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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 70508
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I have received a court summons regarding an accident back

Resolved Question:

I have received a court summons regarding an accident back in December 2013. A car collided with me whilst I was stationary on a roundabout, but the other driver is accusing me of running into him (which is not the case!).

Anyhow, I have been advised by a law firm that I do not need to reply to the summons by post or in person - just turn up at court on the date in question (4th August, 2014). I need to know what is the correct procedure?

There are 2 charges - 1, failing to stop after an accident, and 2, driving without due care and attention.

I need to reply within 1 week of receiving this summons. Do I reply as requested or follow the advice of the law firm?

If I do not respond to the summons and just turn up at the court hearing on 4th August as suggested by the law firm what would happen? (Contempt of court?).
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

Do you intend to plead guilty please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, I will plead guilty to not stopping, but will plead NOT guilty to driving without due care & attention.


I did not cause the accident.


 


 


 


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I presume its been suggested that you plead by post?

Or that they send somebody on your behalf?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No. The solicitor said do not respond to the Summons, not even by post. Instead, I have been advised to just attend the summons hearing date and he will be there too. I am concerned about not responding to a summons.


 


The options on the summons (Refering to both offences) state - Guilty by Post, Guilty at Court, or Not Guilty. In addition to this, it asks me if "I will be attending the court on 4th August - yes or no".


 


It appears that I have no option to plead 'Not Guilty' by either post or in court to one of the offences. The other offence I can plead guilty to by post / in court.


 


So, which is it?


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

I know the forms you have received are confusing and do read as though you must respond. In fact, there is no obligation to do that.

In legal theory there is a contempt of court in failing to answer a summons but its not going to be prosecuted.

You can enter a plea by post or you can attend court and plead.

If you don't do one of the other, the court will just direct a not guilty plea and either deal with the matter on the day or adjourn it for trial. If you want a trial then that is all very well but since you intend pleading guilty on at least one matter I'm not sure what the purpose that is being served is here. All it will do is rack up costs against you.

Obviously I haven't had full vision of this case and they will know more than me and for that reason their view may be more reliable but that is certainly my view of it.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So, it is okay not to reply to the summons.


 


What would happen then, if I don’t reply to the summons, then turn up on the court date on 4th August, would the 2 charges against me be entered as guilty, or not guilty? (I plead guilty of not stopping but not guilty of driving without due care & attention).


 


Would the court date still happen on 4th August if I do not reply to the summons?


 


Can you please clarify what you mean when you wrote ‘…If you don't do one of the other, the court will just direct a not guilty plea and either deal with the matter on the day or adjourn it for trial. If you want a trial then that is all very well but since you intend pleading guilty on at least one matter I'm not sure what the purpose that is being served is here. All it will do is rack up costs against you…’


 


I don’t understand what you are saying here. Can you explain this more clearly? Thanks.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
1 If you attend court on the day in question then you just enter pleas.

2 If you are summonsed to attend on the 4th August then that date should not change

3 I'm not sure how I can rephrase that. If you don't attend they will presume a not guilty plea and adjourn for a trial date or try you in absence. You will be liable for costs.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Okay,


 


1. So are you saying in your third point that if I don't turn up to the court date and if I don't reply to summons, the court will enter a 'not guilty' plea and the case arranged for another day for trial?


 


2. So are you saying that it is cheaper for me to just turn up on the day of the summons, inform the court of my pleas with my solicitor and the case will be dealt with there and then? Is that what you meant by saying it would increase my costs if I asked for the trial to be adjourned at a later date instead of the 4th August?


 


3. Is it cheaper to ensure the case is dealt with on that day?


 


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
1 Well, they could try you in absence on the day. It depends how long their list is. I think with these offences that they would have to adjourn because they won't have their witnesses at court.

2 If you intend pleading guilty then you should certainly attend and do so or plead by post.

3 You would reduce costs if you plead to everything but obviously then you cannot have a trial. I am just making the point that if you intend to plead guilty then you should do so early though.
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