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.
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 email@example.com
Last 5 posts by Paul Trincas
- Did You Know Your Driving Licence May Be Invalid? - January 17th, 2013
- WHAT DO POINTS MAKE ? - November 25th, 2010
- Safety or revenue stream? - July 1st, 2010
- Husband and Wife Fined for Not Knowing Who Was Driving - May 12th, 2010
- 'Totting Up' is bad for your business - April 26th, 2010