban

Thankfully David was successful in his representations and exceptional hardship was found. The Magistrates exercised their discretion not to impose a ban. This meant the Client could continue driving and was simply ordered to pay financial penalties for these offences.

David’s advocacy skills and ability to see the bigger picture when collecting evidence before making his argument enabled the client to keep her driving licence.

For this type of case, Legal Aid was not available but a fixed fee was agreed in advance of the work being undertaken and arguably a small price to pay in order to keep your driving licence.
Contact a Motoring Solicitor

If you require the advice and representation of an expert motoring solicitor then please contact David at our Chesterfield office on 01246 387999 or david.gittins@vhsfletchers.co.uk

Details of our Chesterfield Office can be found here VHS Fletchers Chesterfield Office and David’s bio can be found HERE.

David can provide you with detailed and affordable advice as to whether you are able to challenge the prosecution evidence relating to your road traffic offence, or how you are likely to be sentenced following a guilty plea.

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VHS Fletchers Solicitors have 5 offices across the Midlands, staffed with specialists in the field of criminal defence work. Whilst it will come as no surprise that these locations are situated close to local police stations and courts, the team at VHS Fletchers will happily travel much further to represent clients accused of criminal acts.

Within the last few months staff from the Chesterfield office at VHS Fletchers Solicitors have had many early mornings and late nights travelling the length and breadth of the country to provide our clients expert legal advice.

Those places recently visited by the staff at our Chesterfield office include:

• York Police Station
• York Magistrates Court
• Lincoln Police Station
• Lincoln Magistrates Court
• Scarborough Police Station
• Huddersfield Police Station
• Leeds Youth Court
• Sheffield Magistrates Court
• Highbury Corner Magistrates Court (London)
• Margate Magistrates Court (Kent)

All of our clients involved in these cases had links to the Chesterfield area and didn’t want a solicitor or legal advisor who they didn’t trust. As such they asked our Criminal Team to travel and provide expert legal advice which we gladly undertook for offences such as possession of a knife, conspiracy to supply drugs, driving whilst disqualified, breach of Restraining Order, Public Order offences and possession of counterfeit currency.

If you require the assistance of a firm of Solicitors who have expertise in Criminal Law, and who go that extra mile (or in this case hundreds of extra miles) please contact our Chesterfield Office on 01246 387999 or email them at chesterfield@vhsfletchers.co.uk

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The law relating to Football Banning Orders changed in 2022. The test for making an order used to be that an order should be made when somebody is convicted of a football related offence if “satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that making a banning order would help to prevent violence or disorder at, or in connection with, any regulated football matches”.

That has changed so that now a court must make an order unless there are exceptional reasons for not doing so.

FBOs are very draconian. Most people are aware that if they get one, they are banned from going to watch their team. However, standard FBOs last for three years and they ban people from watching any league football matches. People are banned from travelling to the towns where their team are playing. Also, people have to surrender their passports whenever England are playing abroad.

It is important to bear in mind that an FBO can be imposed without anything violent having happened. There is a long list of charges when an FBO can be sought.

It is always important that anybody interviewed by the police gets legal advice. Legal advice at the police station is completely free of charge for everyone.

In our latest case, our client was interviewed as to inappropriate chanting at his local football ground. In interview he described his behaviour as indefensible. He was charged with disorderly behaviour.

Despite this, our football law and pub quiz expert, Jim Buckley, defended him and secured an acquittal.

To be guilty of an offence of disorderly conduct it must be proved that the words used were within the hearing of a person likely to be harassed, alarmed or distressed.

Because the only witness was a steward with 23 years’ experience, it was demonstrated that he was personally not affected by the chanting at all. The Court refused an argument that they could infer that other people there would have been affected. As such our client was acquitted and can return to watching his favourite team.

The moral of the story is – be careful what you chant at the football, never be interviewed without legal advice, but even if you are, you may still win your case if you get the right solicitor.

For expert advice and representation on all football law cases, contact one of our football law solicitors today. CLICK HERE for more information about our Football Law department.

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This month, our Nottingham taxi licence solicitor Denney Lau successfully assisted Mr S in obtaining his taxi licence at a Nottingham council.

Mr S had his taxi licence revoked by the council 2 years ago and his application to another council was refused last year. At both previous committee hearings Mr S was unrepresented – highlighted how a taxi licence solicitor can assist with the chances of success.

Mr S had been a taxi driver for 15 years before having a brief confrontation with a Community Protection Officer for Taxi Enforcement.  Although no criminal investigation or criminal conviction resulted from this incident, having viewed the body worn footage, the original committee revoked Mr S’s licence on the basis that his behaviour meant that he was no longer a fit and proper person (Sections 51, 55, and 59 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (Part II).

Mr S then reapplied a year later but failed to disclose the previous revocation, resulting in the Council again deciding he was not a fit and proper person on the basis that he did not act with honesty and integrity throughout the application process.

Mr S sought assistance from our taxi licence solicitor, Denney Lau.  Mr S was advised of the law and the documents that were needed to provide to the committee.  Denney then produced a defence bundle and represented Mr S at the committee meeting in front of 13 councillors.

In the capacity of a taxi licence solicitor, Denney used his in depth of knowledge in taxi licence law and made strong and persuasive representations which resulted in the council granting the application.

Mr S was delighted with the result and that his livelihood can now resume once more.

Whilst taxi licencing matters are not covered under the Legal Aid Scheme our competitive rates allow us to provide a comprehensive service on your behalf.

We have offices across the East Midlands and provide nationwide advice and representation.  Find your nearest office here, or use the contact form to get in contact with one of our taxi licence solicitors.

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