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Reversed into a car and didn't know
Jammiejimmy
post Thu, 23 May 2019 - 13:13
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Hi All

Firstly, I'm very happy to have been directed to this forum. I've used the NIP wizard first and followed the guidance before posting so hope this post is OK. I hope someone can give me some advice on this problem which I'm very worried about.

At the end of November I was reversing out of a car bay when I hit someone else's car apparently causing the rear offside brake light to be broken and causing scratches to that car. I wasn't aware of the incident and drove off. A week later I received a notification through the post from the police that I had been involved in a collision/accident and left the scene without reporting the incident. As I had no recollection of the event I filled out the form with my insurance details and sent it back. On the back there was a space for my comments and I wrote that I had no recollection of being involved in an accident and that I would like to review any evidence.

Earlier this week I received a notice that I have to go to court in a couple of weeks and I'm being prosecuted for a crime. I'm confused by this as I still have no recollection of hitting anybody and only recall where the event took place now I have seen witness statements. There was no CCTV or anything but apparently two people witnessed me hitting the car before driving off. I've therefore no doubt that it did happen, but I don't remember anything about it.

I've therefore decided to go not guilty as my understanding is that if I didn't know about the incident I couldn't have reported it.

Ironically, I've since sold the car and have pictures showing that there was no damage. Also, I am insured fully comp and even had insurance on my excess. I have a large excess as I had an accident driving someone else's car in 2016 so I insured it in case I was involved in another accident. I don't have a no claims bonus to protect as I only recently had a car after living in London for several years (and not needing one in London). The point being that having someone claim on my insurance wasn't going to cost me anything. Had the police come to my house and told me about the incident I would have been happy to supply my insurance details and get the matter sorted. I had a similar thing happen to me not long after I had started driving and I wouldn't do it to someone else.

I'm presently trying to see a solicitor to get some advice but it's proving hard to find someone. I can't afford to pay as I'm on benefits at the moment and the case doesn't qualify for legal aid.

I'm literate and I have very good analytical skills, so I've decided that I will have to defend myself even though all the advice I've read tells me that this isn't a wise idea. However, I'm determined I'm not going to plead guilty. I have had short telephone conversations with two solicitors. The first gave me references to look up the precedents for similar cases, but the second told me not to go not guilty until I've seen the police case. He mentioned a form I need to see but I can't remember the name of it. I do have the witness statements and a copy of what I wrote on the form asking for my details last November which arrived earlier this week.

If anyone has had a similar experience and can help me with these questions I'd very much appreciate it-

What happens when I plead not guilty?
Does it go to a jury trial or do the magistrates rule on the case based on my testimony and that of the witnesses?
Does that happen then and there?

Any help gratefully appreciated- especially on anything you think I may have overlooked. As I said, I'm very worried about this- I haven't got a criminal record and I'm not going to plead guilty just because this is the easier thing to do
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post Thu, 23 May 2019 - 13:13
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The Rookie
post Thu, 23 May 2019 - 13:59
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What 'crime' are you being prosecuted for?

Failing to stop/report then not knowing there was contact could be a defence, careless driving then no.


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Jammiejimmy
post Thu, 23 May 2019 - 14:07
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I have three charges-

1. Driver of a vehicle fail to stop after a road accident
(Contrary to section 170(4) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Schedule 2 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988)

2. Driver of a vehicle in a road accident fail to report that accident
(Contrary to section 170(4) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988)

3. Drive a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road/ in a public place without due care and attention
(Contrary to section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988)
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The Rookie
post Thu, 23 May 2019 - 14:20
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You may want to consider a guilty plea to the due care and attention, you either hit it (and accept you did) or you did not, not knowing would be irrelevant to that charge. reversing into a stationary car is pretty much nailed on as guilty.

In addition a guilty plea to that may well make them look upon you as more credible when you deny being aware of hitting the other car making a not guilty verdict more likely.


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There is no such thing as a law abiding motorist, just those who have been scammed and those yet to be scammed!

S172's
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Jammiejimmy
post Thu, 23 May 2019 - 14:36
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Thank you. Will I get a criminal record?

This is what's bothering me the most.
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The Rookie
post Thu, 23 May 2019 - 14:40
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No, minor motoring offences are not recorded, so while its a criminal offence there is no criminal record.


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There is no such thing as a law abiding motorist, just those who have been scammed and those yet to be scammed!

S172's
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Council PCN's
Rookies 1-0 Warwick
Rookies 1-0 Birmingham

PPC PCN's
Rookies 10-0 PPC's
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Jammiejimmy
post Thu, 23 May 2019 - 14:49
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That at least is very good news.

I do remember the day as I had gone over to another office to work (I work for the council) as our Internet was down. I left after a couple of hours and took half a dozen black bin bags in the back seat which had probably obscured my view out the back (although I really don't remember and it's probably not relevant). The parking sensors didn't work either- that car was just bad luck!The witness statement says that I was "reversing slowly" which seems to indicate that I was, in fact, driving with due care and attention- but the evidence is there that I did hit the other car even if I didn't know about it.

Thanks for your help though, it is much appreciated. I've been in a state of low grade panic for the last two days and your advice has made me feel better. occasion14.gif
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NeverMind
post Thu, 23 May 2019 - 16:49
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QUOTE (Jammiejimmy @ Thu, 23 May 2019 - 15:49) *
I do remember the day as I had gone over to another office to work (I work for the council) as our Internet was down.


Make sure your insurance covers you for this - commuting use frequently specifies your "permanent place of work" rather than "travelling for work".
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Jammiejimmy
post Thu, 23 May 2019 - 17:01
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QUOTE (NeverMind @ Thu, 23 May 2019 - 17:49) *
Make sure your insurance covers you for this - commuting use frequently specifies your "permanent place of work" rather than "travelling for work".


I had business insurance at the time of the accident. I'm a social worker and need to drive round to see families as part of my job. I've since changed jobs and car and so have the normal commuting insurance now, but I was covered at the time so would this be OK?
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Jlc
post Thu, 23 May 2019 - 17:16
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The legal definition of ‘due care’ isn’t what you think.

Hitting a stationary object would likely be considered falling below the standard expected of safe and competent driver (however ‘carefully’ you hit it - if you did...)


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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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NeverMind
post Thu, 23 May 2019 - 17:17
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QUOTE (Jammiejimmy @ Thu, 23 May 2019 - 18:01) *
QUOTE (NeverMind @ Thu, 23 May 2019 - 17:49) *
Make sure your insurance covers you for this - commuting use frequently specifies your "permanent place of work" rather than "travelling for work".


I had business insurance at the time of the accident. I'm a social worker and need to drive round to see families as part of my job. I've since changed jobs and car and so have the normal commuting insurance now, but I was covered at the time so would this be OK?


It'll be the class of insurance that was active at the time which matters, so you should be fine with that.
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Jammiejimmy
post Thu, 23 May 2019 - 18:53
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QUOTE (Jlc @ Thu, 23 May 2019 - 18:16) *
The legal definition of ‘due care’ isn’t what you think.

Hitting a stationary object would likely be considered falling below the standard expected of safe and competent driver (however ‘carefully’ you hit it - if you did...)


Yes I've grasped that now. Hence why I'm going to plead guilty to charge 3. I'm pleading not guilty to the first two charges though.

I have a form that I need to fill in (see below) and send back to the court if I intend to plead not guilty. Shouldn't I have a form for each charge? I also only have one reference number.

Should I fill it in and write a covering letter to go with it?

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The Rookie
post Fri, 24 May 2019 - 04:49
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Well you’ve already plead not guilty to charge three haven’t you, that’s why it’s asking.

Contact the court and tell them you are changing that plea, make it clear on the form that it applies to your not guilty plea to charges 1 and 2 ONLY.


--------------------
There is no such thing as a law abiding motorist, just those who have been scammed and those yet to be scammed!

S172's
Rookies 1-0 Kent

Council PCN's
Rookies 1-0 Warwick
Rookies 1-0 Birmingham

PPC PCN's
Rookies 10-0 PPC's
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Jammiejimmy
post Sun, 26 May 2019 - 09:09
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Having looked at it again I think I only need to return it if I’m pleading not guilty AND not attending the initial hearing.

At no stage have the police visited me about this and questioned me. Shouldn’t I have been given the right to put my side of the story before I was charged?
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Logician
post Sun, 26 May 2019 - 10:38
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QUOTE (Jammiejimmy @ Sun, 26 May 2019 - 09:09) *
Having looked at it again I think I only need to return it if I’m pleading not guilty AND not attending the initial hearing. At no stage have the police visited me about this and questioned me. Shouldn’t I have been given the right to put my side of the story before I was charged?


Your side of the story is no different, except that you say you did not realise you had hit something. That is a matter to be decided in court, not by the police so there is little point the police questioning you over what is not exactly the crime of the century. Just write on the form, separating out the offences where necessary, and send it back. If you do that you might avoid having to go to court a second time for a trial to take place.



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Jammiejimmy
post Sun, 26 May 2019 - 11:16
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QUOTE (Logician @ Sun, 26 May 2019 - 11:38) *
Your side of the story is no different, except that you say you did not realise you had hit something. That is a matter to be decided in court, not by the police so there is little point the police questioning you over what is not exactly the crime of the century. Just write on the form, separating out the offences where necessary, and send it back. If you do that you might avoid having to go to court a second time for a trial to take place.


Thanks for that...

The form seems to be for if I'm pleading not guilty and not attending court. I'm going to court so wasn't intending to send the form in. Do you think I should?

It turns out I have Motor Legal Expenses Insurance. I'm going to ring them in the morning and see if that means they'll pay for a solicitor. Does anyone have any experience accessing this kind of legal support?

I don't have the policy schedule and can't log in to the site so I can't check the terms.

This post has been edited by Jammiejimmy: Sun, 26 May 2019 - 11:17
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southpaw82
post Sun, 26 May 2019 - 12:51
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QUOTE (Jammiejimmy @ Sun, 26 May 2019 - 12:16) *
It turns out I have Motor Legal Expenses Insurance. I'm going to ring them in the morning and see if that means they'll pay for a solicitor. Does anyone have any experience accessing this kind of legal support?

I advise people paid for by LEI quite often. What questions do you have?


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Jammiejimmy
post Sun, 26 May 2019 - 13:08
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Sun, 26 May 2019 - 13:51) *
I advise people paid for by LEI quite often. What questions do you have?


Thanks for your post.

At this stage just whether I'd be able to make a claim on my LEI so I can get some advice?

Also, do these policies extend to paying for enough legal cover to pay for representation during a magistrates' trial? I' can't find the policy document- just the certificate- so I'll phine them Tuesday, but I'm curious in the meantime.

This post has been edited by Jammiejimmy: Sun, 26 May 2019 - 13:19
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Logician
post Sun, 26 May 2019 - 13:19
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QUOTE (Jammiejimmy @ Sun, 26 May 2019 - 11:16) *
QUOTE (Logician @ Sun, 26 May 2019 - 11:38) *
Your side of the story is no different, except that you say you did not realise you had hit something. That is a matter to be decided in court, not by the police so there is little point the police questioning you over what is not exactly the crime of the century. Just write on the form, separating out the offences where necessary, and send it back. If you do that you might avoid having to go to court a second time for a trial to take place.
Thanks for that... The form seems to be for if I'm pleading not guilty and not attending court. I'm going to court so wasn't intending to send the form in. Do you think I should?


Yes, as I said it may save a second hearing and will not do any harm.



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southpaw82
post Sun, 26 May 2019 - 13:23
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QUOTE (Jammiejimmy @ Sun, 26 May 2019 - 14:08) *
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Sun, 26 May 2019 - 13:51) *
I advise people paid for by LEI quite often. What questions do you have?


Thanks for your post.

At this stage just whether I'd be able to make a claim on my LEI so I can get some advice?

Also, do these policies extend to paying for enough legal cover to pay for representation during a magistrates' trial? I' can't find the policy document- just the certificate- so I'll phine them Tuesday, but I'm curious in the meantime.

Much of that will depend on your policy. I have taken cases to trial based on a LEI.


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Any comments made do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. No lawyer/client relationship should be assumed nor should any duty of care be owed.
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