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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 71051
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hi, I was stopped by a unmarked police car and (when in their

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Hi, I was stopped by a unmarked police car and (when in their vehicle) shown an onscreen display showing my vehicle that indicated I was travelling at 98mph in a 60mph zone. This was just prior to midnight (the day before my birthday), the incident happened on a short section of dual-carriage way with no footpath or other vehicles in the vicinity - with the exception of the police car...

I appreciate I was exceeding the speed limit by some margin, but was surprised to see this was the recorded speed. Having not been stopped before, I didn't question whether the equipment was accurate/appropriately calibrated. I have been summons to court in 3 weeks time with forms to complete including a plea of mitigation; do you have any advice whether I should include details about wanting to be home before midnight (it seemed important at the time) and whether this is likely to reflect negatively on my judgement/character?
Thank you for your question. i will try to help with this.

Do you have any other points?

When did you pass your test?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



No other points on my licence, I passed my test in July 2001.




The truth is that it doesn't much matter what you say on these mitigation forms. They tend not to alter the outcome particularly.

Saying that you wanted to be home before midnight isn't really an aggravating feature though. It is actually the real reason behind most instances of speeding.

If you were doing 98 mph in a 60 mph zone though then you are facing 6 point or a disqualification of between 7 - 56 days. You are at the higher end of the sentencing bracket and so should really brace yourself for disqualification.

You want to be emphasising the absence of heavy traffic and vulnerable road users, the shortness of any distance driven at speed, your hitherto good record etc.

If you get six points then you will not be subject to revocation because you have been driving for more than two years and you have no other points to lead to totting so it would be well worth pitching for that.

Hope this helps. Please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above and I can answer your related questions.
Jo C. and other Traffic Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Thanks for the prompt response. I've seen that the recommended sentencing guidelines make a disqualification highly probable. I see in your response you say 6 points or a disqualification, so it's either one or the other, but presumably fines will apply in both instances?


Sorry for all these extra questions;


Am I right to understand that the court cannot disqualify me from driving in my absence? - I have been given the option to plead guilty by post, so if I put a very persuasive case together in writing that I have an impecable record and am extremely sorry for this offence, that they might opt to go down the points route rather than re-schedule another hearing for me to attend?


The court paperwork has a proforma for the plea of mitigation with a box covering only about half a page to write in, i've seen online it is posisble to get these professionally written, any idea whether the court would object to me not using their form?


Would you be able to comment on a draft of my plea of mitigation?


Thanks for your assistance.

Yes, there would be a fine and costs but probably thats not your main concern.

They can disqualify you in absence. Some courts do not as a matter of policy but they can.

You can continue on a blank page if you want to say anything extra but usually its best to keep mitigation very brief. With speeding there is a limited amount the Magistrates can do to you and the dangers lie in say too much.

I wouldn't bother with these professionally drafted services unless, of course, they are, in fact, professionally drafted by a qualified and practising lawyer. If you are going down that road it would be better to instruct a barrister under public access to attend and do the mitigation for you in person. It would almost certainly be cheaper.

Delighted to continue with this but please rate my answer.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Apologies, it's the first time I have used this service and I thought that giving a rating would end the session?


Here is what I have drafted so far;



"This was an uncharacteristic misjudgement for which I am truly sorry. On the day of the offence, I was returning home late in the evening. I erroneously concluded that exceeding the speed limit on this particular short section of segregated carriageway, which does not run adjacent to a pedestrian footpath, and at the time of night had very low levels of traffic, would enable me to arrive home prior to midnight, as I was due to celebrate my birthday the following day.


In hindsight I fully accept the transgression I have committed, and cannot condone the speed at which I was recorded as travelling. Thankfully, no harm did result from my actions.


The heart sinking feeling of seeing the blue flashing lights appear in my rear-view mirror has itself been a stern lesson to me, and will definitely avoid me engaging in such behaviour again. I have prided myself on being a diligent and law abiding citizen; having held a driving licence for over 11 year with no other convictions, and can only again apologies for this offence.


Thanks again for all your assistance

Thats actually a very good mitigation.

With speeding there isn't a great deal you can say. Its not a serious offence really even at the higher speeds. I think even Magistrates generally accept that the motor car can make criminals of us all. Road traffic defendants generally are not really experienced criminals.

Beyond emphasising your hitherto good record, expressing remorse etc there's not much more to be said.

You might want to add a paragraph commenting upon the lateness of the hour and therefore the absence of any large numbers of other road users
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Thanks again for the quick response. Hopefully I should have rated the previous answers as excellent? You've been really helpful and I am exceptionally grateful for your assistance.



No problem. All the best.

Yes, you've rated.

Do come back if you want more guidance.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Sorry - i'm back for a little more guidance...


From our previous dialogue it sounds like the plea of mitigation has it's limitations? I've seen it mentioned that including a "glowing" character reference from an Employer can be useful (I work for a large reputable organisation).


What are your thoughts about this and the value it would have in the courtroom?


From my perspective the court certainly havn't asked for one to be provided, (just the details of my mitigation and financial circumstances), and if it's not something they are going to really care about, I'm not relishing the prospects of walking into my bosses office and confessing to my extracurricular misdemeanour...


Character references never do any harm. They don't do all that much good though in practice.

This is a case where you have no relevant previous so you have the point its out of character anyway. It wouldn't do any harm to get a reference.

Overall, probably they would give you 6 points. Its a high speed but thats not the only consideration. They have to consider your record, the absence of vulnerable road users etc.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Thanks - I'm not getting my hopes up, only time will tell I guess!


All the best.

And you.