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Help fixed penalty for phone and seatbelt at lights, Just left supermarket car park barriers
Stan134
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 12:30
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Advice please

Last month I left supermarket carpark and took off my seatbelt to activate barriers by putting the parking card into the slot in the barriers.
I drove into a line of static traffic opposite the barriers just as the traffic light turned red. I did not have time to put my seatbelt on as I had to drive through barriers into the static traffic.
My car was at a standstill
I reached for mobile phone to check time
At which point Metropolitan Police who were standing on the pavement knocked on my window.
I explained all to the Police (not using phone/texting - seatbelt removed for barrier) however they pointed out that I was holding my phone and I didnt have my seatbelt on so I had no case to argue.
I have received two Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty
£100 for seatbelt and fixed penalty £200 plus 6 points for phone.
I have low work income and in receipt of benefits
I have no points on my licence
Should I contest this? I dont want to risk incurring any additional costs as its already loads of money. Would I have to go to court in person as I'm not sure I'm able to do that

Thanks

This post has been edited by Stan134: Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 12:35
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post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 12:30
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The Rookie
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 12:38
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You are going to struggle on both of those...

The seatbelt you could argue a de minimus (the law doesn't concern itself with trifles) but its going to be tough.

While from your description you have a defence to the phone charge, were you really just checking the time, is there no other clock in the car? I'm sure the officer would suggest you were looking at some updates or similar and that the time is just a handy excuse I think you may struggle to convince the bench on that.


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Stan134
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 12:54
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Thanks for your help - much appreciated

(the clock in the car was wrong as the battery had died a few months earlier - and I handnt got round to fixing it! but I get your point that its hard to prove)

This post has been edited by Stan134: Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 12:55
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The Rookie
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 12:58
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If you can convince the court you were not 'using' the phone (for the purposes of the legislation) then you would be acquitted, the comedian Jimmy Carr was acquitted after convincing the court he was using it as a dictaphone. But its not easy and if you loose you would get the same six points but the fine would be a lot higher and costs would be circa £620 (not a risk if you are Jimmy Carr)


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Logician
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 13:34
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Do you not wear a watch? I think you face a very difficult task to convince a court that you were doing no more than checking the time, and your safest course is to accept both fixed penalties.


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Fredd
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 13:57
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QUOTE (Logician @ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 13:34) *
Do you not wear a watch?

Now that's almost the definition of old fashioned!


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The Rookie
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 14:04
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QUOTE (Fredd @ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 14:57) *
QUOTE (Logician @ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 13:34) *
Do you not wear a watch?

Now that's almost the definition of old fashioned!

Luddite!


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Logician
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 14:07
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QUOTE (Fredd @ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 13:57) *
QUOTE (Logician @ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 13:34) *
Do you not wear a watch?
Now that's almost the definition of old fashioned!


Not quite as old-fashioned as a car clock that does not work, a feature of all classic cars!



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Colin_S
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 14:16
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Just to pick more holes in your version of events, it reads that you prioritized checking the time over putting on your seat-belt which won't go down too well. Also you could have put your seat belt on before you drove through the barrier.
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jewels2009
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 15:19
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In your description of events you imply there were at least two officers, can you confirm how many. Were you aware of the officer(s) prior to the knock, and from where observation had taken place.

If there were more than one, the likihood is that one or either of them would have witnessed the entire scenario as you described, and still considered it necessary to intervene, because it was perceived perhaps your mind was elsewhere?

The seatbelt charge seems trivial and de minimus as Rookie says, but the phone/time explanation imo would be hard to accept. You have just paid for/exited within free allowance a time enhanced ticket barrier, upon which the exact time is digitally shown. The ticket to exit has your arrival time which we subconsciously remember whilst shopping, and gauge our actions upon, and further calculate to when paying exiting. Therefore you ought to know the time to the minute.
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Stan134
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 15:36
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Thanks everyone - I'm taking this all on board. Guess its time to pay up!
And nope I dont have a watch
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squaredeal
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 16:44
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I'm surprised the Met haven't offered the option of an online seat belt course which only costs £36?
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Stan134
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 18:34
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FYI the supermarket barrier didnt have a time - you just get 2 hours free on the card so as Id been in the supermarket for about 20 minutes I didnt register the time.
There isn't any time to put on seatbelt - you have to drive through immediately as the barrier goes up as soon as it gets the ticket. Or you need to drive close enough to the card slot that you dont need to take your seatbelt off. But I had another car behind me and its all very tight for reversing etc

There were 2 officers - its next to the police station - one was training the other one what to do - the police station is on that street and I think they were stood waiting at the traffic lights

I think the £600 is good for Jimmy Carr but I cant manage a higher fine - isn't there any way that they would make it lower given ability to pay? And I really cant think how I would prove what I was using it for. I took a screen shot to show I wasn't making/receiving a call or text message at the time. But I thought the law was that you cant touch the phone at all?

This post has been edited by Stan134: Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 18:35
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thisisntme
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 18:58
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QUOTE (Stan134 @ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 19:34) *
FYI the supermarket barrier didnt have a time - you just get 2 hours free on the card so as Id been in the supermarket for about 20 minutes I didnt register the time.
There isn't any time to put on seatbelt - you have to drive through immediately as the barrier goes up as soon as it gets the ticket. Or you need to drive close enough to the card slot that you dont need to take your seatbelt off. But I had another car behind me and its all very tight for reversing etc

There were 2 officers - its next to the police station - one was training the other one what to do - the police station is on that street and I think they were stood waiting at the traffic lights

I think the £600 is good for Jimmy Carr but I cant manage a higher fine - isn't there any way that they would make it lower given ability to pay? And I really cant think how I would prove what I was using it for. I took a screen shot to show I wasn't making/receiving a call or text message at the time. But I thought the law was that you cant touch the phone at all?


It will go up immediately, yes, but there will be sensors that will mean that the barrier will only go down once you have driven over them. I have short arms and I have to take my seatbelt off sometimes to put a ticket in a machine or to pay a toll, but I always put it back on again before I set off. I have had the odd idiot honk their horn at me at Severn Bridge tolls for making them wait an extra few seconds, but I ignore them...


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Jlc
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 19:07
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QUOTE (Stan134 @ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 18:34) *
isn't there any way that they would make it lower given ability to pay?

Fixed penalties are, well, fixed by their very nature. Ability to pay is not a factor.

At court matters are different - the fine is income related but there's a minimum weekly amount (£120/week) so even if your income was £0 you're still going to pay no less in total. (Costs (£85) and a victim's surcharge (min. £30) are part of the total bill too)

The fixed penalties will be the cheapest way of disposing of the matter but you could be granted time to pay a court sentence - some form of payment plan.

QUOTE (Stan134 @ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 18:34) *
There isn't any time to put on seatbelt - you have to drive through immediately as the barrier goes up as soon as it gets the ticket.

The barrier may lift immediately but doesn't drop until the car has passed surely?

This post has been edited by Jlc: Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 19:06


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RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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mickR
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 19:25
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QUOTE (Logician @ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 13:34) *
Do you not wear a watch?


A what ?? huh.gif

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andy_foster
post Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 20:29
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QUOTE (Stan134 @ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 12:30) *
I drove into a line of static traffic opposite the barriers just as the traffic light turned red. I did not have time to put my seatbelt on as I had to drive through barriers into the static traffic.
My car was at a standstill
I reached for mobile phone to check time


I would argue that the mobile phone legislation should be interpreted purposively, and that for the purposes of that legislation you were neither using your phone or driving.

If the purpose of the legislation is to prevent drivers causing danger to other road users (and themselves) by failing to adequately control their vehicles whilst being distracted by using a hand-held mobile phone for interactive communication purposes, not only is looking at the clock not using it (for interactive communication purposes), but stationary vehicles generally do not require much to adequately control them.


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cp8759
post Thu, 1 Feb 2018 - 22:04
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QUOTE (andy_foster @ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 20:29) *
QUOTE (Stan134 @ Wed, 31 Jan 2018 - 12:30) *
I drove into a line of static traffic opposite the barriers just as the traffic light turned red. I did not have time to put my seatbelt on as I had to drive through barriers into the static traffic.
My car was at a standstill
I reached for mobile phone to check time


I would argue that the mobile phone legislation should be interpreted purposively, and that for the purposes of that legislation you were neither using your phone or driving.

If the purpose of the legislation is to prevent drivers causing danger to other road users (and themselves) by failing to adequately control their vehicles whilst being distracted by using a hand-held mobile phone for interactive communication purposes, not only is looking at the clock not using it (for interactive communication purposes), but stationary vehicles generally do not require much to adequately control them.

I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but I thought the "I was stationary at traffic lights therefore was not driving" defence has been tried before without success.


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andy_foster
post Thu, 1 Feb 2018 - 22:12
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Thu, 1 Feb 2018 - 22:04) *
I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but I thought the "I was stationary at traffic lights therefore was not driving" defence has been tried before without success.


Unless it was tried in the High Court for a mobile phone offence (or sufficiently similar), then whether or not it has been tried before and succeeded or failed is of little relevance.


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cp8759
post Thu, 1 Feb 2018 - 22:20
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QUOTE (andy_foster @ Thu, 1 Feb 2018 - 22:12) *
QUOTE (cp8759 @ Thu, 1 Feb 2018 - 22:04) *
I'd be happy to be proven wrong, but I thought the "I was stationary at traffic lights therefore was not driving" defence has been tried before without success.


Unless it was tried in the High Court for a mobile phone offence (or sufficiently similar), then whether or not it has been tried before and succeeded or failed is of little relevance.

I thought it had been to the senior courts, CPS guidance states "Under existing case law a person may still be driving whilst the engine is running and the vehicle is stationary". Might look it up later.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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