Magistrates Court Road Traffic Offences
Magistrates’ Court Road Traffic Offences
Our criminal defence team have many decades of combined specialist experience in defending road traffic offences in the Magistrates’ Court including, but not limited to:
- Excess alcohol – drink/driving – blood/urine
- Drunk in charge of a motor vehicle
- Failing to provide a specimen of breath/blood/urine for analysis
- Drug driving
- Careless or dangerous driving
- Failing to stop/report an accident
- No insurance and other road traffic document and driving licence offences
- Use of mobile phones in a motor vehicle
- Driving whilst disqualified
- Tachograph offences
- Failing to provide driver identity information
- Totting-up/12 point disqualification issues
- Exceptional hardship arguments
- Special reasons representations
Mr Kenneth Carr, a consultant solicitor in the criminal defence team is the co-author of the Law Society’s Handbook of Road Traffic Law.
All solicitors within our criminal defence team have regular and often very extensive experience of advising and representing motoring offence clients at the Magistrates’ Court. Please see their individual profiles on our criminal defence team section of this website which set out details of some of their particular criminal defence litigation experience.
Our fees for Magistrates’ Court summary only road traffic offences
The cost of advising you or representing you in the Magistrates’ Court in relation to your particular road traffic case will vary depending upon its complexity and your own particular needs. Some cases can be simple and straightforward and are resolved quickly. Other cases cannot be. Indeed sometimes seemingly straightforward road traffic cases at the beginning develop unforeseen complications before they can conclude.
Unfortunately legal aid is rarely available for most driving offence cases. Where it is available we will advise you about your eligibility.
In road traffic cases where legal aid is not available, we offer a service by the criminal defence team of this firm based on an initial free 15 minutes’ consultation and then either a fixed fee scheme of fees or fees based on the hourly chargeable rate of the solicitor who will have day-to-day responsibility and conduct of your instruction.
A. Initial free 15 minutes’ consultation
In many road traffic cases it is possible to identify the problems and potential solutions to your case within this initial telephone free 15 minute consultation. Sometimes we need to see case documentation and this can often be resolved by email or by attending at our free Saturday morning legal clinic at our Romford and Barking office between 9am and 1pm each week.
Within this free consultation period, we can then often provide you with a fixed fee quotation for the entire case or where that is not possible for the reasons that we will explain to you, we can then provide you with a written hourly rate quotation. (See below)
Occasionally the case complexity or volume of material to be reviewed by us coupled with your own immediate particular case needs mean that it is sensible for a much lengthier initial case advice conference to take place face to face in the office.
Should this situation occur, our fees for such a conference and case investigation would be £300 (VAT inclusive) and limited to a maximum of 2 hours’ preparation, attendance and advice time.
Such a conference if required will enable us to fully advise you in order that you can make a detailed and informed case plea decision.
B. Fixed fee quotations
I. Guilty plea cases – fixed fee £900 (inclusive of VAT)
In most guilty plea single Magistrates’ Court hearing summary only motoring offence cases, we can offer a client a fixed fee service of £750 plus VAT (£900 in total) which will include:
- 3 hours of attendance, preparation, evidence consideration and advice to you including taking your instructions and providing advice on Court procedure and likely sentence.
- Liaison with Court/CPS on your behalf if/when necessary.
- Travelling to and from, attendance, representation and advice at a local and single Magistrates’ Court hearing lasting for up to half a day.
- The fixed fee costs are based upon the instruction of an advocate from our in-house team. If you wanted us to instruct a barrister we would need to agree a separate fee with them.
This fixed fee does not include:
- The instruction or disbursement cost of any external or expert witness.
- The taking of statements from any witness or third party (this would be chargeable at an additional £150 (VAT inclusive) sum per chargeable hour).
- Advice and representation in relation to a special reasons or exceptional hardship hearing (such a case is likely to involve an additional fixed fee charge of £250 plus VAT)
- Advice or assistance in relation to any appeal after the conclusion of the case at Court.
- The travelling costs of the Advocate attending the half day Magistrates’ Court hearing.
ii. Magistrates’ Court motoring offence trials – fee range £1200 to £2500 inclusive of VAT
In many not guilty road traffic trials we are able to offer a fixed fee quotation to a client which is usually in the range of £1200 – £2500 (inclusive of VAT)
The lower fee guideline stated above would include:-
Up to 3 hours attendance/preparation which would include considering the evidence, taking your instructions and providing advice on issues arising from your instructions and correspondence regarding your initial attendance at court (when you would enter your not guilty plea)
It would also include attendance and representation at your trial up to a half day hearing with a maximum of one prosecution witness and one defence witness.
The fee would not include:-
Attendance at your initial hearing (where you enter your not guilty plea)
Instructing any expert
Taking statements from witnesses
It also would not cover any additional disbursements. Should such further costs arise we would discuss them with you before they are incurred so you can decide whether you wish to incur them.
The travelling costs of the Advocate attending the half day Magistrates’ Court hearings.
If your case is adjourned then the cost of any further hearing
Advice on appeal
The fixed fee costs are based upon the instruction of an advocate from our in-house team. If you wanted us to instruct a barrister we would need to agree a separate fee with them.
The higher guideline fixed fee figure above would be in relation to more complicated multi-prosecution and defence witness cases requiring more detailed and time consuming trial preparation and attendance and conference time and with a trial time estimate of up to one day on length.
C. Hourly rate road traffic cases funding agreements
Occasionally the case complexity, seriousness and specific needs of a particular client are such that it is not possible for this firm and it is not in the interests of the client for a fixed fee arrangement to be agreed.
Complicated contested expert witness evidence in drink or drug driving type cases or very lengthy trial listed cases may fall into this category..
In such a case, we would offer written fee estimates clearly stating at the outset the hourly chargeable rate for the solicitor who had conduct of your matter (such hourly rates would usually be between £125-£200 per hour (inclusive of VAT). We would also provide a written estimate of the total likely defence legal costs to be incurred as well as any likely cost of major disbursements (e.g. expert or forensic witnesses) that would need to be funded. We would also keep you fully advised as to the fees throughout the progress of the matter.
Only in the most complicated, usually multi-defendant and exceptional road traffic Magistrates’ Court case would defence solicitor legal costs exceed a guideline figure of approximately £4,000-£5,000 plus VAT plus disbursements.
D. Recovery of your legal costs
In the event that the road traffic case against you is discontinued by the Crown or you are found not guilty at Magistrates’ Court trial, we are likely to be able to recover a refund of a proportion of the defence legal costs and disbursements that you have incurred.