motoring offence law


1_ It is possible to check your information online

It is possible to access information held about your driving record on the DVLA website, click here. You will be required to enter your driving licence number, National Insurance number and postcode. You will then be able to check that your current information is up to date, how many penalty points you have and what vehicle classes you are entitled to drive.

2You no longer need your counterpart licence

As of 8 June 2015 it is no longer a requirement for you to keep your counterpart or paper section of your licence. Indeed the DVLA website will be the only place to check your current driving status.

3It is possible to receive penalty points even if you were not driving

You may be surprised to learn that you can receive penalty points (and a ban if your points exceed 12) even if you were not driving. One such offence is being drunk in charge of a motor vehicle. This requires that the prosecution show that you were in charge of a vehicle, over the drink drive limit and that you intended to drive the vehicle in question. Some offences do not even require you to be in the vehicle at all. One such offence is permitting someone to drive your vehicle when you know that they do not have insurance. This can result in those permitting receiving 6 to 8 penalty points.

4Most motoring offences have to be prosecuted within a certain time period

Most motoring offences are defined as ‘summary only’ offences which means that they can only be heard at a magistrates court. This requires the police/prosecuting agency to prosecute a suspect within six months from the date that the offence was allegedly committed. Such a requirement is satisfied if the police post a summons to the keepers address. More serious offences such as dangerous driving do not fall within these obligations.

5Not all motoring offences carry penalty points or disqualification

Not every motoring offence will mean that penalty points are imposed. Certain offences such as having no MOT or not wearing a seat belt do not carry penalty points at all. Such matters are still criminal offences and a financial penalty can still be imposed if you are found committing them.

6It is possible to be banned from driving for one speeding offence

Whilst it is most common for penalty points and a fine to be issued following convictions for speeding it is possible for a driver to be disqualified for a period of 7 to 56 days if the speed done was substantially over the legal limit. There are set guidelines as to what is defined as ‘substantially’ over the legal limit. Examples include travelling between 101mph and 110mph in a 70mph zone or 51mph to 60mph in a 30mph zone. Excessive speeds in certain conditions could result in a prosecution for dangerous driving.

7Not replying to a request for driver details can result in the keeper receiving 6 points

Most motoring cases begin with a notice of intended prosecution (sometimes known as a Section 172 Notice). This means that the police will send a letter/form to the registered keeper of a vehicle requiring them to provide details of who was driving their vehicle at the time of the offence. Should the keeper not respond to this notice then, on conviction, the keeper could receive 6 penalty points regardless of whether the original offence carries a lesser penalty.

8Penalty points and how long they are valid for

Penalty points are ‘live’ on your licence for three years. They will not be removed from your licence until their fourth anniversary. Motor insurance companies look at a longer period of time (usually 5 years). It is very important that drivers are honest with insurance companies and do not try and hide previous endorsements if asked. If information is hidden that it could invalidate your insurance.

9Drink driving

As we all know it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public highway if you are over the prescribed limit. But what is the prescribed limit? Technically speaking the legal drink driving limits are:

  • Breath: 35mg of alcohol in 100ml
  • Blood: 80mg in 100ml
  • Urine: 107mg in 100ml

It is impossible to even estimate how much alcohol you could consume before you would be above the legal limits. When in doubt do not drive.

10Drug driving

Whilst it is common knowledge that driving under the influence of alcohol is a criminal offence what is less known is that it is also illegal to drive whilst under the influence of controlled drugs. Controlled drugs can include legally prescribed medication. The limits set for each drug is different, and for illegal drugs the limits set are extremely low, but have been set at a level to rule out any accidental exposure. The police can test for certain drugs at the roadside and will arrest those they find above the limits set in law. On conviction, mandatory disqualification will follow.

As you can see, motoring law is complex. When in doubt seek expert professional guidance, for more information, contact us at Beswicks Legal on 01782 205000 or