“Something Olde, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, A Sixpence in your Shoe” – Part 2
These series of articles demystify and offer solutions to some worrying interactions that our children may have with the criminal justice system. The first instalment Something Olde spoke about the age of criminal responsibility and the impact that a criminal record could have upon a child’s future career. This second instalment discusses the rather dull subject of Road Traffic Law (“RTL”), and in particular the New Driver Regulations.
Something New –
A young person can apply for a provisional driving licence when 15 years and 9 months old. They can start driving a car when 17, or when 16 if they get, or have applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment. Said person can drive certain types of motorcycle from the age of 17, and a moped from the age of 16. Frightening times for parents, and the promise of glorious freedom for their progeny.
For two years after passing your driving test you are categorised as a New Driver. A full car or motorcycle licence is a relevant test. The two years runs from when you passed either. Should you receive a total of six points or more within this probationary period you will be revoked from driving. Our speedsters will turn from fast to furious and be compelled to reapply for their provisional driving licence and undertake a full retest should they wish to drive again. Currently there is a huge waiting lists for driving tests.
You do not have to be “of age” to receive points on your driving record. Points received pre-test will be added to those received post-test, where the offences are committed within three years of each other. For example, an underage person driving his parents’ car presumably without permission (taking motor vehicle without consent), cannot hold a driving licence, and neither will they have insurance. Driving without insurance results in six to eight points should the matter proceed to court (where not disqualified for the offence itself). Even if eight points, upon passing a full driving test, they can drive. Should that person receive even three more points within three years of having committed the older offence, the Regulations are activated.
Interestingly that person will not receive an endorsement of their driving record of penalty points for driving without a licence, because they could not have held a licence. Also, said young person can be disqualified from holding a licence, but they cannot commit the offence of driving whilst disqualified. The full list of all endorsable offences and penalties can be found at Schedule 2 Road Traffic Offenders Act 1998. Not great bedtime reading, but likely to send you to sleep.
The Courts will pay attention to a compelling argument to be disqualified instead of receiving penalty points, thereby avoiding revocation. Where disqualified from driving for the offence itself, you will not activate the Regulations.
Where guilty of the driving offence, mitigation needs to be offence and offender based. Important are the implications for that person should they be revoked from driving. More important is the impact upon other persons. We can explore and present mitigation points to achieve the best results.
Where a young person is faced with a conditional offer of fixed penalty for an offence that would place six penalty points on record, unless happy to be revoked that offer should not be accepted. The best forum is the court where there is some discretion as to disposal. This should be weighed against the risk of receiving higher penalty points and greater financial penalty.
Be aware that where revoked from driving under the Regulations, those points will still count for totting purposes. Should you receive twelve or more points within three years you will be disqualified from driving for at least six months unless you can successfully argue Exceptional Hardship.
Submitting mitigation arguments to suffer a ban instead of revocation, may not always be appropriate. It may be that a special reason exists not to receive penalty points, or even a defence. The law is difficult to navigate. We can steer your child racer to the best possible outcome.
Martin Crawford-Brown is a Senior Associate, Private Client Lawyer dealing with Criminal and Regulatory matters. He is a specialist in Road Traffic Law. Call now for a fee initial advice.
Speak to our Criminal Defence team.
To find out more about what this means for you, contact our expert Criminal Defence Team on 0330 999 4999 or email email@example.com
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