Road Traffic Offences
Transparency in price and service for motoring offences (summary only)
We represent both operators and drivers in numerous different types on prosecutions before the Magistrates Court. These cases can be with regards to driving in commercial vehicles, vans or cars. The types of offence that we can help you defend in the Magistrates Court include:
- Drink and drug driving.
- Mobile phone use offences.
- Driving without due care and attention.
- Dangerous driving.
- Failure to provide information.
- Driving without, or otherwise than in accordance with, a driving licence.
- No insurance.
- Overloading offences.
- Drivers’ hours and tachograph offences.
- Insecure load offences.
- Dangerous condition of vehicle offences.
- Construction and use offences.
What will it cost?
When we represent you in the Magistrates court, we will often look to agree a fee with you. However this fee can vary, depending on whether you plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’, the number of allegations that you face and the amount of evidence and witnesses involved.
Cases before the Magistrates Court are often concluded at the first hearing. This is when you attend court and plead guilty. If we have not agreed a fixed fee with you, our average costs for dealing with such a hearing – based on our senior solicitors’ standard charging rate of £350 per hour and within one hour’s travel from our office – is £1,216 plus VAT and travel disbursements. The cost of travel will be either the direct cost, such as a train fare, or if driving, a mileage charge (currently charged at 45p per mile plus VAT).
This fee includes:
- 1 hours attendance/preparation:
- Considering evidence.
- Taking your instructions.
- Providing advice on likely sentence.
- Attendance and representation at a single hearing where the travel to and from court is no longer than two hours and the Magistrates Court lasts no more than 1 hour
The fee does not include:
- Instruction of any expert witnesses.
- Taking statements from any witnesses.
- Advice and assistance in relation to a special reasons hearing.
- Advice or assistance in relation to any appeal.
The key stages of work in your matter and covered by the fee (based on the presumption that you have entered a guilty plea and have a date for your hearing) are as follows:
- Meeting or talking with you on the telephone so that you can give your solicitor instructions on what happened.
- Backhouse Jones considering the initial prosecution disclosure, and any other evidence and providing advice.
- We will explain the court procedure to you so you know what to expect on the day of your hearing, and the sentencing options available to the court.
- We will conduct any further preparatory work, obtain further instructions from you if necessary and answer any follow up queries you have.
- We will attend court on the day and meet with you before going before the Magistrates.
- We will discuss the outcome with you. If advice is required on appeal, this will carry an additional cost.
If additional work is required, and if we have not agreed a fixed fee with you, the extra work will be charged at our standard hourly rates. These range from £300 per hour to £350 per hour depending on the level of seniority of the solicitor involved. VAT should also be added to these rates.
If additional expertise is required, such as instructing an independent expert for accident reconstruction purposes, a vehicle examination or independent tachograph analysis, further charges will also be applicable. These will be the costs charged by that expert to us. We will discuss these in detail with you before we instruct anybody to carry out this additional work.
VAT will be charged at the current applicable rate. At the current time, this is 20%.
If you are a member of our BACKup scheme, you may be entitled to a discount on our costs including on our hourly rates. Please enquire if you are interested in becoming a member.
Experience and qualifications of those who will carry out the work
Our regulatory team, dealing with Magistrates Court prosecutions is made up of eight solicitors (with between 8 and 40 years post qualification experience). The team is supervised by Mark Davies who is the head of the team.
In the main, you are likely to be represented by:
Mark Davies is a director and solicitor at Backhouse Jones. He qualified in 2006 and specialises in road transport law covering goods and passenger carriage. His extensive experience involves dealing with Public Inquiries concerning matters such as maintenance, drivers’ hours, bus reliability and environmental objections in addition to serious transport related crime, for instance, Crown Court cases involving causing death by dangerous driving, manslaughter and health and safety prosecutions. Other types of road transport cases which Mark typically deals with include Inquests, police interviews evolving out of road traffic investigations or serious road traffic accidents.
Mark also provides advice to assist clients with compliance within the regulatory framework of operators licensing including advice regarding business structure. He is also head of Backhouse Jones’ road transport regulatory team.
John Heaton is a solicitor at Backhouse Jones who qualified in 1981. John specialises in road transport law (both prosecuting and defending), Magistrates Court and Crown Court advocacy, regulatory work before the Traffic Commissioners. He has been involved in many cases that have helped changed the way that the law is interpreted including Bird v Vehicle Inspectorate, case C235/94; Mahmood v Vehicle Inspectorate, 1988 (18WRTLB163, DC); Birkett & Naylor v Vehicle Inspectorate, (1998) RTR 264.
John writes articles and publications in legal journals and textbook on road transport and criminal law, and lectures and gives seminars in these areas.
Andrew is a director of Backhouse Jones. He qualified as a solicitor in 1993 and has been specialising in transport law since 1995. In 2011 he qualified as a Higher Courts Advocate in criminal proceedings.
Andrew specialises in representing clients in the Magistrates and Crown Courts as well as at Public Inquiries. He has also been involved in cases before the High Court and the House of Lords. He has acted for companies and individuals in relation to drugs and smuggling seizures on the continent and provides consultancy advice to companies on their internal systems for compliance with road transport law and operators licensing requirements. Andrew regularly writes articles for the transport press.