Frequently Asked Questions About Our Specialist Motoring Solicitor Services
The following section is intended to provide information on our services and fees. It also answers more general questions which you may have about your case, including things such as where your case will be heard and what will happen at court
- Do I need a Solicitor?
If you are summonsed or charged to appear before a court, the answer to this question will usually be yes, unless your case is a straightforward one and does not involve any risk to your liberty or driving license.
When you contact us, we will provide you with a very honest assessment of your case. If we do not think you need a solicitor we will tell you. We are not in the business of taking peoples hard earned money unless we believe we can help.
- Do I need a specialist motoring solicitor?
The answer to this question is probably answered by the fact that you are visiting the website of a specialist motoring solicitor and beyond the question is probably best answered by a further question:
If you had a toothache would you visit your Doctor or your Dentist?
- Are you specialist motoring solicitors?
All we do is represent motorists being investigated for or charged with motoring offences. As this is all we do, we are specialists in motoring law and can provide you with the best possible legal representation.
- How successful are you?
We take pride in our work and the successes we achieve. The best way to evaluate our work is to consider our testimonials and what others say about us.
- Can you guarantee the success of my case?
Our honesty and integrity prevents us from doing this. At the outset of your case however, using our experience and expertise in the area of motoring law, we will indicate to you what we think the prospects of success in your case will be. This openness and honesty, will allow you to evaluate your options and to decide what course of action you wish to take and whether you wish to instruct us.
- Who will be preparing my case?
We have a team of motoring specialists, all of whom are supervised by Principal Solicitor Neil Davies, in order to ensure the highest quality representation.
- Who will be representing me at court?
You will either be represented by Senior Partner Neil Davies, one of our specialist motoring solicitors or one of our barristers.
We are not middle men and do not simply farm out cases to other solicitors. The care we take in the preparation of your case and the standard of representation which you receive at court is what allows us to maintain our reputation and that is something which we would never compromise.
- Can Senior Partner Neil Davies represent me before the court?
If you specifically request representation from Neil Davies, he will always do his best to assist.
This representation will cost an additional premium owing to demand, however we hope that this premium reflects the level of representation that you will receive at court.
As you will appreciate we have a lot of clients and court commitments, however we will always do our best to satisfy any request.
- Can I speak with Senior Partner Neil Davies?
Neil Davies is always willing to personally discuss any case with any client and makes an effort to speak personally with every client.
If you wish to speak with Neil, simply call and ask.
- How will we communicate?
We will communicate by way of telephone, email or letter.
If you need to send a document to us, the easiest way is usually to email it as an attachment, to fax it or alternatively to do it the old fashioned way and to post it.
- Will I have an initial meeting?
In most cases we do not meet with clients at the start of a case. We prefer to take instruction over the telephone and by way of email, as this allows us to keep your costs down.
We will however, always meet with you in advance of any court hearing and will usually meet with you at least one hour before your hearing in order to discuss your case with you and to ensure that you are comfortable with court procedure.
If you do wish to have an initial meeting, this can be accommodated, however this may incur additional costs for you.
- What are your fees for specialist motoring representation?
At Caddick Davies Solicitors we believe in fee transparency and will be open and honest with you about our fees when you contact us.
For detailed information about our fees, please visit our fees page.
- I cannot afford to pay your legal fees all at once - Can I pay by instalments?
We appreciate that motoring offences are unplanned for and that you are unlikely to have budgeted for these costs.
If you are unable to settle our fees in one payment, please speak to us about the option of paying our fees by instalments.
Please note that whilst we offer instalments, all fees must be settled by the conclusion of your case (i.e. any final hearing date).
Attending Court for a Motoring Offence
- What court do I appear at for a motoring offence?
Most motoring offences are heard before the Magistrates Court. The offences which must be heard before the Magistrates court, otherwise known as summary only offences include:
Speeding, driving without due care and attention, failing to stop or report an accident, driving a motor vehicle without valid third party insurance, using a mobile phone, failing to comply with a red traffic signal and drink driving (please note this list is non-exhaustive).
More serious motoring offences, known as either-way offences such as Dangerous Driving and Causing Death by Careless Driving, might be sent from the Magistrates Court to the Crown Court if their facts make them more serious.
Very serious motoring offences, known as indictable only offences, such as Causing death by dangerous driving and motor manslaughter, must be heard before the Crown Court. These cases will immediately be sent from the Magistrates to the Crown Court.
- Which Magistrates Court will hear my motoring case?
There are currently approximately 330 Magistrates Courts operating in England and Wales. Which Magistrates Court your case is sent to will largely depend upon where your offence or alleged offence was committed.
For instance, if it is said you have committed an offence in Birmingham, you may expect your case to be sent to Birmingham Magistrates Court.
If your case is in Greater London, there are a number of courts where your case may be heard, however the main Road Traffic Courts for London include, City of London, Bromley, Richmond-upon-Thames, Willesden (Brent) and Waltham Forest. These courts will hear the majority of cases in the Greater London Area.
- How will my case be started before the court?
Motoring cases commonly commence by way of summons or requisition. This is a written notification which is sent to you asking you to attend court.
For more serious motoring offences involving your arrest, you may be charged and bailed to go to court. In these cases you will be told when you need to attend court.
- Do I need to attend court?
If your case is started by way of summons or requisition and your case does not involve the risk of disqualification from driving, the magistrates may deal with your case on receipt of a written plea without you attending.
If you are bailed from the police station to attend at court, you must attend court on the appointed time and date, as if you fail to do so without reasonable excuse (e.g. medically unfit to do so), the court may issue a warrant for your arrest and you may also be charged with a further serious and imprisonable offence under the Bail Act 1976.
- I am busy on my court date. Can it be changed?
If you are summonsed to appear before the court, but are unable to attend court on the allocated date owing to prior commitments e.g. a holiday, we may ask the court to change your hearing date or can simply adjourn your hearing to a later and more convenient date when you can attend.
- What do I do when I attend at court?
Upon arrival at court, you should introduce yourself to one of the court ushers, who are usually situated at the front desk or near the courtroom in which you are to appear. They will take your name and will then call your name when your case is to be heard.
If we are representing you, we will meet you either outside the court or inside the court in advance of your hearing and will notify the court of your arrival.
- Do I have to speak when I'm in court?
When you appear in court you will be required to confirm your name, address and date of birth. You will also be required to confirm your plea.
If we are representing you at court, we will explain your case to the Magistrates or Judge and you will not be required to speak further. If however, your case proceeds to trial, you may have to present evidence on oath in support of your case. In order that you are comfortable with this process, we will speak with you in detail about this before your case.
If you are representing yourself, you will be asked to explain your case and again, if your case proceeds to trial, you may be required to give evidence on oath.
- What if I can't speak English?
If English is not your first language and you have difficulty understanding the court proceedings, we will ask the court to arrange an interpreter for you.
Court Fines and Costs
- How is my fine calculated?
Every offence has a maximum fine which may be imposed. For instance the maximum fine for speeding on a motorway is £2,500.00.
Any fine imposed will not be above the maximum for the offence for which you appear at court and will be imposed in accordance with your financial means. The appropriate level of any fine is usually determined with reference to a persons net weekly income (weekly income after tax). So for instance the magistrates will usually be guided to impose a fine which is equivalent to either 1/2, 1 or 1 1/2 weeks income.
By way of example, a person convicted of a first offence of drink driving and earning £300.00 per week after tax will usually receive a fine of £450.00 ( 1 1/2 times their net weekly income).
This amount may then be reduced if you have entered a guilty plea by up to 1/3 (please see credit for a guilty plea below).
- Will I have to pay anything else apart from my fine?
Yes, you will usually also be required to pay a contribution towards the prosecutions costs and also a Victim Impact Surcharge.
On a guilty plea prosecution costs will usually range between £35 and £85 depending on the court at which you appear.
If you plead not guilty and your case progresses to trial, your costs will be more. For a trial before the magistrates court the prosecutions costs will usually be anywhere between £300 and £750.
The Victim Impact Surcharge is a statutory scheme which requires the payment of an additional charge, to be used in connection with the victims of crime. The charge is currently set at £15.00, however this is set to rise in the future.
Please note that these costs are provided as a guide only and will vary from court to court.
- I am told I will get "credit for my guilty plea". What is credit for a guilty plea?
In law, the magistrates must give you credit for your guilty plea, by way of a reduction in the penalty which is imposed.
If you plead guilty at the first opportunity, typically regarded as the first hearing, you will receive a reduction in your fine of 1/3 or 33%. If you plead guilty at a later stage in the proceedings you will still get credit for your guilty plea but the amount of credit will reduce on a sliding scale, so that if you plead guilty moments prior to your trial your credit will probably be no more than 10%.
It should be noted that this credit strictly applies to your fine and not to the number of penalty points imposed on your license or the length of any disqualification. Although, it is generally accepted that the magistrates will tend to be more lenient in the length of disqualification imposed if you plead guilty as opposed to being convicted after trial.
- Can I ask for time to pay my fine?
Most magistrates courts will ask you to pay your fine immediately or at least make some contribution towards it on the day of your hearing. If however, you simply do not have the means to pay or are experiencing financial difficulty, the court will take into account your financial circumstances and if appropriate will allow you time to pay.
In many cases where there is a question over a persons ability to pay, the court will impose a 14 day collection order, meaning that the fine must be paid in full within 14 days or alternative arrangement must be made with the courts fines officer. If you do neither, the amount you owe may be increased and bailiffs may be instructed to recover the money.
If you cannot pay your fine or have any difficulty in doing so as agreed, you should immediately contact your local court fines office and explain the situation. They will usually be able to assist and providing that your position is understandable a new payment plan may be agreed.
- What happens if I don't pay my court fine? Can I go to prison?
Yes, although this should be the courts last resort and may only be imposed if your failure to pay is shown to be the result of a “wilful refusal” or “culpable neglect”.
A sentence of imprisonment will never be imposed without at least one hearing before the court, a “means enquiry”, which will allow you opportunity to explain your financial circumstances and your reasons for non-payment.
If you are required to attend court in such circumstances you should immediately seek legal advice.