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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71031
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have to go to court on Thursday -- two days from now -- because

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I have to go to court on Thursday -- two days from now -- because I have somehow run up four speeding offences. The last two occurred within an hour or so of one another last December when I was driving south (Scotland to the West Midlands) to visit my 90-year-old mother; I think the police must have been collecting for their Christmas boxes. Anyway I have to go to Carlisle to face the music -- at least, I presume it will be good if I go, though the letter implies that if I don't turn up they may decide the case anyway in my absence.
So: three questions.
First, am I right in assuming that it would be better to turn up (granted that I think it's likely they will hand me a 6-month ban whatever)?
Second, should I dress smartly and professionally -- I am a clergyman and also a professor at St Andrews -- or will that simply increase their desire to pull me down? -- i.e. would it be better if I dressed casually?
Third, are there any good argument I could make against a ban? We live 12 miles from my place of work, on a lonely country road a mile from the nearest bus stop and two miles from the nearest shops. In consequence I use the car to get in and out of St Andrews for work (and obviously for much else besides).
Thank you for your help
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
On your specific points
1 That is always a difficult question. Defendants who attend well dressed and behave with respect for the Bench are generally better off then absent defendants. Defendants who lose their temper and become abusive would be better off staying away. I realise that nobody plans to be abusive but some Magistrates would drive a saint to violence. However, since you are at risk of totting you really need to attend.
2 Yes, absolutely. Dress smartly. Magistrates are affected by that.
3 There is only one argument and that is exceptional hardship. That is a high test. It doesn't mean mere inconvenience. You have to show literally EXCEPTIONAL hardship. There has been case law that loss of job alone is not enough although it must be said that generally that is not followed.
If you are going to argue that applies then you are going to have to show that its literally impossible for you to get about without a car. In London that is hard to do but in other parts of the country that is often possible. At least, of course, everywhere has public transport but whether its public transport that will get you to work in time is another matter. You need to download train timetables etc if you going to raise that.
Remember you have the burden of proof to show exceptional hardship. That can be met but you need to take some positive action to do so.
Can I clarify anything for you?
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** is what I feared. I will turn up, keep my cool, dress smartly, and await my fate!
THanks again
***** *****
If you want to argue exceptional hardship then get to work on it tomorrow. One day is fine to collect the evidence.
No problem and all the best.
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