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Appearing in Court for a Motoring Offence

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 24 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
Driving Licence Court Magistrate

If you have been stopped by the police, cautioned then arrested and then bailed you will have to make an appearance before a magistrate; depending on the seriousness of the offence.

Most can be dealt with by a magistrate unless the offence has resulted in serious bodily injury or indeed the death of another individual.

Appearing Before a Magistrate for a Motoring Offence

If you are required to appear before a magistrate for a Motoring Offence the most likely course of action is that you will receive a summons from the court telling you on what date and what time to appear; obviously you will also be told which court to appear at and the nature of the offence for which you are required to present yourself to a magistrate.

Appearing before a magistrate may not require the assistance of legal representation if the offence in question is one which you are guilty of and have admitted as such upon your arrest by the police.

The most likely event will be that you will have been released from the custody of the police and commanded to appear before a magistrate on a given date at a given time. If this is the case then you must make sure that you do appear as and when instructed to do so; failure to do so will result in the magistrate issuing a warrant for your arrest.

If a magistrate is required to issue a warrant for your arrest then the police – or court officer working on behalf of the police – will be charged with the task of bringing you before the magistrate. It is important to note at this juncture that failure to appear before a magistrate does nothing to delay the inevitable but simply adds to the severity of the initial offence.

Legal Representation for Your Motoring Offence

You may require the assistance of a solicitor; if so it is advisable that you seek advice from a solicitor at your earliest possible convenient. If you have been arrested and charged with an offence you will be issued with copies of all the relevant paperwork upon your release from police custody and if this is the case it is best to present this paperwork to your solicitor as soon as possible so that he can begin building your defence, should you wish to defend your position.

Again worth noting is the fact that solicitors are there to Legally Represent you and give you the best possible advice; it is strongly advised that you listen carefully to the advice of your solicitor and if there is something you are unclear of, ask for clarification before proceeding.

Appearing in Court on the Summons Date

If you have been summonsed to appear before a magistrate it is important that you make the right impression. Obviously you have found yourself in a position where an offence has taken place and the police have charged you but this is no excuse to behave in a lacklustre manner.

There are a few things that are vital in addition to your defence. They are as follows:

  • Be punctual
  • Dress in the proper manner; a suit or shirt and tie are advised
  • Pay attention to the magistrate
  • Answer all questions clearly and concisely
  • Remember your surroundings
  • Bring all relevant paperwork with you - including your driving licence
  • Provide proof of your income
  • Make sure you have transport to and from the court (if you are disqualified the ban will come into effect immediately)

These may sound like common sense pieces of advice – and indeed they are – but it is remarkable just how many individuals appearing before a magistrate forget. If you are appearing before a magistrate he or she will ask you specific questions relating to the offence and they may well ask you to provide them with an explanation.

The court officer prior to the magistrate addressing you will have read out the offence – or offences you are charged with – and you will have the opportunity to answer as to how you plead. Again if you have been stopped by the police actively breaking the law there is no point in pleading not guilty.

Providing proof of your income is also a useful thing to do; it is likely that you will receive a fine for the offence if it is not sufficiently serious enough to warrant a court case involving a jury. If this is the case the magistrate will inform you of his or her judgment and will ask if you are in a position to pay the fine there and then. If you are not then you must provide the magistrate with details of your income so that a timetable of repayment can be arranged.

Again note that failure to keep up with the repayment of a fine issued by the court will result in the issuing of a warrant for your return to court where you may be given a custodial sentence in lieu of the fine.

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Our friend visited us from Germany and he had driven our car without our consent as we were at work and he was staying at our house and in the space of 4 days he was caught twice speeding at 35mph on a 30mph zone. However, he had admitted and when we received a letter regarding the speeding offence, we spent back with the alleged driver at the time, but for the second offence we didn't receive anything to respond too. A couple of months later we received a letter saying he had failed to respond and that we are to appear in court. The alleged driver he back in Germany and he has written a letter taking responsibility and to prove this he has sent a copy of his passport. My question is firstly will the court accept his letter of responsibility and who will be fined and given points? will it be us since the vehicle is registered in our name...
jb - 24-Aug-17 @ 3:55 PM
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