This Practice Note outlines the admissibility of evidence in driving cases. It considers proving the identity of the driver and the admissibility of certain evidence, including by certificate, DVLA records, the Highway Code and evidence from prescribed devices. It also considers the admissibility of expert evidence and hearsay.
This Practice Note explains how the proportion of alcohol in a driver’s system at the time they were driving (to see whether they were over the limit or ‘drunk driving’), rather than at the time that the breath or lab blood or urine specimen was provided can be produced through a back calculation. It explains when the back calculation process is used to calculate blood alcohol levels and how it is carried out including all the information that an expert providing evidence would need to make the calculation. The presumption under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (RTOA 1988) is set out (that the proportion of alcohol in the driver’s breath, blood or urine at the time of the alleged offence is not less than in the specimen) along with the requirement that a driver who wishes to argue that they consumed alcohol after they ceased to drive must rebut the statutory presumption in RTOA 1988, s 15 on the balance of probabilities.
This Practice Note explains the offence of careless or inconsiderate driving under section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988). It deals with the elements of the offence of careless driving, the meaning of ‘drive’, ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’, ‘road or other public place’, ‘without due care and attention or inconsiderate driving’. It also covers examples of driving likely to be considered careless, defences to careless driving including automatism, mechanical defect, duress, careless driving as an alternative verdict and sentencing for careless driving. This Practice Note includes links to the sentencing guidelines for careless driving and information on Fixed Penalty Notices which can be imposed as an alternative to prosecution.
This Practice Note explains the offence of causing death by driving while unlicensed and uninsured under section 3ZB of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988) and causing death by driving while disqualified and causing serious injury by driving while disqualified under RTA 1988 ss 3ZC and 3ZD as amended by the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. It includes guidance from R v Hughes  UKSC 56 which clarifies the causal elements relevant to these offences.
This Practice Note explains the elements of the offence of dangerous driving under section 2 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 including the meaning of key terms, including causing injury, dangerously, drive and mechanically propelled vehicle. It includes examples of where driving would be considered dangerous and the defences which are available. Information on the maximum penalty which may be imposed following conviction and links to the Sentencing Council’s sentencing guidelines are included.
This Practice Note explains the elements of the offence of causing death by careless driving under section 2B of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988). It includes definitions which are relevant to this offence, the defences available and the sentence which may be imposed following conviction along with the relevant sentencing guidelines produced by the Sentencing Council including overarching guidelines.
This Practice Note explains the offences of driving or attempting to drive while unfit due to alcohol and driving with excess alcohol under the sections 4 and 5 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. It sets out the elements of the offences which must be proved by the prosecution to the criminal standard of proof. It provides guidance on the wide definition of driving, attempting to drive and being in charge which the courts have applied. Specified limits for alcohol and how the procedure for testing and the admissibility of these results are explained. The statutory and non-statutory defences to drink driving are included. It includes information on sentencing with links to sentencing guidelines for drink driving offences and the overarching guideline—general principles and outlines the benefits of taking part in a drink drive rehabilitation scheme.
This Practice Note deals with police powers in the context of driving offences. It outlines police powers under the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988) and preliminary tests (ie preliminary breath tests, preliminary impairment tests and preliminary drug tests) and the police powers of entry to administer a preliminary test following an accident. It also addresses police powers of arrest, powers to stop vehicles and search powers.
This Practice Note covers the offences of obtaining a driving licence whilst disqualified and driving a motor vehicle on the road whilst disqualified created by section 103 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988). It covers the elements of the offences, causation, the available statutory defences and the sentencing of offenders for obtaining a driving licence whilst disqualified and for driving a motor vehicle on the road whilst disqualified in accordance with the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (RTOA 1988).
This Practice Note outlines the offence of failing to identify the driver in a road traffic incident or accident under section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988). It considers the elements of the offence, the relevant procedure, the defences to failing to provide the information required and the possible sentence for committing the offence.
This Practice Note explains the duty of a driver to stop and report an accident under the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988), s 170. Where a person or animal has been injured or where the accident has caused damage to another’s vehicle or property, the driver must stop and report the accident. This Practice Note includes a list of what is required from the driver to discharge their duty to comply with the RTA 1988. It explains the elements of the offence of failing to stop and report an accident. The Practice Note sets out the defences to the offence of failing to stop and what is considered to be reasonably practicable. The sentence for failing to stop are set out along with information about endorsement and discretionary disqualification.
This Practice Note explains the elements of the offence of falsifying drivers' records and tachographs under sections 99(5) and 99ZE of the Transport Act 1968. It includes definitions which are relevant to these offences, defences which may be available and the sentence which may be imposed following conviction.
This Practice Note explains the requirement imposed on the police to provide defendants with warnings or a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) under section 1 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (RTOA 1988). It addresses how the obligation to provide notice can be fulfilled by the police and the service requirements for a NIP. The offences for which a NIP or warning must be served are outlined as well as the exceptions to the need to serve a NIP or warning.
This Practice Note covers obligatory disqualification from driving under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (RTOA 1988). In particular it deals with offences which require obligatory driving disqualification, the duration of mandatory disqualification from driving, extended periods of disqualification, reduced disqualification for attendance on an approved rehabilitation course, disqualification until passing of an extended driving test, exceptions to obligatory disqualification, the impact of a second conviction on obligatory disqualification and the notice of appeal in cases involving obligatory disqualification.
This Practice Note explains the elements of the offence of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. It includes information on definitions of possession, controlled drug and intent to supply as well as the available defences to the offence and the sentence which may be imposed following conviction with reference to the Sentencing Guidelines.
This Practice Note explains the elements of the offence of the production of a controlled drug and provides definitions and examples of these elements. It includes the statutory defences which are available to a charge of production of a controlled drug and the likely sentence that is may be imposed following conviction. It includes links to the Sentencing Council’s sentencing guideline for production of a controlled drug and to the General guideline—overarching principles which applies from 1 October 2019 to all sentences for adult and corporate offenders.
This Practice Note explains the offences of importing and exporting controlled drugs under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979. It includes information on fraudulent evasion and the meaning of intent to evade. Defences to these offences and jurisdictional issues are considered. The sentences which may be imposed following conviction are included.
This Practice Note explains the elements of the offence of failing to provide a specimen of breath, blood or urine for analysis without reasonable excuse in the course of an investigation into whether the defendant has committed a drinks or drugs based driving offence, under section 7 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA 1988). It includes definitions which are relevant to the offence, of refusing to provide a specimen, defences which are available despite refusal (including giving a reasonable excuse or medical reason for the lack of cooperation) and the maximum penalty which may be imposed following conviction along with links to the relevant Sentencing Guidelines. It also considers the separate offence of failing to give permission for a laboratory test (RTA 1988, s 7(A)).
This Practice Note explains the offence of failing to co-operate with a preliminary test under section 6 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. It explains the three types of preliminary test and when they can be required. The Note includes information on the defences available and the maximum penalty which may imposed following conviction, and links to the Sentencing Council’s online sentencing guidelines for this offence.
This Practice Note explains the offence of speeding which is created by the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (RTRA 1984). It includes evidence and admissibility in speeding cases and the statutory and non-statutory defences and provides examples from case law. This practice note includes the sentence applicable for a speeding offence.
This Practice Note covers defences available to a defendant in driving cases. These can include automatism, insanity, duress and necessity, mechanical defect, involuntary intoxication and the ‘hip flask’ defence (consuming alcohol after driving).
This Practice Note examines the principles that govern discretionary disqualification under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (RTOA 1988) and the Sentencing Act 2020 (SA 2020), including when the power to disqualify arises, the factors a court may take into account before exercising its discretion to disqualify and when extended periods of disqualification will be ordered. This note also explains the relationship between discretionary disqualification and the penalty points system, the requirement of the defendant to be warned of impending disqualification and the procedure for removing a period of disqualification.
The Practice Note addresses the offence of driving with no insurance contrary to section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. It covers the elements of the offence for the prosecution to prove, the meaning of ‘use’, ‘cause or permit’, ‘motor vehicle’, ‘road or other public place’ and what a valid policy of insurance or security must contain. Available defences are explained and sentences for driving without insurance offences explored.
This Practice Note explains special reasons for the purposes of sections 34(1) and 44(2) of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (RTOA 1988), that is, as mitigation in respect of motoring offences. It explains special reasons (such as emergency or laced drinks) as the basis for avoiding an obligatory disqualification or obligatory endorsement of a driving license (penalty points) or reducing a disqualification from driving period. It covers why they amount to mitigating grounds or extenuating circumstances when sentencing for driving offences (but not a defence). It explains that, even where special reasons are found, disqualification or penalty points (license endorsement) remain at the discretion of the court. The procedure for arguing special reasons and the practical benefits of doing so are included in the Practice Note. Practical examples of special reasons are provided along with the questions which the court will ask.
This Practice Note explains the procedural requirements and practical issues which need to be satisfied when dealing with witness evidence in criminal prosecutions in England and Wales. It covers the procedural requirements contained in the Criminal Procedure Rules (CrimPR), the sequence of questioning lay witnesses, examination-in-chief, refreshing the witness’ memory, dealing with previous inconsistent statements, hostile witnesses and the cross-examination and re-examination of witnesses. It also considers tendering a prosecution witness for cross-examination by the accused and an application for a witness summons in respect of a reluctant witness under section 2 of the Criminal Procedure (Attendance of Witnesses) Act 1965.
This Checklist summarises the steps which need to be taken to obtain a witness summons requiring the attendance of a witness at a criminal trial in England and Wales and includes a link to the required witness summons application form in accordance with the Part 17 of the Criminal Procedure Rules 2020, SI 2020/759 (CrimPR).
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