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Offences

This area of the Driving Law site allows you to read for yourself about the most common offences.

This includes a summary of what the Prosecution must prove that you have done in order for a Court to convict you of that offence. Defences against offences including examples of previous cases where people have secured an acquittal are contained in the Free Motor Law section.

Driving Law

Index of Offences

Being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol

Even if you are not driving the vehicle, but are in the vehicle on the public highway/public place, you can be deemed to be "in charge" of the vehicle.

Careless driving (driving without due care)

This offence is committed when the accused's driving falls below the standard expected of a reasonable, prudent and competent driver in all the circumstances of the case.

Disqualification from driving

As a general rule, the Courts will punish high excess speeding offences with instant disqualifications.

Drink driving

Drink driving is defined as driving or attempting to drive a motor vehicle on the public highway or a public place whilst under the influence of alcohol exceeding the prescribed limit.

Driving While Disqualified

Driving whilst disqualified is considered a serious offence, and as such the maximum penalty on conviction is a fine of up to £5000 and/or six months imprisonment. There is also an obligatory endorsement of 6 penalty points.

Failing to provide a specimen of breath

A popular defence to the charge failing to provide a specimen of breath is based on the defence of "reasonable excuse".

Failing to stop/report an accident

After an accident you have been involved in you must stop your vehicle and, if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring, give your name and address, the name and address of the owner of the vehicle and the identification marks of the vehicle (Section 170(2) of the Road Traffic act 1988).

Mobile phone use

It is an offence to use a hand-held phone, or similar device, when driving.

Speeding

If you are caught far in excess of the speed limit there is a high risk of an immediate disqualification from driving based on the recorded speed. 

Seat belts

It is an offence for an individual not to wear a seatbelt if one is available to wear. However, it also the responsibility of the driver to ensure that children under 14 are wearing seatbelts or child restraints where appropriate and where available.

Traffic lights

It is an offence to fail to comply with traffic signs.

Totting Up

As a general rule, the Courts will punish high excess speeding offences with instant disqualifications. Also, any driver reaching 12 penalty points within 3 years would face a 6 month disqualification under the "totting up" procedure.

Using a vehicle without insurance

Under section 143(1)(a) RTA 1988 "a person must not use a motor vehicle on a road or other public place unless there is in force in relation to the use of that vehicle by that person a policy of insurance ."

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