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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 74542
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I have received a summons to attend court on 4 October re

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I have received a summons to attend court on 4 October re disqualification as I have been found guilty of a speeding offence and already had 9 points on my licence. The date is while I am on holiday. Should I try to rearrange the date, or can the hearing proceed in my absence? (The summons says that I MUST attend the hearing, and that I can be arrested for failing to do so.)
JA: Because traffic laws vary from place to place, can you tell me where this is?
Customer: Taunton Deane and West Somerset Magistrates Court, Taunton
JA: Do you need to appear in court?
Customer: The summons says that I must - though there was an option not to appear on the original plea. Can I now say that I do not want to appear, and what would the consequences be?
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No

Hi, welcome to JustAnswer. My name is*****’m a barrister with 12 years of experience and I am happy to help with your question today.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank you

Honestly you really don't need a phone call

Jo C. and other Traffic Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 days ago.
OK - kook forward to your online response.

Thanks for the information

You can try to rearrange and usually they will for a pre booked holiday.

The question is how can rearrange be achieved. Magistrates courts are chaos. Usually outside London they are better than elsewhere and you do have nearly a month.

I would suggest emailing them. You can call them too but you cannot prove what was said in a call. An email establishes that the request is made. Do that today and then in a week if you hear nothing meaningful, as opposed to the acknowledgement email, then we will have to talk about trying to get it listed.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Customer: replied 9 days ago.
Thank you - will try that. But could I decide not to attend and let it be decided in my absence, or would that go against me in the decision whether to disqualify me?

In legal theory, failing to answer a summons is a contempt for which people go to prison. They probably won’t do that though. They would just either adjourn to another date, depending on their policy of banning people in absence, or ban you in absence.

It will count against you. If you are trying to raise exceptional hardship then you need to be there. You need to do a lot more than be there as well. You have the burden of proof. Can’t be done in absence.