Tractor driver avoids conviction for dangerous driving
Chesterfield Crime Solicitor Kevin Tomlinson was recently instructed in an unusual case of dangerous driving. His client was alleged to have a driven a tractor dangerously. If convicted, Kevin’s client stood to lose not only his good name but also his licence for a minimum of twelve months.
The allegation of dangerous driving
Kevin’s client, aged 17, had been assisting on a family farm. He drove a tractor on a public highway moving bales of hay. He was driving along a narrow country lane when another vehicle approached from the other direction. A collision occurred causing minor damage to the car. The tractor tipped over onto its side, coming to rest on a dry stone wall.
The police were called to the scene because of the accident. Kevin’s client was eventually summonsed to court for dangerous driving.
Our client denied the offence stating that he had not been driving at speed as alleged. In fact, this was simply an accident due to the nature of the road. The hedges were overgrown so the view of both drivers was restricted. Kevin advised his client that a not guilty plea ought to be entered and the case was adjourned for trial in the Magistrates’ Court.
Expert witness instructed
In order to prepare for the trial Kevin visited the location of the accident. As a result he instructed an expert to visit the scene in order to give his opinion as to the manner of driving. This would be based upon the road layout and how the vehicles ended up after the accident. Following this detailed recreation of the scene the expert felt the standard of driving was not dangerous. He agreed with our client’s view of the incident.
This report allowed Kevin to make detailed submissions to the Crown Prosecution Service. He invited them to reconsider the case against his client. This was because the evidence did not support a charge of dangerous driving.
Although Kevin had to chase the prosecution for an answer, eventually a decision was made that there was a more suitable charge. This was the little known offence of being in control of a vehicle whilst being unable to see the entire road ahead.
This was a suitable charge because the hydraulic front loader attachment used to transport the hay bales, when in the correct position for use on the road, created a blind spot. This problem was aggravated by the driving conditions on this particular road.
The new offence was a far less serious allegation than dangerous driving. It carried a financial penalty and penalty points . Kevin’s client pleaded guilty on a very limited basis that had been agreed by the prosecution. It was accepted by the court.
Absolute discharge ordered
At the sentencing hearing Kevin addressed the Magistrates about the case including personal mitigation of his client. Upon hearing all of this information the court imposed an Absolute Discharge. This meant that the court considered that no punishment was needed. The court also ordered that no Prosecution costs were to be paid.
The Court had to impose 3 penalty points for the offence which was the minimum that could be imposed. For obvious reasons Kevin’s client was delighted with both the outcome and the fact that the case was finally over.
Kevin’s persuasive advocacy skills and tenacious attitude in securing all relevant evidence to assist his client’s case meant an exceptional outcome for his Client. It is clear that he explored every line of enquiry to ensure a result that favoured his client.
Criminal legal aid in the Magistrates’ Court
Our client satisfied both the merits and means test for legal aid which means that the advice and representation provided by Kevin was free of charge to him. The legal aid also paid the costs of instructing the expert witness in the case.
We will always provide you with full advice as to how best to fund your case, including the availability of legal aid.
Contact a Chesterfield Motoring Solicitor
If you require the advice and representation of an expert motoring solicitor then please contact Kevin at our Chesterfield office on 01246 283000 or email him here. Details of our Chesterfield Office can be found here.
Kevin 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.