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Being Charged With a Motoring Offence

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 14 Apr 2011 | comments*Discuss
Driving Licence Offence Motoring

There are a great many different motoring offences, some of which are punishable by the issuing of a Fixed Penalty Notice - colloquially known as a ticket - which incurs a financial penalty and the allocation of points to your licence.

And then there are the motoring offences which require you to appear before a magistrate or a judge (depending on the nature of the Motoring Offence) after having been charged by the police.

Being Arrested

Before you can be charged with an offence the law states that you must be arrested on suspicion of committing said offence. A police officer may arrest you by the side of the road if he or she suspects that you have committed an offence for which you can then be taken to court.

If you have been stopped by the police then it is advisable to answer all questions to the best of your ability and in a manner befitting of an individual willing to help the police with their enquiries.

Many people find being stopped by the police a daunting affair and it can be. A lot of us feel as though we are guilty even when we have done nothing wrong - simply because the police have asked us to stop.

If you see the police in your mirror signalling for you to pull over or if they step out in front of you then you should indicate to traffic coming along behind you and pull over. Failure to stop at the request of the police is a criminal offence and can sometimes be misconstrued as being guilty of a crime when you are not.

Providing Proof of Identity

You will be asked firstly if the vehicle you are driving is yours; if so you should be able to provide proof of this with Insurance Documents, MOT and your driving licence. It is not a criminal offence at this point not to be able to provide proof of this but it can become a criminal offence later on. You will be given seven days to produce proof of ownership, right to drive (your driving licence) and also that the vehicle is insured and has a valid MOT (Ministry of Transport) certificate.

The Breath Test

Depending on the circumstances a police officer ask you to give a breath test. He or she may ask you to do this if they have grounds to suspect that you have been 'Drink Driving'. A drugs test is a little more complicated and can be requested if you are arrested and taken to a police station. Failure to consent to either a breath test or blood test can be taken as an admission of guilt and is a criminal offence.

Being Taken to the Police Station

If you are arrested on suspicion of an offence you will be taken to the nearest police station. If this happens then you will not be permitted to drive your vehicle and you will be asked for the keys. Your car may be submitted as evidence if you have been involved in an accident or if it looks as though it has been involved in an accident. If you are arrested on suspicion of any crime you must be cautioned. This caution remains in operation throughout the time of your arrest and will be read to you again should you be charged.

At the police station you will be again asked for a breath and blood test so that conclusive results can be gained. If there is sufficient evidence at this point you will be charged with the offence in question by the duty officer who will then arrange for you to be interviewed.

Being Interviewed

You will be interviewed and the interview will be recorded as well as written down in the form of a statement. You will be asked to make your own statement and at the end of which you will be asked to sign and date the statement. A copy of this statement will be given to you to aid in your defence should the offence go to court.

During this interview all relevant information will be put to you. You will be asked if you would like Legal Representation. If you have a solicitor and have been charged then it is best to request their presence. If not you will be asked if you would like a duty solicitor to be present. It is your right to refuse legal representation.

You may well be released on conditional police bail. This means that you will agree to appear before a magistrate on a specific date at a specific time. If there is doubt as to whether or not you will appear then the duty officer may request you be held in police custody until a hearing can be arranged.

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