Costs of defending a motoring prosecution
My initial advice is provided without charge. I am here to help and it does not usually take long to understand the problem and identify a way of dealing with it. That can be done by telephone or email, or a combination of the two.
If you decide to formally instruct me the fees I will charge will depend upon the nature and complexity of your case. These largely determine the time it will take to complete it. Some cases are very simple and quickly dealt with, and others are not. Some can seem simple at the outset and develop unexpectedly, for example, if new evidence emerges or if new charges are brought by the police.
What if you change your mind?
Clients sometimes change their minds if new information comes out and it’s just a fact of court life that cases take unforeseen turns.
You will want to know who will be dealing with your case and I am the only solicitor in my firm who will undertake legal work for you. I do all the evidence gathering, I provide advice to you and I appear in court as your advocate.
I do not employ unqualified administrative staff to undertake work for clients and so I am different from very many other motoring law firms. It means clients are not charged legal fees for administrative work done by people who are not qualified. Such firms process instructions in bulk and simply pass information on to junior barristers who turn up to do the hearing. I am also different from those firms who charge higher rates for access to their senior people because I don’t differentiate. My services are available to all my clients.
I am a senior lawyer with over 36 years experience of Magistrates and Crown Court work and my clients prefer to deal with someone who really knows what they are doing, who can advise clearly and who attends court with them at every stage. Clients do not like communicating with their advocate for the first time at court shortly before the case starts. Road traffic prosecutions can have serious implications for people and my clients know from the outset that I will be looking after them personally.
This is what I bring to your case
I set out below information on fees depending on what kind of prosecution I am asked to deal with. The first section deals with ‘summary only’ prosecutions which involve one hearing only and the second deals with all other cases.
Fees for dealing with 'Summary Only' offences
Offences involving one hearing at a Magistrates Court
A Summary Only offence is one that is dealt with only in a Magistrates Court. The following are common Summary Only offences, but it isn’t a complete list. I will tell you if yours is a Summary Only offence:
- Inconsiderate and careless driving;
- Failing to comply with a traffic signal;
- Using a mobile telephone;
- Drink and drug driving;
- Failing to provide samples of breath, urine or blood;
- Driving without insurance or a licence;
- Failing to stop/report.
All other non-summary offences are dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court depending on how serious they are. For example, dangerous driving can be dealt with by either court but even if Magistrates choose to deal with it because it’s within their sentencing powers, it is not a summary only offence.
I have dealt with very many summary only offences and they take between 4 and 9 hours to complete. The ones I deal with most frequently are guilty pleas to high speeds, drink and drug driving, careless driving, and offences committed by new drivers.
The work I will undertake is as follows:
- Personal attendances on you either by telephone, in person or Skype to take your full instructions. This usually requires at least an hour, I will explain the court and prosecution process to you and all the options available;
- Obtaining evidence disclosure from the Crown Prosecution Service, assessing it and advising you on plea options and likely sentence. This usually takes 30 minutes to an hour. I will advise if witness evidence is going to be required;
- I will deal with any questions you may have as work progresses, either by telephone or email, keeping you updated with developments;
- Preparation for the hearing itself and that usually takes around 30 to 45 minutes. The time is used to prepare what I am going to say and what documents need to be produced;
- Travel to and from Court. Travel times will vary depending on where I have to go, but will be between 2 and 5 hours. If I travel by train, I will add a train fare.
- Attending court itself and dealing with your hearing. This usually takes between one and three hours work. I will spend time with you before we go into court so that you are ready and fully prepared. Depending on the seriousness of the charge and on any previous convictions I may need to liaise with the Probation Service. I will also want time with the prosecutor to understand what is going to be said about your case and to reach an agreement on facts that you admit. I will then be in court with you;
- Advising on Appeal. This is usually a very quick process. I will have done the hearing with you I will know straight away if an appeal is a good idea or not.
I will charge a fixed fee for advising and representing you in connection with a Summary Only offence which is dealt with by the Magistrates Court at a single hearing at which you plead guilty.
Fees for dealing with these cases are between £950 and £2,500 plus VAT and any expenses such as train fares. I will agree a fee for this work and will be happy to do so when I clearly understand what will be involved in getting your case ready for hearing, but it will include the items set out above.
The fee does not include:
- instruction of any expert witnesses;
- taking statements from any witnesses including character references;
- advice and representation in relation to a special reasons hearing or an exceptional hardship hearing;
- A hearing at which you admit the charge but not all the facts alleged by the prosecution (known as a Newton Hearing).
I will always ask for an initial down payment when you first instruct me and for the balance of the fee to be paid in full prior to the hearing.
I am sometimes instructed very close to the hearing date and when this happens I will ask for the full fixed fee to be paid right at the beginning.
Fees for dealing with all other cases
The majority of Magistrates Court (not included above) and Crown Court cases that I deal with can be dealt with by agreeing fixed fees for either key stages or the entire case. I will be able to discuss the options so please get in touch with me.
I will always give clear guidance on costs at the outset and as the case progresses.
I always ask for an initial down payment at the beginning of a case (usually called a payment on account of costs) and am happy to spread the cost of legal fees over the life of the case, with invoices sent at interim stages until proceedings are brought to a close. I usually deliver interim bills at the end of each month. My terms of business sets this all out clearly.
Once formally engaged to work for you I will agree either a fixed fee for the entire case or where that is not possible because of its complexity I will agree fixed fees for various stages with clear guidance on overall costs to conclusion.
Fixed fees are a very good way of dealing with the majority of cases which are straightforward and reasonably predictable. They are more difficult with serious offences such as dangerous driving, incidents with fatalities or serious injuries, and those likely to lead to imprisonment.
Whenever I can I will try and agree a fixed fee, but will also clearly explain why I can’t.