As lockdown lifts and life slowly begins to return to normality, many of us will be thinking about getting back out and about. Staycations and driving holidays have been encouraged to avoid quarantine and last-minute disappointment of foreign destinations being red-listed. However, with thousands of Brits expected to take to the unfamiliar and narrow country roads this summer, there is cause for concern that road traffic accidents and offences could rise exponentially.
Here, we explain what happens if you are charged with a common road traffic offence in Scotland, such as dangerous driving, speeding or drink driving, and the potential outcomes of being charged with such offences.
With strong legal representation to hand, many people achieve the best possible outcome if they are charged with a driving offence. For more details on how our road traffic solicitors can help defend you, call us on 0141 336 2020 or fill in our enquiry form here to request a callback.
If you are convicted of dangerous driving in Scotland, you face a mandatory disqualification for at least 12 months, or until you pass an extended driving test. You may also incur a fine of up to £10,000, and six-months imprisonment.
In cases involving a jury, a two-year prison sentence can be imposed. If the dangerous driving resulted in a fatality, a prison sentence of up to 14 years could be imposed. Under Section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, a person is guilty of dangerous driving if they drive “a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place”. The minimum penalty is a 12-month disqualification.
Legal tests for dangerous driving
Courts in Scotland apply a two-stage test to determine what constitutes dangerous driving. First, the prosecution is required to prove that the standard of driving in the case fell far below what was reasonably expected of a competent driver. It would also need to be demonstrated that the manner in which the vehicle was driven was dangerous, and obviously dangerous to a careful and considerate driver. All evidence must be considered as a whole, and skilled drivers face the same legal tests as newly qualified drivers.
Speeding offences in Scotland carry between three to six penalty points. You may be disqualified from driving if you are caught driving at a particularly high speed. Most drivers, however, have fines imposed on them. The maximum fine for speeding is £2,500, although most are usually within the hundreds of pounds.
Most speeding offences in Scotland incur a fine of £100 alongside three penalty points on your licence. This fine must be paid within 28 days at any court located in Scotland. If you receive 12 or more penalty points in three years, you will be disqualified from driving for a minimum of six months.
Drink driving offences
There is a common misconception that there is no defence for drink driving and that the prosecution will easily win the case. This isn't true. Breath tests can be incorrect due to malfunctioning equipment, and forensic reports for blood analysis have previously proven defective. The prosecution will always need to prove guilt beyond all reasonable doubt, so it is important not to hastily judge the outcome of your case until you have spoken to a road traffic offence solicitor.
What are the legal limits?
As of 5 December 2014, the prescribed alcohol limits in Scotland are 22mg in 100ml of breath, 50mg in 100ml of blood and 67mg in 100 ml of urine.
What are the consequences of drink driving?
Under Section 5(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, drink driving is punishable by a 12-month ban, which can be extended up to three years. Depending on the severity, some offences can incur a six-month custodial sentence or a fine of up to £5,000.
Being drunk in charge of a vehicle incurs 10 penalty points, disqualification, a three-month prison sentence or/and a fine of up to £2,500. If you are charged with a first offence for drink driving, you are likely to receive a 12-month ban.
How we can help if you’re accused of a road traffic offence
If you have been accused of a road traffic offence, whether it was while you were on a staycation or at home, you'll need specialised advice and experienced legal professionals who can formulate a robust case to give you the best chance of a positive outcome. At Keith J Tuck, we are highly experienced in defending road traffic offence cases in Scotland and offer representation to clients through both private funding and Legal Aid.
It is always important to consider whether there is any evidence that should be retained for potential future use in court. Evidence from the scene of an incident is crucial and, in many cases, video or dash-cam footage or photographs of the scene, vehicle damage, weather conditions, road conditions, traffic flow, or witness statements can prove invaluable to defending a case from a driver's point of view. In some cases, it can take several months before a court date is fixed, so speak to us today about any evidence you can obtain in advance so that we can use it to overturn your case.
Contact our Road Traffic Offence Solicitors in Glasgow, Scotland
Whether you’re driving a motorhome for the first time or have been on the road for hours at a time, there are various actions that could lead to a road traffic offence and, as a result, impact both your work and personal life. Get in touch with our team today so that we can build a strong defence to get you the best possible outcome. We will discuss your case and options with you in complete confidence. Call for a consultation on 0141 336 2020, or enter your details into our online form, and we will get back to you.