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Being charged with driving without due care and attention?

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Bretta | 12:59 Mon 20th Nov 2006 | Motoring
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About a month ago i was leaving work at about 2:15 in the morning. My workplace entrance is at the bottom of gradual incline where you can see the top of the hill. I saw headlights at the top of the hill but still 110 to 150 meters away. The car in front of me had already pulled out and carried on. I did not stop but kept rolling as i approached the junction and thats when i saw the headlights. Hence i carried on, but as i reached the other side of the road (i was turing right) the headlights were suddeenly on top of me. I carried on up the hill and to my horror, the car had turned around in the entrance to my work and was right up behind me. I thought i was in for some road rage. After 400 m or so the flashing lights came on and i pulled over. I was breathilised and that was negative. i didnt have my licence or insurance documents on me, but presented them the next day at the main police staition. 1 month later i recieve a summons to the maj court charging me with driving without due care and attention. Do i plead guilty or do i fight it with the believe that the police car was travelling very fast down the road (40mph limit) and therefore it was their fault that they were on top of me? Also my collegeues who turned left before me said that they continued down the road after seeing me be pulled over only to be overtaken 20 mins later by the same police car!!!!!!! What is my likely punishment if i plead guilty? Cheers

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Looks like you could have met a real little Hitler of a police man.

Were there two police in the car or one? if the policeman who charged you does not have a witness and you can use your work mate as a witness to say the police car was illegally speeding as he was not on his way to an emergency you have a chance of winning at court .

Or did you pull out into the major road causing the police car to brake hard to avoid hitting you?
Question Author
Yeah there were two policemen in the car. He was very annoyed when the beathiliser came back negative. It was a major road (an a road) but as to the how much braking he needed to do is debatable. I did see headlights but i was sure that a car travelling at 40 would have given me enough time to pull out. I am saying that i was perhaps slightly wrong to pull out as it was 2 in the morning and no other cars about excpet myself the policeman and my collegue, so should have waited. i was extremely apologetic to the driver and the interviewing officer. I dont have a problem with pleading guilty and just taking the fine and points, but i have three already and cant afford to lose my licence.
Essentially you are being accused of driving below the standard of that expected of a careful and competent driver. The prosecution must prove that your driving fell short of the required standard in that you pulled out onto a main road where other motorists were placed in jeopardy because of your actions.

Whether or not you are likely to be found guilty if you elect to be tried is debateable from what you say. You need to seek legal advice if you are going to plead not guilty. The police officers will say you caused them to brake hard. You must show (with reference to distances to where they became visible etc.) that you did not.

Magistrates� guidelines show the penalty for careless driving as a fine of one week�s income (reduced by up to a third if you plead guilty at the earliest opportunity) plus the imposition of a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 9 penalty points, or a disqualification. This offence (if admitted or proved) seems to be at the lower end of seriousness and I would think that you would receive the minimum of 6 points and a fine.
Question Author
thanks judge. I think that i would have plead guilty anyway as the hassle of appearing in court is not something i am able to do at the mo. Pleading guilty by letter is acceptable and not frowned upon?
You should not plead guilty simply to get the matter out of the way. If you genuinely believe (after seeking legal advice) that you are not guilty, then that is how you should plead. Bear in mind that the �Highway Code� stopping distance from 40mph is 120 feet (less than 37 metres). From your description of events the police car was well beyond that distance when you pulled out and should not have been unduly jeopardised or even inconvenienced by your manoeuvre. However, that is a matter for you to decide.

As you are being asked to appear on summons (as opposed to on bail) you may choose not to appear but to plead guilty by letter. Your penalty will not be affected by doing this.

Make sure that you clearly indicate your guilty plea and mention anything else that you want the magistrates to hear either about the offence, or about you personally (in particular your financial means if they are limited). If you wish to pay any fine by instalments make a (sensible) offer, otherwise you may find that you are simply given as little as 14 days to pay in full.

Your letter will be read to the Bench by their legal advisor (the �clerk� as most people know them). Bear in mind that as a result of your guilty plea the magistrates will accept the prosecution version of events as fact.

Finally, the Bench may adjourn the case and ask you to appear in court before they pass their sentence. They will do this if they are thinking of imposing a disqualification for the offence. Again, you do not have to appear, but it will be your only opportunity to explain to them the effect that a disqualification may have upon you and to persuade them to allow you to keep your licence.

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Being charged with driving without due care and attention?

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