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The Law of the Road….!

Speeding Notices – Don’t be Tempted To Ignore Them

Paul Trincas - Motoring Law Expert

Paul Trincas

Paul Trincas, a motoring specialist with law firm, Charles Lucas & Marshall, explains the repercussions of failing to identify the driver when a speeding notice is issued.

Picture the scenario- you are the registered owner of a vehicle which a number of people in your family are authorised to drive – a not unfamiliar situation.

You then receive, out of the blue, a notice from the police indicating that the vehicle in question has been caught by a speed camera, exceeding the speed limit. The notice requests that you identify the driver.

What do you do?


  1. You were the driver – but decide to ignore it.

If you were the driver at the time, you consider that by ignoring the notice, the police cannot prosecute you for speeding, as they can only prosecute if they know the identity of the driver.

While it is correct the police can only prosecute for speeding if they can identify the driver, nevertheless, you are still required by law to respond to the notice within 28 days to identify the driver concerned.

If you simply ignore the notice, this will constitute a completely separate offence of ‘failing to identify the driver.’ This will result in you either receiving a conditional offer of a fixed penalty for failing to supply the information, or alternatively being summonsed to court.

What most drivers don’t realise is that the penalty for failing to identify the driver can be worse than if you had admitted being the driver in the first place. Most speeding offences, which do not involve high speeds, will normally only attract three penalty points on your licence plus a fine. However, a failure to identify the driver will attract a fixed six penalty points – double the points you would normally expect, plus a fine.

  1. You were the driver – but have agreed that someone else will take your points.

Tempting though this may be, under no circumstances should you even contemplate this.

You may already have a number of points on your licence and therefore agree with someone else, who may not have any points on their licence, that they be identified as the driver in order to take your points.

If it is subsequently discovered that you were in fact the driver, then this will undoubtedly result in you being prosecuted for perverting the course of justice, which is a serious criminal offence which can only be dealt with at the Crown Court and will almost inevitably result in a prison term.

Do not go there!

3. You genuinely do not know who the driver is.

In this instance, simply writing back to the police stating either that you do not know who was driving, or stating, for example, that it may have been either you or your wife -you cannot be sure- will not get you off the hook. As you have still failed to identify the driver, you will be liable for prosecution. Even though at the time you do not know who the driver is, because a number of people may have access to driving the vehicle, there is still a strict legal requirement for you to identify the driver. This means that the onus will be on you to make all reasonable and practical enquiries to ascertain the identity of the driver.

If you still cannot identify the driver, then you should still notify the police that this is the case.

In this scenario, you can plead the defence of ‘due diligence’, and if the court accepts that despite you making such enquiries, it was still impossible for you to identify the driver, then you will be acquitted of the offence.

For further information contact Paul Trincas on 01635 521212 or

Written by Paul Trincas

October 29th, 2015 at 4:32 pm

Posted in Fines,News,Points,Speeding

Tagged with , ,


Many, and probably most drivers, will be unaware of the fact that as of 8 June, the DVLA is no longer issuing the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence. Paul Trincas, a motoring law specialist with Charles Lucas & Marshall explains why.

Paul Trincas - Motoring Law Expert

Paul Trincas

So how, I hear you say, can a driver access, or check, their driving record containing endorsements or disqualifications ?

Simple, the DVLA say. You can view your driving record on-line, via the ‘View Driving Licence’ service which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The system is free and will involve logging in by providing your driving licence number/personal details, post code and national insurance number.

For those who do not have access to the internet, drivers will also be able to check their driving record by phone or by writing to DVLA.

Third parties, such as employers, car-hire companies and others who presently check paper counterparts, will also be able to access this information on-line, but only with the consent of the driver under the new ‘Share Driving Licence’ service, which is still in development.

This service will allow those who have a ‘business need’ to do so, to check a driving record, free of charge, 24/7, and will be based upon access codes being shared.

The driving licence holder will be in control throughout and can choose who they wish to share such information with.

Alternatively, third parties can request record information by phone, by using the DVLA’s Premium Line, charged at the premium rate, currently, 51per minute, but only with the consent of the driving licence holder.

As of now, the existing paper counterpart licence has no legal status.

This is all part of the Government’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’ to remove unnecessary burdens on drivers.

Drivers are not required to do anything and all they are required to possess, after 8 June 2015, is their photocard driving licence.

The existing driving licence, whether photocard or paper, will be the only official document that will show what vehicles a driver may be entitled to drive.

From now on, instead of penalty points and disqualifications being recorded on the existing paper counterpart driving licence, such endorsements and disqualifications will only be recorded by the DVLA.

When a driver needs to either update their details eg- name, address etc or renew their driving licence, drivers will be issued with only one document- the photocard licence.

Finally, those drivers who were issued with paper driving licences only, before the photocard was introduced in 1998, should hold on to them and NOT destroy them, as, for these drivers, the paper driving licence is (for the time being at least) not being abolished.

For further information contact Paul Trincas on 01635 521212 or

Written by Paul Trincas

June 18th, 2015 at 10:58 am

Car Insurance -Don’t Be Caught Out By New Regulations

We are all familiar with the scenario where a driver drives a motor vehicle on a public road or place, but has no insurance, either because this is deliberate or because the insurance has lapsed without the driver realising it.

Paul Trincas - Motoring Law Expert

Paul Trincas

The driver in this scenario can have their licence endorsed with between six and eight penalty points and a face a maximum fine of £5,000.

However, how many people realise that nowadays, you don’t necessarily have to ‘drive’ a vehicle on a public road or place without insurance, to face possible prosecution for not having insurance ?

The provisions of The Road Safety Act 2006 are being introduced in stages and new provisions have now been introduced relating to the holding of a valid certificate of car insurance.

Previously, drivers could only be prosecuted for not having car insurance if they were caught ‘driving’ a vehicle on a public road or place without insurance being in force.

However, provisions introduced by Section 22 of the Road Safety Act 2006 create a new and additional offence and now impose an additional obligation – not on the driver of a vehicle but on ‘the registered keeper’ of a vehicle to have a valid insurance certificate in force, ‘whether or not the vehicle is driven on the road’. 

In short, under the new provisions, if a registered vehicle does not meet the insurance requirements, the person in whose name the vehicle is registered is guilty of an offence, simply by virtue of being the registered keeper of the vehicle. This new provision intends to combat uninsured driving.

Unlike being caught ‘driving’ on a public road or place without insurance, this new offence does not carry any endorsement, but does carry a maximum fine of £1,000 upon prosecution. Such an offence may lead to a fixed penalty of £100.

It is therefore possible to detect the new offence simply from driving records of registered keepers held by DVLA and insurance records.

So, for example, if a registered keeper decides they do not wish to use the registered vehicle on the road and simply keeps it off road, say on their driveway and therefore cancels the insurance, unless they have provided a written ‘notification’ to DVLA, they will be caught by the new provisions.

The Act contains certain exceptions to prosecution for the new offence where a registered keeper does not have insurance on a vehicle, eg where the vehicle, as in the above example, is not kept for use on the roads or has been stolen or has been disposed of or where the vehicle is no longer kept by the registered keeper.

However, such exceptions will only apply, provided, in the first instance, the registered keeper has submitted ‘written notification’ to DVLA of the change. Unless the registered keeper has provided written notification they will be liable to prosecution.

For further information contact Paul Trincas on 01635 521212 or

Written by Paul Trincas

February 26th, 2015 at 8:30 am

Why Do People Treat Motoring Offences So Flippantly ?

Having specialised in motoring and road traffic offences for 35 years, I am still bewildered as to why so many people treat motoring offences as if they are of little consequence and will have little impact on their lives.

Paul Trincas - Motoring Law Expert

Paul Trincas

The initial relaxed and laid back attitude of many clients when they come through the door soon turns to despair and fear once the implications of what they have done is explained to them.

The days when courts used to treat motoring offences as secondary to mainstream crime are long gone. Courts have become hardened to the offending motorist and penalties imposed nowadays are far reaching and can have a significant impact on the motorist’s continued employment and livelihood.

Below are a couple of examples I am faced with on an almost daily basis:

Example 1

A client has been summonsed for speeding on the motorway, driving at 110mph. He expects to receive a limited fine and three penalty points on his licence. I have to advise him that for such a high speed, the courts will be looking at not only a hefty fine, but more importantly, a discretionary period of disqualification of between 4-6 weeks.
Example 2

A client has been summonsed for speaking on a mobile phone whilst driving, not expecting it is any great crime. His licence shows he already has nine penalty points on his licence. He expects to get only three penalty points and a small fine.

I have to advise him that although mobile phone offences carry a fixed three penalty points, the fact that he already has nine penalty points means he will become what is known as a ‘totter’ – a motorist who has totted up 12 or more points in any three year period. For any driver who accumulates twelve or more points in this period, the court must, by law, disqualify him for a minimum period of six months. ie, it will affect not only him, but his family – and he faces the prospect of losing his job if his employment depends on driving.

While it is open to the driver to argue that such a period of disqualification will cause him and his family ‘exceptional hardship’, the threshold for persuading the court not to disqualify is quite a high one. Courts, who time and time again have heard all the arguments going in attempts to avoid such disqualification, are wise to the arguments and hardened to them.

For further information contact Paul Trincas on 01635 521212 or

Written by Paul Trincas

October 7th, 2014 at 11:13 am

Motorists Beware  – New Increased Fines In Force Soon

Under Government proposals, motorists who break the law will soon face significantly increased levels of fines. Paul Trincas,  a motoring law specialist with Charles Lucas & Marshall, explains the new legislation.

The proposals will be brought into force under the provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and herald the first significant increase in levels of fines to be imposed in magistrates courts since 1991.

What this means, is that the unwary motorist who falls foul of the motoring laws, will face a significant increase in fines, compared to the present position.

For most of the common types of motoring offences that magistrates’ courts deal with on a daily basis, the maximum fines will be increased by a staggering 400%. Even worse, where the existing maximum fine in the magistrates’ court is £5,000 or more, the courts will have the power to impose ‘unlimited’ fines.

The most common types of motoring offences regularly and routinely dealt with by magistrates’ courts, such as speeding, drink-driving, driving without insurance, bald tyres, driving without due care and attention, will all be subject to this hike in the maximum fines.

To demonstrate the significance, the comparison table below illustrates the current and future position:

Offence                                  Current Max fine                  Proposed new Max fine

Speeding                                                 £1,000                                     £4,000

Careless Driving                                   £5,000                                     £Unlimited fine

Driving above alcohol limit            £5,000                                     £Unlimited fine

No Insurance                                       £5,000                                     £Unlimited fine

Defective Brakes                                   £2,500                                     £10,000

Using mobile phone whilst driving        £1,000                                     £4,000

Failing to wear seat belt                         £500                                        £2,000

While on the one hand, this is seen as a clear and serious attempt by the Government to clamp down on flouting motorists, there are some commentators who have suggested that motorists are ‘soft’ targets and the changes are a simple and easy method of increasing revenue.

A potential spin-off which has been raised by many commentators is that, motorists faced with court prosecution, even if they feel they are not guilty, may very well be tempted to minimise their risk and exposure to a higher level of fine, by pleading guilty and receiving a lower fine – rather than risk being faced with a much higher fine if they are subsequently convicted after a trial.

A further cause of concern is that such hikes in the levels of fines may well see motorists, who are issued with fixed penalty notices which they can challenge in court, being deterred from going to court to challenge such notices where they don’t believe they are guilty of an offence.

There is no doubt that these proposals are controversial and views will differ according to which side of the fence you sit on.

For further information contact Paul Trincas on 01635 521212 or

Written by Paul Trincas

July 25th, 2014 at 10:31 am

Posted in Fines,Points,Speeding

Tagged with , ,

Careless Drivers – Beware

Careless drivers across Britain can now be punished with ‘on-the spot’ police fines and endorsements. Paul Trincas, a motoring law specialist with solicitors, Charles Lucas & Marshall explains what it will mean.

The new procedures will enable the police to tackle the three top ‘pet hates’ of drivers: tailgaters, middle lane hoggers and mobile phone abusers. The main examples of careless or inconsiderate behaviour driving the new measures are:-

  • Tailgating Driving too close to a vehicle in front
  • Lane-hogging–  such as cruising and hogging the middle or outside lanes
  • Overtaking and pushing into a queue of traffic
  • Failing to give way at a junction
  • Overtaking on the inside
  • Running a red traffic light
  • Using mobile phone whilst driving

Anyone now guilty of lesser offences of careless driving will have to decide whether they want to accept the ‘on the spot’ fixed penalty of £100 and three penalty points on their licence.

Alternatively, in such a situation, drivers may be offered the chance to attend a driving course instead, and thereby avoid the fixed fine and penalty points.

Drivers, if they dispute the matter, will always retain the option of appealing through the courts. However, if they do so, and lose, then they risk higher penalty points being endorsed on their licence as well as a higher fine and court costs.

However, the more serious examples of careless driving will still go through the courts in the usual way, where higher penalty points and fines can be imposed.

Why the new measures ?

Until now, for all offences of careless or inconsiderate driving, it has been necessary to issue a summons and take the matter to court, a process which was considered by many, to be time consuming and a waste of resources for the ‘less serious’ offences of careless driving.

It meant that ‘minor’ driving offences went unpunished because of the bureaucracy involved.

The new procedures are targeted at poor, negligent and aggressive drivers, who hitherto, had gone unpunished. The idea is to target such offenders without the need for lengthy court procedures.

Are the new measures necessary ?

For those drivers who are guilty of the lesser offences of careless driving, this will enable them to accept the simplified ‘on the spot’ fixed penalty procedure, without having to go through, and endure, the court system.

However, on the other hand, for those drivers who are innocent of such offences, human nature as it is, they may well be tempted to accept the ‘on the spot’ fixed penalty, even though they do not accept their guilt, simply to avoid the hassle and risks involved in disputing the issue through the courts.

For further information contact Paul Trincas on 01635 521212 or

Written by Paul Trincas

September 9th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Did You Know Your Driving Licence May Be Invalid?

It has been estimated that over 2 million drivers are unwittingly driving their motor vehicles without realising that their driving licences are out of date and have expired !!

This could land you with a fine of up to £1,000, and penalty points on your driving licence.

For those limited number of drivers who still use the old fashioned “all-paper licences”, which have now ceased to be issued, these are usually valid until the driver’s 70th birthday as long as their personal details are correct.

However, confusion has arisen in relation to the new “photo-card driving licences”, which were first issued in 1998. Drivers believe that their photo-card licences last for life. However, that is not so.

Unlike the old all-paper driving licences, which generally lasted until the age of 70 before requiring renewal, the new photo-card licences are only valid for a period of 10 years from date of issue.

Once the initial 10 year period has elapsed, the driver has to apply to renew that licence, if that licence is to remain valid beyond that 10 year period, and the driver will have to re-apply, every 10 years thereafter.

The reason such photo-card licences, unlike the old all-paper licences, have to be renewed every 10 years is so that the photograph can be updated to show the current likeness of the driver.

Statistics show that since 2010, almost three quarters of a million drivers have been caught driving with an out of date photo-card driving licence.

In addition to facing being fined and having points on your licence, of equal, or greater significance, is the fact that it could also render your motor insurance policy invalid !!

The reason for this is that, under the road traffic legislation, the “entitlement” to drive has ceased.

This unsatisfactory state of affairs has been contributed to by the fact that, on the front of the new photo-card driving licence, underneath the driver’s name and date of birth, are two sets of figures, “4a” and “4b”, without further explanation. It is only when you turn to the reverse side of the photo-card that, in the smallest of print, is written that 4a is the date the photo-card licence was issued and 4b is when the photo-card licence is valid to. Nothing on the photo-card licence tells you when the photo-card licences must be renewed.

The plain fact of the matter is that there is no obligation on the part of the issuing authority, unlike vehicle tax reminders, to write to you to remind you that you must renew the licence.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you diarise the expiry date of your photo-card driving licence and apply for renewal in time- otherwise you face the consequences referred to above.

For further information contact Paul Trincas on 01635 521212 or

Written by Paul Trincas

January 17th, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Avoiding Penalty Points Is Not Worth The Risk

The recent decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to charge former Cabinet Minister, and Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, with perverting the course of justice in relation to an alleged speeding offence has brought home to people both the dangers and legal implications of trying to get others to take their penalty points for them. Paul Trincas, a lawyer and motoring specialist at Charles Lucas & Marshall explains why it is such a serious offence.

Speed Camera

Avoiding Penalty Points

The allegation against Chris Huhne, arises from an alleged speeding offence which dates back to 2003. In short, it is alleged by the prosecution that he was the driver on the occasion in question but that he named his former wife as the driver in order to avoid taking the penalty points. These are facts which Chris Huhne strongly denies.

However, the above scenario is one that, I, in my professional capacity, have come across, I regret to say, on more occasions than I would care to remember.

Whenever someone’s vehicle is caught by a speed camera exceeding the limit, the normal procedure is that the police will send, initially to the registered keeper, a Notice, under section 172 Road Traffic Act 1988 requiring the registered keeper to identify the driver. Failure to nominate and identify the driver, itself, constitutes an offence, carrying six penalty points and a fine of up to £1,000.

During my professional career, I have been faced, on many occasions, with having to advise people who have been served with such a notice to nominate and identify the driver of the vehicle in question, and who ask words along the lines –

“Well, what if I say that my wife/husband was driving ? “

It is clear that when people ask this question, they have no idea, either of the implications or the ramifications of what they are asking, or indeed, of the consequent severe penalties involved.

Whilst I cannot compel such people to take the right course of action, it is my policy to strongly advise and warn clients against such a course of action and that if they embark upon this course of action, and if caught out, this will constitute a serious criminal offence which will be taken very seriously by the courts. They could then ultimately face a far more serious charge of perverting, or attempting to pervert, the course of justice.

The fact that such an offence is a Class 3 Offence which can only be dealt with by the Crown Court, simply serves to illustrate its seriousness.

The penalty, if convicted of perverting, or attempting to pervert the course of justice, is an unlimited fine and/or a maximum term of life imprisonment. Most offences, if proven, will almost inevitably result in an immediate term of imprisonment, such is the seriousness of the offence.

Rightly accepting they were the driver must surely be a small price to pay when compared with the widespread ramifications of taking the risk of knowingly and wrongly stating someone else was the driver.

For further information contact Paul Trincas on 01635 521212 or

Written by Paul Trincas

March 8th, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Posted in News


Paul Trincas - Motoring Expert

Paul Trincas - Motoring Expert

Paul Trincas, a specialist in motoring litigation with lawyers, Charles Lucas & Marshall explains some of the delusions drivers labour under when it comes to motoring offences.

The British System of Penalty Points for contravention of Motoring Laws can have a significant impact on a driver’s life and employment, as well as their families and employers.

Very often I deal with cases where the offending driver has very little appreciation of the far reaching implications for them and others.

Speeding Offences

Many people still think they will only get three penalty points if they commit a speeding offence.

What they don’t often appreciate is that by committing such a basic offence, they are liable to have their licences endorsed, not with only three penalty points, but with points ranging between three and six penalty points.

The higher the speed attained, the higher the number of points likely to be endorsed.

So, for example, someone driving at say 55-60 mph in a 30mph zone, is likely to be liable to have five or possibly, the maximum, six penalty points endorsed on their licence.

Even worse, is that any offence that carries penalty points also carries discretionary disqualification as an alternative. Therefore, where the speed is significantly over the speed limit, the court can impose a period of disqualification instead of penalty points.

Accumulation of penalty points

Where people already have penalty points and commit subsequent motoring offences, once they attain 12 penalty points within the relevant three year period, then, by law, they must be disqualified from driving for a minimum period of six months.

In this scenario, the implications for the driver can be far reaching. Many people I see in this situation think they will be let off the hook if they argue they will lose their job if they are disqualified from driving for six months. This is NOT SO.

To avoid disqualification, the driver will have to establish “exceptional hardship.” While there is no formal legal definition of exceptional hardship, guidance and case law have evolved to explain what is required and it is a huge hurdle to avoid the mandatory six month period of disqualification. There have been cases where courts have held that even the loss of job is not sufficient.

Failure to Identify Driver

People do not realise that whenever they are served by the police with a request to identify the driver of a vehicle – usually in speed camera cases – if they fail to respond, this will result in a hefty six penalty points endorsed on their licence. This offence previously carried only three penalty points but this has now been increased to six.

If a driver already has 6 penalty points on their licence, perhaps for two previous low speeding offences, then they fall into the trap of being disqualified from driving for a minimum period of six months.

Motoring law is often viewed by drivers as a minor transgression. Yet breaking the law can have horrendous consequences and ruin people’s lives.

For further information contact Paul Trincas on 01635 521212 or

Written by Paul Trincas

November 25th, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Posted in News

Safety or revenue stream?

As a solicitor dealing in motoring law, I see from the recent news that the police are now specifically targeting lorry drivers.

The clip I heard and saw on the news indicated that the police will now be driving around in their own lorries, with an officer videoing other lorry drivers’ actions in the cab whilst driving, on the basis that in normal police vehicles they simply cannot see into the cab.

As with the argument on speed enforcement cameras, i.e.  whether they actually save lives or whether they are simply a revenue spinner, I have to say, although I may be wrong, that this again smacks of big brother in yet another attempt at raising revenue, and is a relatively easy job for the police to do and again aiming at ” soft” targets.

Any thoughts would be welcome.

Written by Paul Trincas

July 1st, 2010 at 1:03 pm