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Further steps notice, Threads merged
Unconvincingalia...
post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 22:02
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Hi everyone, some help appreciated.

Our wonderful legal system has seen fit to send my wife a big red further steps notice, informing her that she needs to pay around £800 or they'll send the baliffs round. Apparently we have failed to make payment as directed, but there is no clue here as to why she has been directed to pay anything. We've not had any previous letters that could relate to this.

So I got on google and found it is likely a driving offence. Checked the DVLA and it turns out she was given 6 points and a fine around Christmas for failure to identify the driver. We've received no letters about this and had no idea until now. Two relevant points -
1) her licence is in the wrong address (i know, now fixed)
2) the date of the offence is about a week after she bought the car. The address on the v5 is correct.

I understand I need to file a statutory declaration asap by calling the court.

Anything I need to do first?
Anything I need to do after, based on the above points?
Any other help, tips, etc. appreciated too

Thanks



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post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 22:02
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666
post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 22:37
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You don’t need to do anything. Your wife needs to do a stat dec as you suggest.
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Unconvincingalia...
post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 22:43
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Ok- good to have that confirmed, thanks.
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Logician
post Thu, 13 Sep 2018 - 23:09
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The address on her driving licence is not relevant at all, so no concern about that. This offence occurs when a s.172 notice is sent to someone, in the first instance the registered keeper, requiring the driver on a certain date at a certain location to be identified. There is a time limit of 28 days to do that, and the offence occurs after the expiry of that time limit. so that is at least 28 days, probably more, after the date of the underlying offence. Your wife had the car for only a week before the s.172 offence, so clearly did not commit the underlying offence.

Also she would not have been sent to first s.172 request, since this was at least 21 days before she bought the car. Quite why the police did write to her is uncertain, but they may for instance looked up the insurance record and identified her from that. Possibly they got her name from there and her address, which was incorrect, from her licence. She will have to make a statutory declaration, which will get the conviction and sentence set aside, and she will then be asked to indicate a plea to the offence. Obviously she will say not guilty, and a date will then be sent for a trial, unless the case is dropped when the date of her acquisition emerges. Perhaps more likely is that the process chugs on and in due course she will have to attend court and explain what has happened.


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Unconvincingalia...
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 06:09
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You are an excellent person- thank you! That is a relief. I had assumed that the date of the offence on her licence was that of the original offence not the s.172. Previous owner was a dealer who had bought it from a company a few days before I bought it, so that probably explains the lack of response to the original offence.
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The Rookie
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 08:50
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The date will be the date of the committing of the offence, for the S172 (MS90 endorsement code) that is 28 days after the request was deemed served.

In your case the likely explanation is that whoever provided the address (logically through the dealer) got it wrong enough that you didn't receive the notifications.

You may want to report this issue back to the original force on the basis that
1/ They named a driver who couldn't possibly have been driving
2/ they would appear to have (on the face of it) given the wrong address as well
Combined those two give rise to a possible attempt by whoever filled out the form to pervert the course of justice.


--------------------
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 8-0 PPC's
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TonyS
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 08:57
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I can't see how that could have worked out at all. The date of the S.172 offence was a week after she bought the car, and is generally taken as being the expiry of thee 28 days allowed to respond. So the request was sent out to her three weeks before she bought the car, which according to the latest update would have been even before the dealer had the car. How could anyone have made that connection?
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IanJohnsonWS14
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 09:10
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Are you sure the offence relates to the new car and not the old one? Or didn't she have a car previously?


--------------------
Speeding tickets, like lottery tickets, are a voluntary tax. You don't have to get them.
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Unconvincingalia...
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 10:18
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The court has confirmed that the offence was in late November, before we had the car. She did have another car at that time and it is possible that she committed the original offence in that car. I will see if I can find out. If it was the old car, that doesn't explain the lack of communication. But then that would seem to be confusing with the new car too. I'll update when I find out more.

Thanks
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Unconvincingalia...
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 11:46
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Update:
It turns out that the original offence was for the old car, which I think was registered at our old address. We recently sold that car and prior to doing so applied for a new log book with the correct address, which I guess is how they found us. Seems likely that she did the original offence.

Court has said she can still file a stat declaration, then plead guilty to the original offence and take 3 points and fine in place of 6 and the big fine.

From what I've read we can't defend the failure to identify charge as it's our fault for not updating the log book address, but certain courts may allow a plea bargain along the lines of what they described above.

Is that correct, and are we at any risk of making things worse if we file the stat declaration?

Thanks
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Logician
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 11:50
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Good advice from the court for once, but she should not plead guilty to the speeding until the prosecutor has agreed to drop the s.172, then she cannot possibly make things worse.


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The Rookie
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 11:50
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You are quite right, the Stat Dec is still the way to go.

Be sure the court will agree a plea deal BEFORE pleading guilty to the speeding or she may end with 9 points, I think we've only heard of that happening once (postal plea of guilty to speeding was submitted) though, so don't panic too much.


--------------------
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 8-0 PPC's
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Unconvincingalia...
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 12:08
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Thanks again - good advice. Apparently they ask for an indication of how you will plead to the original offence when you file the stat declaration. Will say guilty.

To be fair the people we've spoken to at the court have been really helpful. Seems like a pretty routine occurrence for them.

Also free legal advice from a bunch of strangers is an incredible thing and does a lot to counter powerlessness you feel when finding yourself stuck in the legal system- very grateful.

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NewJudge
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 12:19
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QUOTE (Unconvincingalias @ Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 13:08) *
Thanks again - good advice. Apparently they ask for an indication of how you will plead to the original offence when you file the stat declaration. Will say guilty.

To be fair the people we've spoken to at the court have been really helpful. Seems like a pretty routine occurrence for them.

Also free legal advice from a bunch of strangers is an incredible thing and does a lot to counter powerlessness you feel when finding yourself stuck in the legal system- very grateful.


Yes the "deal" is an everyday event in many courts and it's encouraging that many of them are now taking a pragmatic approach with drivers in this situation. One word of warning:

"Apparently they ask for an indication of how you will plead to the original offence when you file the stat declaration. Will say guilty. "

Your wife should make doubly sure that the "original offence" is the speeding matter and not the Fail to supply driver's details (S172) offence). And, as earlier, make sure that the S172 allegation has been dropped before entering a guilty plea to speeding. You have not mentioned the speed alleged, but if the offence would have qualified for a Fixed Penalty (£100 and 3 points) she can ask the court to consider their guidance which says this:

"Where a penalty notice could not be offered or taken up for reasons unconnected with the offence itself, such as administrative difficulties outside the control of the offender, the starting point should be a fine equivalent to the amount of the penalty and no order of costs should be imposed. The offender should not be disadvantaged by the unavailability of the penalty notice in these circumstances."

Otherwise she will be sentenced in accordance with the sentencing guidelines. As well as an income related fine these also attract a surcharge of 10% of the fine (minimum £30) and £85 costs.

This post has been edited by NewJudge: Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 12:21
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Unconvincingalia...
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 12:35
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Thanks NewJudge- noted on the guilty plea.

The original offence is actually running a red light. 3 points plus £100 fine seems to be standard.

Thanks for the tip on the guidance. Would the size of the fine be agreed as part of the plea bargain, or is that a separate matter dealt with once the guilty plea is entered?
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NewJudge
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 12:51
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QUOTE (Unconvincingalias @ Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 13:35) *
Thanks NewJudge- noted on the guilty plea.

The original offence is actually running a red light. 3 points plus £100 fine seems to be standard.

Sorry, I assumed it was speeding.

QUOTE (Unconvincingalias @ Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 13:35) *
Would the size of the fine be agreed as part of the plea bargain, or is that a separate matter dealt with once the guilty plea is entered?

The fine will either be at the fixed penalty level (if the court agrees that the guidance I pointed out is appropriate) or in line with the sentencing guidelines. That exercise has nothing to do with the "deal".

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Unconvincingalia...
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 14:20
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So stat notice made and court date for 3 weeks time. Confusing and possibly conflicting advice from the court this time:

Now saying the points stay on the licence until the court date. Concern with this is insurance. Guess this makes snese though as the stat declaration happens at court not on the phone.

Also saying that they decide at the court date whether the statutory declaration is accepted. If it is, then the failing to identify charge is dropped. They then go on to hear the red light charge.

A little concerned turning up at court with mixed messages about what happens. My expectation was:
-Declaration booked today
Go to court, they accept the declaration- all fairly routine. 6 points removed.
-I then get another court date to defend the failure to identify charge and maybe also the original charge
-Either then or prior I make a deal to plead guilty to the original offence on the condition that the failure to identify is dropped
-3 points plus a fine of at least the fixed penalty, possibly more

I guess the concern is i somehow miss the opportunity to do the deal and end up defending the failure to identify (which isn't really defensible as we had the wrong address on the log book). Maybe I'm just overthinking it and this latest person at the court is less familiar.
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peterguk
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 14:31
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By "I" i presume you mean "my wife". Your wife is the one that's been convictd, not you. It is her that takes part in the court proceedings, not you.


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Unconvincingalia...
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 14:34
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Yep, it's all my wife (as i keep reminding her!)
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NewJudge
post Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 15:18
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QUOTE (Unconvincingalias @ Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 15:20) *
Now saying the points stay on the licence until the court date. Concern with this is insurance. Guess this makes snese though as the stat declaration happens at court not on the phone.

Yes they do. The conviction stands until the SD is made
QUOTE (Unconvincingalias @ Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 15:20) *
Also saying that they decide at the court date whether the statutory declaration is accepted. If it is, then the failing to identify charge is dropped. They then go on to hear the red light charge.

The court has no option to "decline" the SD. It is simply a declaration made before the Magistrates. All they are doing is certifying that the declaration was made. You can carry out a SD at a solicitors (they usually charge you about £10). The making of the SD has no bearing on what happens next. How the charges are then progressed is entirely a matter for the prosecutor, not the court.
QUOTE (Unconvincingalias @ Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 15:20) *
A little concerned turning up at court with mixed messages about what happens. My expectation was:
-Declaration booked today
Go to court, they accept the declaration- all fairly routine. 6 points removed.
-I then get another court date to defend the failure to identify charge and maybe also the original charge
-Either then or prior I make a deal to plead guilty to the original offence on the condition that the failure to identify is dropped
-3 points plus a fine of at least the fixed penalty, possibly more

I guess the concern is i somehow miss the opportunity to do the deal and end up defending the failure to identify (which isn't really defensible as we had the wrong address on the log book). Maybe I'm just overthinking it and this latest person at the court is less familiar.

You are near enough correct. The only possible diversion from that course of events is that the court that hears the SD may also be in a position to deal with the resurrected charges. If it is that is when the deal can be done. If your wife is asked to enter a plea or pleas following her SD she should make the offer to plead guilty to the red light charge provided (and only provided) the S172 charge is dropped. She can do this in open court if she does not have the opportunity beforehand. If no such deal is forthcoming she should plead Not Guilty to both charges. The matter will then be set down for trial at a later date where the process can be repeated. I believe there has only been one instance on this forum of the deal being declined by the prosecutor and that seemed largely because the defendant was "a little less than polite" with his request. Without such a deal the prosecution cannot secure a conviction for the red light offence (they have no proof who was driving) and they prefer a guilty plea to that rather than the rigmarole of a trial for S172.

It's always unwise to take advice from court staff you speak to on the phone. They are well meaning but often do not know the niceties of the court process. What has been outlined to you in this thread is a process which Magistrates' Courts see every day and your wife should have no difficulty seeing a successful outcome (well, as successful as a conviction for a red light offence can be - but infinitely preferable to a S172 conviction).

This post has been edited by NewJudge: Fri, 14 Sep 2018 - 15:20
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