It is estimated by motoring solicitors that up to 250,000 people a year are disqualified for driving offences which range from drink driving to speeding. Whilst many people do not think of offences such as speeding as serious, it can be devastating for those who lose their licences. With that in mind, there are some key points to bear in mind should you be stopped by the police.
Don't be obstructive or argumentative
Do not be obstructive or argumentative if the police pull you to the side of the road. They are only doing their job, which they will carry on with regardless of a person’s attitude. Most officers will try their best to make the process a smooth one for you but they also have the means to make it uncomfortable.
Do not refuse your right to have a solicitor if you are taken to a police station. Not all solicitors will be motoring law specialists, but most give enough guidance to help in a police interview.
Always give correct details to the police. People who give false details are nearly always found out and you will be detrimental to your position at a court hearing if you have told lies. Furthermore, you may face fresh charges even if you are found not guilty of the original offence. It is usually unproductive to insist that an officer produces a calibration certificate if you are pulled over for speeding. Feel free to ask how he recorded your speed and ask if you can view the equipment but officers will rarely carry a calibration certificate.
Do not refuse to provide a breath test without a good reason. People who do not attempt to provide breath samples have few defences to charges such as failing to provide a specimen. Often people charged with this offence can end up with even harsher sentences as the court does not know whether you had one drink or 20. Do not place pennies under your tongue if asked to undergo a breath test. It will have no effect on the reading and make you look dishonest in court.
Talk to a solicitor
Always seek representation for court appearances. Even if your case is not defendable, having good representation can mean the difference between a fine or community punishment and the difference between penalty points and a disqualification.
Eyes on the road
Generally, when driving, turn off your mobile telephone and eat and drink before your journey. Set the radio to the station you like and leave it there. Take the time to pull over to smoke if you fancy a cigarette. All of this may seem like unnecessary precaution, but should you find yourself in court with your licence under threat you will quickly realise that the law these days really does require a motorist to give all of their attention to the road.
Avoid sitting in a vehicle while intoxicated even if you have no intention to drive. In particular, stay out of the driver’s seat. Police officers are well within their rights to arrest you for being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle and it will be up to you to prove that you had no intention of driving further. This may be difficult and expensive to do.
Never assume that you can drive on car parks and industrial sites when you should not be driving. Just because they are ‘private land’, if you have no driving licence or insurance you will still be prosecuted if caught. If the public have access you are just as likely to be prosecuted for driving in these places as you would be on a public road.
Stay at the scene of any accident even if you are intoxicated. While excess alcohol offences are serious, you will find yourself in far greater trouble if you leave the scene of an accident or fail to report an accident.
You are under an obligation to report an accident even if it involves only a collision with road furniture such as a traffic sign or lamppost. You even have a duty to report and accident if you simply hit a tree.
Be careful whom you take advice from
One of the top mistakes people make is to take advice from anyone who will give it. While most people will give you advice in an attempt to help, it is generally best only to take notice of advice provided by solicitors or the court. Most advice you will hear from other sources is not attempted to lead you astray, but it is not always entirely accurate and can sometimes leave you in trouble.