Appeal against driving & motoring conviction

If you have been found guilty of a motoring offence after a trial and feel that you were unfairly and wrongly convicted you may wish to exercise your right to lodge an appeal against your conviction at a higher court. For free initial advice contact our expert solicitors on 0203 816 9274.

If you are considering whether or not to appeal against your conviction please feel free to contact our specialist motoring solicitors for a free no obligation chat. We have extensive experience of representing people on appeal and would welcome the opportunity of discussing your case with you.

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Types of driving conviction appeals

It is possible to appeal your case in either of the two following ways:

  • Appeal against driving conviction
  • Appeal against driving sentence

Option 1 would involve a full re-trial of your case before the Crown Court. This means that the previous trial would be null and void and your case would be re-heard in full. Option 2 means that you would only be appealing against the sentence passed by the Magistrates, rather than your conviction. For example if the disqualification you were given was longer than the guidelines suggest.

In either scenario there is a strict 21 day time limit within which to lodge an appeal and it is essential that this time limit is adhered to. If you find that the 21 day deadline has expired you are still able to lodge an appeal providing you can first obtain permission (leave) to make your application out of time. The court will want good reasons as to why an appeal is out of time so it can often be worth instructing a solicitor to help.

Whilst Magistrates Court’s are quite formal, they are designed to be accessible to people who are not legally represented. However in the vast majority of Crown Court cases people have legal representation, which leads to both the court and the processes involved being significantly more formal and can be intimidating for some people. The Prosecution will also often instruct a barrister, or higher court advocate to deal with the hearing. If you were to lose your appeal the Prosecution would be entitled to ask you to pay their costs – which will be significantly higher than those imposed at the Magistrates Court. If you represented yourself at the lower court, or you were not satisfied by the representation that you received, it is worth instructing a motoring law expert to prepare your appeal in order to maximise your prospects of succeeding. If you were acquitted, and won your appeal, you would be entitled to recover reasonable costs in preparing your appeal (i.e your legal fees).

At Stephensons we can provide a written opinion of the merits and likely success of an appeal for a fixed fee. We are also able to work to stringent deadlines, which is particularly important in view of the deadlines applicable to lodging an appeal.

Appeal against sentence - motoring offence

If you have been received a penalty or sentence for a motoring offence that you feel is unjust or unfair, you may wish to exercise your right to lodge an appeal against your sentence at a higher court. At Stephensons our motoring offence solicitors can help, for a free initial appointment with a specialist motoring offence solicitor please click the link to complete our online request form or call 0203 816 9274 for free initial advice 24/7.

There is a strict 21 day time limit within which to lodge an appeal and it is essential that this time limit is adhered to. If you find that the 21 day deadline has expired you are still able to lodge an appeal providing you can first obtain permission (leave) to make your application out of time.

It is worth instructing a specialist motoring solicitor to deal with an appeal as the procedure can be more complex than that at the Magistrates Court. Furthermore, there is more formality and the Prosecution are likely to be represented by specialist cigher court advocates. If you were to lose your appeal the Prosecution would be entitled to ask you to bear their costs – which will be significantly higher than those imposed at the Magistrates Court. If you represented yourself at the lower court, or you were not satisfied by the representation that you received, it is worth instructing a motoring law expert to prepare your appeal in order to maximise your prospects of succeeding. If your sentence was reduced, and won your appeal, you would be entitled to recover reasonable costs in preparing your appeal (i.e your legal fees).

At Stephensons we can usually advise over the telephone as to whether the sentence that you received is excessive or whether it is fair. We are also able to provide a written opinion of the merits and likely success of an appeal for a fixed fee. We are also able to work to stringent deadlines, which is particularly important in view of the deadlines applicable to lodging an appeal.

If you are considering whether or not to appeal against your sentence please feel free to contact one of our specialist motoring solicitors for a free no obligation chat. We have extensive experience of representing people on appeal and would welcome the opportunity of discussing your case with you.

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Sentencing at Magistrates' Court - Driving Offence

If you have been convicted after a trial or intend to plead guilty at court, you may be interested in finding out how you are likely to be sentenced for the offence in question. For free initial advice contact our driving offence experts on 0203 816 9274.

The Magistrates tend to sentence over 95% of cases that are dealt with at the Magistrates' Court. However; in certain circumstances and where the Magistrates feel that their sentencing powers are insufficient they may refer a case for sentence at the Crown Court.

Where someone has been found guilty of an offence, and the matter will be sentenced by the Magistrates, the Magistrates will consult with their Sentencing Guidelines. These guidelines have no legal force and are only guidelines. They suggest a starting point and a range of sentence for each offence. However; sentencing is not definite and the outcome can be dependent on the quality of legal representation.

Using these guidelines the court will be encouraged to explore and examine the facts of the offence before it and will identify any aggravating or mitigating features. The guidelines are significant in that they establish the seriousness of the offence before the court and enable the court to determine the most appropriate way of dealing with the case.

Securing quality legal representation in court, and having a good motoring lawyer at court to fight for you, will ensure that you get the shortest disqualification or least amount of penalty points possible in the circumstances and could make a real difference to the final result. It can make a difference between being sent to prison and not being sent to prison if the offence carries a custodial penalty. 

A motoring lawyer can give you advice about the strength of the prosecution case and can realistically manage your expectations about the sentence that is likely in the circumstances. You should make arrangements for legal representation as far in advance of your court date as possible. It can often be secured for a fixed fee so that you know where you stand. 

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 often becomes relevant when someone applies for a job or is asked to complete a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) form leading to a CRB check.

The 1974 Act enables criminal convictions to be spent or ignored after a rehabilitation period lapses. The relevant period of time is stipulated in the Act.

The length of rehabilitation period is dependant on the sentence imposed by the court rather than the type of offence committed. The date of conviction, rather than the date of offence, is the relevant date used in calculating whether or not a conviction is spent. If a conviction is not spent then it is referred to an unspent.

We are often asked whether an alcohol related driving offence is spent only after 11 years have lapsed. This is an issue that causes some confusion in the public.

Under section 34(3) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 a conviction, for specified alcohol related driving offences, is relevant for sentencing for a period of 10 years. However, under the 1974 Act a conviction would be deemed spent after five years if a financial penalty or community order was imposed by the court in addition to the disqualification. If a period of custody was received the conviction would be spent after seven years. Nonetheless you would still not be entitled to a clean driving licence until 11 years had lapsed from the alcohol related motoring conviction.

Contact Stephensons by completing our online enquiry form or call our 24/7 driving offence helpline for free initial advice on 0203 816 9274.

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As an award-winning top 150 law firm, with over 450 staff based in offices across the country, you're never far from the advice you need.