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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Traffic Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I received a letter from dvla yesterday, stating theyve been

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I received a letter from dvla yesterday, stating they've been advised by Norfolk Court that I have been disqualified from driving and need to hand in my licence.
This has come out of the blue and I am shocked. I currently have 6 points on my licence, which expire May 2014.
I moved home a year ago, but have had the new address on my licence since October 2012, yet have received no correspondence from Norfolk. The only thing I remember was getting flashed by a speed camera some months ago in Norwich, in a 30 zone late at night, on my way home to Hertfordshire. (I must have been speeding but was driving no more than 40mph). So I'm wondering if this is the reason and if there are letters sent to me that I have not received.
Where do I stand? Please help, I can't afford to lose my licence.
Thank you.
Hi

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

In order to give you answer tailored to your circumstances I will need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

When did you pass your test?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo, thanks.


 


March 1992

Ok.

I think I see whats happened. Don't drive until this is resolved.

Did you have redirecton the post at your old address?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I did, but only for 6 months, so until end July 2012 (I wish I'd done it for 12 months!)

Ok.

There are things you can do about this.

If you give me 10 mins I will dictate an answer.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks very much, I'll wait...




Thanks for the information.

I think that you’ve been convicted in absence of failing to identify the driver.

Proceeding on the basis that this does arise from the incident in Norfolk, I don’t think that you could have got six points for the speeding alone. Your speed wasn’t high enough proportionate to the limit. In any event, you haven’t seen a NIP so they can’t identify the driver.

I think that probably what happened was that they sent a NIP out to the address that they had for you at the DVLA and you didn’t receive it. That lead to a prosecution for failing to identify which lead to 6 points. That, in turn, lead you to be a totter and so disqualified for six months.

I have to say that courts wouldn’t normally disqualify in absence but obviously there are some Magistrates who think they don’t have to comply with the Human Rights Act. The reason they wouldn’t normally do that is that its almost always going to lead to a person being picked up for driving whilst disqualified because he wouldn’t know that he was disqualified. That would mean he would have no defence even though he had no idea. Its just setting people up to commit offences and these Magistrates would go ballistic if somebody did that to them.

In any event, if I’m right, you need to apply to court to get this set aside. You have two options. I’m not sure you really need to worry about which you go for. You just need to go to the local Magistrates Court and explain.

I think they would probably consider reopening the matter. That would lead to a trial for failing to identify to which you would have a defence that the Crown actually will not easily rebut. You couldn’t provide because you didn’t get the NIP. I used to prosecute traffic courts all the time and we didn’t often win in those circumstances. All the Crown can say is that a NIP was despatched by first class post. It cannot prove that it was received.

From a prosecutors point of view it would be better actually to demand that you make a statutory declaration to the effect that you never received the NIP. That would lead to them considering reissuing against you for speeding and, on the facts here, you would have to accept that it was you. That would lead to 3 points and a fine - actually probably the fixed penalty offer. That would mean you had 9 points which would place you on the cusp of disqualification but not a totter yet.

In the meantime though, do not drive. They will pick you up for this and being caught driving whilst disqualified is a quick route to prison.


Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Jo, that's helpful (and hopeful!)


Can I go to my local Magistrates Court (Hertford), even though the case was based in Norfolk? If so, will do tomorrow morning.


 


Thanks,


 


Gill

You can make a statutory declaration in Hertford.

There is a bit of a debate over whether you can apply for reopening at another court than the one that convicted you. I've had this argument with court clerks previously. My own view is that you must be able to basically because even if you went to Norfolk you still probably wouldn't see the same Magistrates that convicted you and so there's no point in travelling all the way there.

Either way though, if they won't let you reopen then you can make a statutory declaration which will at least put you back on the road.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Would you mind briefly explaining a Statutory Declaration and how that will mean I can still drive?


 


Thank you

The statutory declaration wouldn't mean you could drive per se but if its accepted then that would have the effect of wiping the original conviction and any sentence or ancillary order that flows from it.

To make a statutory declaration you just attend court and swear on oath that you didn't receive the NIP. It can apply to other situations but thats what you do here. Obviously you can only do it if the assertions you make are true. Filing a false statutory declaration is perjury and people go to prison for that even on first offences.

There is a charge involved I think of about £15 although I haven't been to the Magistrates Court for a while now.

Applications to reopen are free though.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks. And finally: as I don't know for certain (but am assuming the NIP and then other failing to identify driver, etc..) is the reason for my disqualification, should I be contacting the Norfolk Court to gain the exact information? If so, can I telephone or should I do this in person?


 


Thanks very much for all your help.

The Court should be able to get a print out from the DVLA which will reveal the trigger offence and enquiries could be made from there.

Its easier for the court to do it than you.
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