If you’re facing a driving offence and have a Summons or Postal Requisition, it’s important that you’re aware of the following new law.
The Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (Criminal Courts Charge) Regulations 2015 came into force on 13 April 2015 and apply to any offences committed on or after that date.
These new regulations mean that defendants will have to pay court charges upon conviction. This is on top of any financial penalty and any order towards prosecution costs.
The thinking behind the charges are that those who offend should pay towards the costs of the court hearing, thus reducing the burden on the taxpayer. For this reason, those who are found not guilty will not have to pay the charges. Although they’ll still have to pay the majority of the costs of their legal representation. In addition the charges are not means tested and do not properly take into account the seriousness of the offence. For these reason it’s unlikely you’ll find a defence solicitor who welcomes this new law: The Driving Offence Solicitors at Pragma Law certainly do not.
The charges imposed depend on whether the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty after a trial, and also whether the offence is Summary Only, Indictable Only or Either Way.
Summary Only Offences means that the offence can only be dealt with by the Magistrates’ Courts. Most motoring offences such as speeding, careless driving, driving while using a mobile phone, driving without insurance etc. are Summary Only offences.
Indictable Only Offences are offences which can only be dealt with by the Crown Court. An example of this is Causing Death by Dangerous Driving.
Either Way Offences can be tried in either the Magistrates’ or the Crown Court. An example is Causing Death by Careless Driving.
Please bear in mind these charges are set out in legislation and therefore must be imposed by the Court. Unfortunately, they are non-negotiable. Below is a table showing the current charges the court will impose depending on your circumstances:
Summary Only – Guilty Plea
Summary Only – Paper Trial
Summary Only – Full Trial
Either Way – Guilty Plea
|Conviction by a Magistrates’ Court for a summary offence on a guilty plea||Conviction in the Magistrates’ Court after a trial on paper where defendant does not attend||Conviction by a Magistrates’ Court at a trial of a summary offence||Conviction by a Magistrates’ Court for an offence triable either-way on a guilty plea|
Either Way – Trial – Magistrates’ Court
Crown Court – Guilty Plea
Crown Court – Trial
|Conviction by a Magistrates’ Court at a trial of an offence triable either way||Conviction by the Crown Court on a guilty plea||Conviction by a Magistrates’ Court at a trial of a summary offence||Conviction by the Crown Court at a trial on indictment|