Hi. Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.
I am extremely worried
I'm just reading through this.
I am more concerned about my chances of being convicted of dishonesty or perverting the course of justice
Did you know that you were providing false details at the time?
Yes I suppose so - I wanted the problem to go away and was under a great deal of stress but it was only after I had done it I realised what I had done. It was a complete and utter error in judgment.
I cannot really give you any good news.
I suspect you can probably see that already.
Ultimately this is perverting the course of justice and people go to prison for that even on first offences sadly.
However, you can only really deal with the issues ahead.
Are there any mitigating factors the police are likely to take into account? Like me being honest with them at this early stage?
The leading case does make clear that the length of time for which the falsehood was maintained is an aggravating feature.
Its difficult to say really.
It has been 2 weeks
There are other options to perverting. Wasting police time is one.
Also, although the case law is fairly clear that people should go to prison, there are occasions where they do give people cautions.
I was a police station rep for years before I went to the bar and they do caution people sometimes.
One other alternative is to confess without commenting on whether or not you knew at the time that the nomination was wrong. Obviously you cannot lie but its possible to say that the nomination was wrong.
They could come round and arrest you and then you are in the same position but its possible they would just amend it.
If I respond back to the police now (they have given me 2 weeks by which to respond) and advise I made an error and I was in fact driving at the time are they likely to question me further?
You would have to be very careful over what you said to avoid setting down anything untrue.
I don't think you can say you made an error as that is not true.
What should I say then? It was an error in Judgment
The problem with this is that they are clearly concerned as they are asking for details. Unfortunately this is a well known scam in the UK.
I think the closest you can come is to say that your nomination was wrong as that is true.
They may well still investigate why it was wrong but they may not.
I am extremely concerned and want to know the best action to take now
Its really damage limitation now.
You cannot maintain this as that would be a more serious offence. The only way forward is to tell them the nomination was wrong.
I see - I am not a bad person, I just had a momentary lapse in Judgment - are the police likely to see this and take compassion or not?
Nobody can guarantee that you won't be prosecuted but its more likely if you don't confess.
Its a really difficult question.
Perverting the course of justice strangely does often involve people who are not habitual criminals.
I intend to come clean, I just want to know the best way to go about it….I am not intending to lie continuously and see what happens
In fairness, not everybody gets an immediate custodial sentence either. Some people do get suspended sentences.
What is a suspended sentence? Does this mean I will have a criminal record and it will affect my employment?
Yes, if you are prosecuted then it will be a criminal conviction and it may well affect employment I'm afraid. It depends what you do obviously.
If you are given a caution then that is an improvement.
will the offence be perverting the course of justice?
a caution - is this a criminal record?
They might give you a fine for wasting police time which would be a great deal.
No, a caution is an internal method of dealing with it but it does show on CRB checking.
Actually on the case law nobody should be getting cautions but they are sometimes.
how much would the fine be?
For wasting police time its a fixed penalty of £100.
But that would be a good deal.
ok I want to come clean - I do not want this to hang over me as I am moving house
Yes, I think overall its your best option.
They are clearly concerned.
Is it best that I write to them and advise I am extremely sorry but the nomination details were incorrect and I was the driver at the time?
I think thats the best way you can phrase it.
Nobody can guarantee that you won't be prosecuted.
and then enclose a cheque for the fine and my licence for them to process the points?
But the sooner you confess the less likely it is and the more likely you are to get leniency.
Don;t enclose a cheque.
That will just antagonise.
I should not enclose a cheque? Why not -?
You are at risk of a custodial sentence starting at three months.
The speeding offence is not the issue.
That will be a red rag to a bull.
Just wait to see their response to your disclosure.
Then what should I say…….ask them to provide me with the form again so that I may fill it out correctly?
Generally speaking I don't tell people to confess but I don't see that you have any option here.
How should I leave it?
Just write to them saying no more than that the nomination was wrong and that you were the driver.
See what their response is.
You might be lucky.
They don't prosecute everybody.
SHould I call them after I have sent the letter to see if they have received it and perhaps speak to someone?
No, send it off recorded delivery.
Verbal conversations are always dangerous.
Ok I shall write and wait for their reply
If you just tell them the nomination was wrong then that doesn't go far enough to be confession to perverting.
But it tells them what they need to know to avoid perjury or the higher ranges of sentence for perverting.
SHould I enclose my licence?
Its dancing on words really but its your best chance.
I wouldn't comment on the speeding matter or enclose your licence. They will almost certainly know you are on 6 points.
IF they come back to me and wish to take this further will I be summoned to court?
If they prosecute the speeding then just plead and take your medicine.
They may invite you in for an interview for perverting the course of justice.
I am not concerned about the speeding I am concerned about having a criminal record for perverting the course of justice
If so, then its to be hoped a caution is available.
Yes, I do understand.
If they invite me for an interview should I have legal representation present?
They will offer you a solicitor which you should accept.
They can at least negotiate the best deal for you.
ok - is it possible they will contact me over the telephone to speak to me?
They might invite you by telephone.
They can come and arrest you but probably they won't. Its not that type of offence.
IS there any chance they will take into account the length of time? The fact that I have come forwards within just 2 weeks of the offence?
as opposed to leaving it for a longer time?
They will take that into account.
The case law specifically condemns people who have maintained the deception for a long period of time.
should i mention this in my letter that i am coming forwards at this early stage?
No. Say nothing like that. Less is more in a case like this.
You are dancing on words already and further comment is dangerous.
You can always say how sorry you are as that could be admission or it could be a polite apology.
ok - should i say something like I have now come to realise that the nomination form was incorrect and I am deeply apologetic
I don't think you can say that you have now come to realise.
That is not true.
You will lose the mitigation if you say something else that is untrue.
I do think you could say that the nomination was wrong and you are very sorry.
That is a neutral comment telling them what they need to know and no more.
what if they ask me more questions about why the nomination was wrong
Well then they will have to do that at the station under caution and unless they are offering a caution it probably should be a no comment interview.
and under those circumstances should i get legal representation
Yes, absolutely. They will offer you a solicitor.
how long is this matter likely to take to be resolved?
Probably about a month.
is it possible that the police will weigh up economics of having the resources to pursue a matter such as this and drop it?
They don't make that decision anyway. CPS do.
And they do not concern themselves at all with public money in my experience.
do you think the CPS will review this type of case and want to take it further?
There is a risk that could happen I'm afraid.
is there a chance they will not take it further? if so what are the chances?
Yes, there is a chance.
If i am cautioned will this still affect my chances of employment - esp if it shows I was cautioned for perverting the courser of justice?
It depends what you do but a caution will show I'm afraid.
I am in the legal profession - will this affect me?
I am sorry but that will I'm afraid.
I wish I could give you a different answer but things like that strike at the heart of the profession.
does this mean i will lose my practicing certificate?
You will have to declare it to the professional body and it probably will.
oh my god
I'm really sorry and I wish I could say something else but thats the type of thing that they will not tolerate.
that this mean i will never be able to practice law again?
It wont' assist you all that much if you are cautioned either.
The best hope you have is that they will not prosecute it but will just accept your correction.
what if i am cautioned for wasting police time?
Wasting police time is better as it doesn't imply for certain that you have asserted some form of falsehood.
Probably the professional body would want an account for it though.
and i would have to tell them i completed some details incorrectly to the police?
I've never been in that position but I imagine they would want a fair amount of detail I'm afraid.
and then i would need to tell my present employers
Thats an employment issue which isn't really my area. Probably there is a clause in your contract requiring you to disclose but you would need to check that with an employment lawyer.
I have known a solicitor be allowed to continue to practice when she was convicted of not paying her TV licence.
i am so worried
Yes, I understand.
I wish I had a magic wand.
Its all a case of risk management now.
all i can do is write to the police tomorrow and advise that the nomination form was incorrect and i apologise for the error
Its to be hoped you are lucky.
They do not follow every falsehood up.
People are always making false reports to the police. If they prosecuted everything the courts would be full of perverting cases. You may be lucky.
Yes, that is all you can do now. You cannot maintain it and if you say no more than that then you will telling the truth.
ok i will take your advise and hope for the best
I really hope it works out for you.
thank you for all your help - at least now I know what to do…….I am not a bad person and did not have any malicious intent. I just hope they realise this and are more concerned with all the murderers and rapists!
No problem and all the best.
Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’.
Best of luck.