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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 69527
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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On 11 Dec 2013, I was driving on the A1, (visiting my mother

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On 11 Dec 2013, I was driving on the A1, (visiting my mother who was in hospital). I approached a roundabout that had several lanes and four exits. I was in the far side lane and wanted to drive straight over to the second exit. I did not change lanes at any time. There was quite a lot of traffic in front of me going the same way and I couldn’t proceed until there was a safe gap to do so. I moved forward onto the roundabout lane and was stationary for about 8 seconds when I felt someone lightly ‘bump’ my car, on the drivers rear side, it was another driver – I admit I didn’t stop as the road was a red route (no stopping) but mostly was worried about mother and I continued my journey. A few weeks later, I got a letter from the insurance company to say that I bumped into someone else’s car (a cab driver), alleging that I changed lanes and that I did not stop to exchange details and that he had a witness (she is not willing to attend court). Anyhow, I completed the form, (sent photos of the car and a road layout) and soon after someone from the insurance company came to inspect the car, he asked me about some scratches on the car, but they were made by driving through a narrow bollards. No one mentioned if there were CCTV camera footage at such a busy junction. After that visit, I heard nothing from the insurance. Then I got a message from the police asking me to go to the station make a statement, which I did and he said I would be charged with driving without due care and attention. The other party claimed that I ran into the passenger’s side door and bumper and drove off! This was untrue, he drove into me and conjured up an alleged witness.

Anyway, I have now received a court summons to say whether I plead guilty or not. I have no idea what to do, I have never been in trouble with the law until now, due to a greedy and dishonest driver. I am not guilty of causing an accident, just naïve enough to drive away from one I did not cause. What are the chances of points on licence and a fine, if I plead “not guilty” to the accident, but “guilty” to driving away and not stopping? Or should I get a solicitor to deal with this, but I am not on a decent income? I don’t understand why does a “not guilty” plea does not mean a first court attendance, but must be done by post?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Are you asking if you should plead guilty?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

In a way, yes. As I've mentioned before, I did not do a 'hit and run' as the other party is claiming, so I don't think I should plead guilty, but what I find confusing is there are two questions to which you plead guilty or not guilty. One of them asks if you caused the accident - I did not and then the other says did you drive away without exchanging details, which I admit I did. So what I find confusing is that the summons says if you plead not guilty, then you don't need to attend court, but then one of the questions would be answered as guilty and the other as not guilt. To be frank, I am finding this whole process a bit of a maze.


 


Also shuld I chase up the insurance company to get the conclusions into who they feel caused the accident?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Are you summonsed for failing to stop and report or just for undue care and attention ?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

This was written under Offences on the summons:


"..On 11/12/2013 at Mill Hill NW7 drove a mechanically propelled vehicle, namely (make of car and registration) on a road, namely Watford way without due care and attention. Contrary to section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. This Offence carries penalty points..."


 


Then it it also says "....On 11/12/2013 at Mill Hill NW7 being the driver of a mechanically propelled vehicle, namely a (make and reg of car), owing to the presence of which on a road, namely Watford Way, an accident occurred whereby damage was caused to another vehicle, failed to stop and on being required by a person having reasonable grounds for so requiring failed to give your name and address and the name and address of the owner and identification marks of the vehicle. Contrary to section 170(4) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988..."


 


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Ok. So, in short, you are summonsed for both.

Did you stop and exchange your details at scene? Please don't put yourself to detail. Just yes or no will be fine.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No. as I explained in my very first question, the driver bumped into me, not the other way round. The other party is lying.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Yes, I've seen that. So why didn't you stop? Or did you report to a police station within 24 hours?

 

If not then its bad news.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

My mother had a heart attack, so I was on my way to the hospital (a six hour drive) when the cab driver went into me. Also the road was a red route (no stopping), so I was confused about stopping or not, to check the damage to my car. I was more concerned about my mother,compared to a lying cab driver bumping into me.


 


So what is the bad news then?


Also shall I chase up the insurance company to obtain their findings?


Honestly, I wasn't aware of having to report this to apolice station within 24 hours. What a hard lesson learned.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks.

If you are involved in a collision of any kind, whether your fault or not, then you are under an obligation to stop and exchange details or report to a police station within 24 hours. If you have not done that then you have no defence to failing to stop and report which is the more serious offence.

Driving without due care and attention is obviously something you can defend. Obviously I haven't had vision of this case but if it comes down to who shunted who then it will depend who was believed. The Court will take very seriously any independent witness though unless, of course, their evidence can be undermined. Its not likely that an independent witness will be found to be lying but it might be found that they couldn't see reliably or just that the manner of driving alleged doesn't amount to careless driving.

Failing to stop and report carries 5 - 10 points, up to 6 months custody and an unlimited fine. It will be 5-6 points and a fine.

They might drop the failing to stop if you offer a plea to careless driving but here its the careless driving that you dispute so thats not an option.

You can attend to enter a plea but you can also do it by post. What you can't do by post is any plea bargaining though.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 69527
Experience: Over 5 years in practice.
Jo C. and other Traffic Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes please. I don't actually know what plea bargaining is an how it works? So are you saying that because I failed to stop and report - pleading 'guilty' is better because that cannot be contested?


 


However the idea that I was driving without due care and attention - is the one that I can contest as 'not guilty'? If I can provide sufficient evidence? On the summons form, I cannot recall whether there was an option for plea bargaining, just whether you are guilty or not.


 


So am I right in thinking that if I say I am guilty for the first offence - go to court and do a plea bargaining for the second offence, when I am there? Please help, this legalese is going over my head.


 


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
You can't contest it but I would offer a plea to that in exchange for dropping careless driving.

There isn't an option for plea bargaining. You have to do that by attending court and making offers to the prosecutor.

Just don't fill out the forms. Attend court and enter pleas in person.

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