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Indy_S
I just got a visit from 2 police officers who informed me that I've been placed under arrest due to not responding to 3 different notification of speeding offences.

They were very friendly and informed me that I'm being released on bail to the court (where I'm due to explain myself on 26th September).

After doing some digging and calling around I've established that this is the course of events:

Feb 2016 - I emailed the lease car brokers to let them know that we had moved address, however after discussing with them they claim to have never received the email (despite having receiving every other email from me before then).

July - Nov 2016 - 3 speeding tickets issued. Genuinely don't know who was driving, so I've contacted the lease company and asked them to resend the tickets.

Dec 2016 - Contacted the lease company directly (not the broker) in relation to another matter, and they told me that they still had my old address on their records. I updated the address details with them immediately

June 2017 - My wife got a speeding ticket and we promptly responded and arranged for her to attend a speed awareness course. I've included this fact as an example that I had no intention of trying to ignore such matters.

Can anyone help me with the following questions?
1. What steps should i take before the court date? Do i need a lawyer?
2. Is the email I sent to the broker of any use? Since they said they did not receive it isn't it just my word against theirs?
3. If the court ruling goes against me what punishment am I likely to face?

Feeling a bit stressed by all this, as I thought I had done everything I needed to. I've not been working for the last 6 months so a big fine is really the last thing i need.

Appreciate any help you can give me.

Indy
peterguk
Lucky for you, there will be a copy of your email to the lease company in your "Sent Items" email folder. That will show you infomed them of your addrress change.

The date/time stamp shown against the email will be important.
Indy_S
QUOTE (peterguk @ Tue, 5 Sep 2017 - 14:14) *
Lucky for you, there will be a copy of your email to the lease company in your "Sent Items" email folder. That will show you infomed them of your addrress change.

The date/time stamp shown against the email will be important.


Thanks for the reply. My concern is
(a) is an email seen as proof? How can the court know I haven't just forged an email to help my case? and
(b) The email was to the broker who arranged for the lease rather than the lease company themselves - so the argument could be made that I'd sent it to the wrong company anyway. My response to this would be that my understanding was that the broker was the first port of call with any queries and information. If the email had gone through I would have expected that them to either update the address or advise me who to contact.
Jlc
QUOTE (Indy_S @ Tue, 5 Sep 2017 - 14:08) *
3. If the court ruling goes against me what punishment am I likely to face?

If you are facing 3 separate charges of failing to furnish driver details (section 172) then each carries a penalty of 6 points and fines/costs/surcharges etc.

Obviously 18 points is possible here which would result in a totting ban of 6 months. (This can be reduced, potentially to none, with a successful exceptional hardship plea)

But it seems you have the makings of a defence that you did not receive the requests. A lot will revolve around whether sending an email (without any reply of confirmation) is sufficient.
AntonyMMM
QUOTE (Indy_S @ Tue, 5 Sep 2017 - 14:27) *
Thanks for the reply. My concern is
(a) is an email seen as proof? How can the court know I haven't just forged an email to help my case? and
(b) The email was to the broker who arranged for the lease rather than the lease company themselves - so the argument could be made that I'd sent it to the wrong company anyway. My response to this would be that my understanding was that the broker was the first port of call with any queries and information. If the email had gone through I would have expected that them to either update the address or advise me who to contact.


a) Proof ? Not really - it shows you sent an email ( although emails can be easily faked). It doesn't prove anyone received it, or took any action on it. But it is certainly worth producing in your favour.

b) This may be a real problem for you - what does your lease contract say about notifying any changes ? Did you follow those instructions ?

You still have a potential defence based on not receiving the notices, but courts can be much less sympathetic to that argument if it is because of an error/omission on your part.
Logician
Two points may cause you some difficulty:

1. Any prudent person when changing their address will put in place some arrangement, such as the Royal Mail redirection service, to ensure that mail sent to their old address is forwarded on to them.

2. When you sent details of your new address to the lease brokers and received no acknowledgement, did no alarm bells ring?
Indy_S
QUOTE (AntonyMMM @ Tue, 5 Sep 2017 - 16:11) *
a) Proof ? Not really - it shows you sent an email ( although emails can be easily faked). It doesn't prove anyone received it, or took any action on it. But it is certainly worth producing in your favour.

b) This may be a real problem for you - what does your lease contract say about notifying any changes ? Did you follow those instructions ?

You still have a potential defence based on not receiving the notices, but courts can be much less sympathetic to that argument if it is because of an error/omission on your part.


The lease documents do say I should inform the lease company (not the broker). So, as you suggested it is an error on my part. However, I should mention that this information is far from clear and exists as one line in a 30 page document. Additionally, even after the lease was signed and completed I was still in regular communication with the agent from the broker firm about issues with the car, so it notifying her about the change of address seemed a natural extension of our discussion.


QUOTE (Logician @ Tue, 5 Sep 2017 - 16:13) *
Two points may cause you some difficulty:

1. Any prudent person when changing their address will put in place some arrangement, such as the Royal Mail redirection service, to ensure that mail sent to their old address is forwarded on to them.

2. When you sent details of your new address to the lease brokers and received no acknowledgement, did no alarm bells ring?


Thanks for responding.

1. We had a redirection service in for several months, but by the time the tickets were issues this service had expired.

2. In hindsight I wish I had chased her up about it. However, given that we had sent a dozen emails to each other before this one I had no reason to believe that she wouldn't get that email. On top of that I remember that was a pretty stressful time for me. Besides moving, I had just started a new job that involved me commuting 4 hours a day and my wife was 7 months pregnant. I know that this doesn't give me license to ignore the laws as I please, but I'm just trying to give context as to why this change of address wasn't at the forefront of my mind.
Logician
Fine, you will appreciate that the purpose of putting these points to you here is so that you are not taken by surprise in court.
Indy_S
QUOTE (Logician @ Tue, 5 Sep 2017 - 19:09) *
Fine, you will appreciate that the purpose of putting these points to you here is so that you are not taken by surprise in court.


Absolutely! I really appreciate the help thats being offered here, and that people are willing to give up their spare time to help a complete stranger out!

Apologies if my previous response was curt - it wasn't meant to be.
Irksome
May I ask what type of (or even which) email provider you use? It may well be possible to prove that you transmitted the message beyond a reasonable doubt. I presume you did not enable read or delivery receipts?

Can the experts here explain how the court might view this situation when it is presented to them - worse than a single FtF I would presume? Can the OP confirm what the charges were when he was arrested?



samthecat
OP - Where is this happening, England or Scotland?
Indy_S
Hi, This is happening in England & my email is with Hotmail.

I've spoken with a lawyer and they've suggested that a statutory declaration can be made and that in additiona there is a good chance that they can get the original 3 speeding tickets ignored too (although not sure if this is just said to encourage me to use their services).

The price quoted was an eye-watering £1,400 though. Any ideas on if that's a reasonable cost for representation?
Jlc
They cannot convict the underlying speeding offences without knowing who the driver was - so not much work in that!

...but after a SD the s172 offences will need to be defended - then what?
Indy_S
I was advised that the fact that I had emailed the broker as to the change of address and that I’m not the RK (and so could not update the V5C) meant that I had done enough to reasonably believe my address was up-to-date. So the S172 offences would be set aside.

The feedback I got that was in these cases the court could “reactivate” the original offences and that I’d need to answer the original 3 speeding violations. Apparently, the courts often try to apply pressure to push for the defendant to make a guilty plea so as to spare the courts time. So I could end up with 9 points on my license.
samthecat
A Statutory Declaration would be made if you had been convicted without knowing about it and would take the process back to pre-trial.

AIUI you have a court date coming up so don't see a SD being relevant.

Also whilst you are not the registered keeper you are still the 'person keeping the vehicle' which is what's quoted in the legislation and places a higher burden on you to identify the driver.

The issue I can see, and am happy to be corrected if I am off the mark, is that if the court accept you didn't receive the written request due to the lease company not updating your address they will still want you to state who was driving at the relevant times.

If it was you then you could be convicted of the speeding offences, if you can't say who was driving you will need to show you have used reasonable diligence to try to find out and this is a high bar to pass and so could still be found guilty of failing to provide driver details.
Jlc
QUOTE (Indy_S @ Mon, 11 Sep 2017 - 14:46) *
I was advised that the fact that I had emailed the broker as to the change of address and that I’m not the RK (and so could not update the V5C) meant that I had done enough to reasonably believe my address was up-to-date. So the S172 offences would be set aside.

Looking at the date again (2016) it appears you have been convicted without your knowledge and are now performing a SD?

It does not seem in doubt that the requests were not received due to the old address. Any trial would be around whether you contributed to the lack of delivery. (Update of address)

QUOTE (Indy_S @ Mon, 11 Sep 2017 - 14:46) *
The feedback I got that was in these cases the court could “reactivate” the original offences and that I’d need to answer the original 3 speeding violations. Apparently, the courts often try to apply pressure to push for the defendant to make a guilty plea so as to spare the courts time. So I could end up with 9 points on my license.

No, not without any evidence as to the driver - which is at odds to the lack of s172 response. (Dual-listing often occurs which allows the defendant, if driving, to offer to plead guilty to the speeding in exchange for dropping the more serious charges)

QUOTE (samthecat @ Mon, 11 Sep 2017 - 15:28) *
...they will still want you to state who was driving at the relevant times.

If it was you then you could be convicted of the speeding offences, if you can't say who was driving you will need to show you have used reasonable diligence to try to find out and this is a high bar to pass and so could still be found guilty of failing to provide driver details.

It's all too late now to name the driver.
samthecat
QUOTE (Jlc @ Mon, 11 Sep 2017 - 15:44) *
QUOTE (Indy_S @ Mon, 11 Sep 2017 - 14:46) *
I was advised that the fact that I had emailed the broker as to the change of address and that I’m not the RK (and so could not update the V5C) meant that I had done enough to reasonably believe my address was up-to-date. So the S172 offences would be set aside.

Looking at the date again (2016) it appears you have been convicted without your knowledge and are now performing a SD?

QUOTE (samthecat @ Mon, 11 Sep 2017 - 15:28) *
...they will still want you to state who was driving at the relevant times.

If it was you then you could be convicted of the speeding offences, if you can't say who was driving you will need to show you have used reasonable diligence to try to find out and this is a high bar to pass and so could still be found guilty of failing to provide driver details.

It's all too late now to name the driver.


But the OP has been visited by Police and has now been bailed to attend court, the visit from Police presumably the first he knew of any allegations. I can't see anywhere that the case has been heard yet?

My rationale for there still being a need to name the driver is that the info must be provided as soon as practicable if outside the 28 days given by the 172 notice, if the notice was not received but Police attend in person and make the OP aware of the allegations the info could still be provided 'as soon as practicable' prior to the court date.

I'm slightly confused as to why the Police would attend the OP's home address if he had been previously convicted?
Jlc
Yes, clarification is required...

But unless a conviction was made in absence then the offences cannot be prosecuted anyway if outside 6 months. (I'd suspect the former)
southpaw82
QUOTE (Jlc @ Mon, 11 Sep 2017 - 16:41) *
But unless a conviction was made in absence then the offences cannot be prosecuted anyway if outside 6 months. (I'd suspect the former)

There's no bar to the proceedings taking place after the six month window, as you well know. My money is on the warrant being in connection with fines enforcement or to compel attendance so the court can ban the defendant. He really needs to find out what stage the case is at.
Jlc
Indeed, we don't appear to have the full information.
Indy_S
I wanted to give an update on this.

I contacted a couple of lawyers and asked for advice. They both offered to represent me but with costs of around £1200 I wasn't sure what to do. I remembered that a close friend of my wife is married to a lawyer who specialises in this area. I asked for his advice and he was able to dig around for me and find out all the details

So by the time i was arrested I had already been found guilty and I was due for sentencing. As previously mentioned all of this was unknown to me as the address on file for me with the car company was out of date. Since the sentencing may result in me being banned my attendance was required, hence why the police were involved.

I chose not to have legal representation on the day in court. I took a copy of the email to the lease company where I requested they update my address details, as well as copies of the previous messages as evidence that a reasonable person would view this channel as a reliable source of communication.

In court they asked me why I hadn't responded to the charges and I explained my position. They told me I could make a statutory declaration to confirm this and I did so.

They then revisited the original speeding offences, and I would have been satisfied that a fair outcome was for me to get 3 points and my wife to get 6 points. As they went through each charge, I pled not guilty to the times I was definitely not driving. On the 3rd offence I explained that I didn't know who was driving and that it could've been me or my wife. The magistrate asked the prosecution if there was any way to determine the driver based on the camera picture. But since it was facing the rear of the car it was impossible to tell. The prosecutor asked the court for 5-10 mins to consider the new evidence (e.g. my email to the lease co.)

I waited in the waiting room, worried that I had said something stupid. Back in the courtroom, the clerk went to call the magistrates in. The prosecuting lawyer leaned across and said
"Just to let you know I'm not gonna pursue the charge".
Yippee!!!
"Which charge I asked?" I said trying to sound as casual and professional as possible
"All the charges"
I was now doing cartwheels in my head, yet whilst still trying to maintain my calm demeanour.

In short, because I had plead not guilty and I had a reasonable reason for not responding they chose to drop the charges.

Thanks so much to everyone on this chain for their advice! It's been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster!!!

disgrunt
Thanks for coming back and up dating us.

Thanks for coming back and up dating us.
thisisntme
QUOTE (Indy_S @ Sat, 18 Nov 2017 - 16:51) *
I wanted to give an update on this.

I contacted a couple of lawyers and asked for advice. They both offered to represent me but with costs of around £1200 I wasn't sure what to do. I remembered that a close friend of my wife is married to a lawyer who specialises in this area. I asked for his advice and he was able to dig around for me and find out all the details

So by the time i was arrested I had already been found guilty and I was due for sentencing. As previously mentioned all of this was unknown to me as the address on file for me with the car company was out of date. Since the sentencing may result in me being banned my attendance was required, hence why the police were involved.

I chose not to have legal representation on the day in court. I took a copy of the email to the lease company where I requested they update my address details, as well as copies of the previous messages as evidence that a reasonable person would view this channel as a reliable source of communication.

In court they asked me why I hadn't responded to the charges and I explained my position. They told me I could make a statutory declaration to confirm this and I did so.

They then revisited the original speeding offences, and I would have been satisfied that a fair outcome was for me to get 3 points and my wife to get 6 points. As they went through each charge, I pled not guilty to the times I was definitely not driving. On the 3rd offence I explained that I didn't know who was driving and that it could've been me or my wife. The magistrate asked the prosecution if there was any way to determine the driver based on the camera picture. But since it was facing the rear of the car it was impossible to tell. The prosecutor asked the court for 5-10 mins to consider the new evidence (e.g. my email to the lease co.)

I waited in the waiting room, worried that I had said something stupid. Back in the courtroom, the clerk went to call the magistrates in. The prosecuting lawyer leaned across and said
"Just to let you know I'm not gonna pursue the charge".
Yippee!!!
"Which charge I asked?" I said trying to sound as casual and professional as possible
"All the charges"
I was now doing cartwheels in my head, yet whilst still trying to maintain my calm demeanour.

In short, because I had plead not guilty and I had a reasonable reason for not responding they chose to drop the charges.

Thanks so much to everyone on this chain for their advice! It's been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster!!!


well done. I'm assuming you've bought your lottery tickets!
nosferatu1001
Well done!
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