Price Transparency Policy for Summary Only Motoring Offences

COBLEYS SOLICITORS LTD

PRICE TRANSPARENCY POLICY FOR SUMMARY ONLY MOTORING OFFENCES

This policy is prepared by Cobleys Solicitors Ltd in order to provide clients with an easy to understand, transparent guide on the prices we charge for privately paid, summary only motoring offences.

What is a summary only offence?

A summary offence is an offence that can only be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court and cannot be heard by a judge and jury in the Crown Court.

Examples of summary only motoring offences?

Common examples of summary only motoring offences are:

1. Speeding
2. Using a mobile phone whilst driving
3. Failing to comply with traffic signals
4. Careless driving
5. Failing to stop or report an accident
6. Failing to name a driver
7. Driving without insurance
8. Driving without a licence
9. Driving with excess alcohol
10. Driving under the influence of drugs
11. Drunk in charge of a motor vehicle

Legal Aid

For the majority of motoring cases save the most serious in which there is a significant risk of a custodial sentence, legal aid is unavailable. Therefore, if you wish to be legally represented you would have to engage the services of a solicitor on a private paying basis.

Why would I need to instruct a solicitor privately?

When you are charged or summoned to attend Court regarding a motoring offence, you are at risk of having penalty points placed on your licence or even being disqualified from driving.

For more serious matters there is a risk of a community based punishments and even in some cases, a custodial sentence.

Trials

The court can be an intimidating place and if you believe you are innocent it can be even more so. That is no different with respect to motoring offences.

We defend all different types of motoring offence, meticulously reviewing the evidence and thoroughly cross examining witnesses to give you the best possible chance of an acquittal.

If you plead guilty or found guilty following trial for a motoring offence, your solicitor can still argue that you should not be disqualified in certain circumstances:

Exceptional Hardship

When you reach 12 or more points on your licence, you may be disqualified from driving.

The starting point for the court is to disqualify for 6 months.

However, the court may be persuaded not to disqualify you or disqualify you for less than 6 months if they can be convinced that a disqualification will cause you and others real and significant detriment. In other words, exceptional hardship.

If you are at risk of a disqualification, please call us today where we will do all we can to save your licence and protect your livelihood.

Special Reasons

Even if you are technically guilty of an offence, it may be possible to run a special reasons argument. If successful, the Court then has the discretion to either reduce the level of disqualification they would have ordinarily imposed or, they may decide not to disqualify you at all.

The special reason advanced must meet four criteria:

1. It must constitute a mitigating or extenuating circumstances
2. It cannot amount in law to a defence
3. It must be directly connected with the commission of the offence; and
4. It must be one which the court ought to properly take into consideration when imposing sentence.

Typical examples of a special reason argument in motoring offences can include:

No Insurance – genuinely and reasonably believing that you were covered under a policy to drive a vehicle, in which the charge relates, for the circumstances in which the vehicle was driven.

Speeding – if the only reason for the speed was due to an emergency which is reasonable in all the circumstances.

Drink Driving – if you believe your drinks were spiked and expert evidence can confirm that if the laced element of the drink consumed was the only reason you were over the legal limit, a special reason could exist.

The above is not an exhaustive list and if you believe you have a special reason which may save your licence, call us today.

Timescales

The majority of guilty pleas are dealt with on one occasion and therefore conclude on that day.

Trial cases for summary only motoring offences will usually conclude within 3 months of the first court appearance. Trial cases usually accommodate up to three hearings (1st appearance, case management hearing and trial).

That said, timescales can vary from case to case.

What we charge

Guilty pleas – concluded in one court session

We charge a fixed fee of £800 + VAT. .

This fixed fee includes consideration of the evidence in the case, taking initial instructions from you and advice on please. Thereafter, a solicitor will represent you at the court hearing over one court sessions (morning or afternoon).

The above fee does not include interviewing witnesses and thereafter, drafting witness statements, instructing expert witnesses, representations at trial or exceptional hardship or special reasons applications, all of which are considered below.

The above fixed fee is based on your being represented in our local courts, those being Liverpool, Wirral and Sefton Magistrates’ Court. Any matter outside of these courts, travel will be charged at £50 per hour + VAT + travel expenses (mileage is charged at 60p per mile).

Guilty pleas – concluded over more than one court session

If the hearing extends beyond one session, for example, falls into the afternoon or is adjourned to a different day owing to a lack of court time, there will be an additional charge of £300 + VAT.

Exceptional Hardship/Special Reasons

We charge a fixed fee of £1,000 + VAT for an application for exceptional hardship and we charge a fixed fee of £1,250 + VAT for an application for special reasons.

The fixed fee includes consideration of the evidence in the case, obtaining mitigation, consideration of any evidence which assists the applications to be put forward and representation at Court for the exceptional hardship/special reasons argument.

The fixed fee does not include instructing expert witnesses. Expert witnesses’ costs will be quoted by the expert and then, with your consent, agreed prior to any report/statement being completed. Expert costs must be paid prior to instruction.

If the hearing extends beyond one session, for example, falls into the afternoon or is adjourned to a different day owing to a lack of court time, there will be an additional charge of £300 + VAT.

The above fixed fee is based on your being represented in our local courts, those being Liverpool, Wirral and Sefton Magistrates’ Court. Any matter outside of these courts, travel will be charged at £50 per hour + VAT + travel expenses (mileage is charged at 60p per mile).

Trials

We charge a minimum fixed fee of £1,500 + VAT.

This includes representation at your first court appearance where a not guilty plea will be entered, consideration of the evidence served by the prosecution, taking your instruction on that evidence, preparation of cross – examination and trial points to be made at trial as well as being represented by an advocate at the hearing. We will also represent you for sentence if you ended up being convicted for the offence.

For cases which are more complex, for example a case which has multiple trial issues, significant amounts of evidence, a large number of witnesses and including cases that will extend beyond a one – day trial, an estimated fee of additional costs will be given based on an hourly rate of £200 + VAT, in addition to the minimum fixed fee above.

The above fixed fee is based on your being represented in our local courts, those being Liverpool, Wirral and Sefton Magistrates’ Court. Any matter outside of these courts, travel will be charged at £50 per hour + VAT + travel expenses (mileage is charged at 60p per mile).

Disbursements

Disbursements are the additional costs in a case which will be recovered from you. These can include travel expenses (petrol/train fares) or the cost of expert reports (where necessary).

Additional Information

Where possible we will strive to ensure that we keep to the figures posted on this website.

There may be, of course, circumstances in which an unforeseen complexity in the case requires significant additional work which will not be covered under the fixed fee, however, we will never proceed with that work without your prior consent.

It is our overriding approach to be open and transparent with all our clients as to the work carried out on their behalf, the fees that cover that work and whether there will be any additional fees as the case progresses.

Cobleys Solicitors Ltd reserves the right to amend the fixed fees.

Who will represent me?

Daniel Wardle – Solicitor

Cobleys is delighted to announce the recruitment of Daniel Wardle in January 2021. Daniel is a solicitor and a specialist in motoring law and has been practicing in this arena since 2012, representing clients on a private basis.

Daniel gained a law degree and completed his Legal Practice Course at Northumbria University (Newcastle) in 2012.

Daniel has a wealth of experience working in busy legal practices, working initially as a civil and then criminal paralegal before qualifying as a solicitor in 2016.

Since 2012 and prior to joining Cobleys in 2021, Daniel exclusively assisted clients nationwide with private, summary only motoring offences. Daniel continues to specialise in motoring law and can assist with charges relating to drink driving, careless driving, speeding as well as allegations of no insurance and using a mobile phone whilst driving, amongst others. Since qualifying, Daniel has represented clients in the Magistrates’ Court, securing acquittals and protecting driving licences along the way.

Daniel is particularly skilled in legal research and ensuring attention to detail in order to achieve the best possible outcome for his clients.