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Title: We had a bit of a race...

Date: 20 April 2011

 

Question
 
I was followed by an unmarked police bike along some country roads and through a few villages. I thought the rider was having some fun with me and we had a bit of a race. When he pulled me over he reported me for travelling at speeds in excess of 100mph in a 60mph zone and in excess of 70mph in a 30mph zone. I am scared that any day now the court papers will arrive on my door mat. If I lose my licence then I will lose my job as a HGV driver. Then I will not be able to pay the mortgage. What can I do to keep my licence?
 
Anonymous, Herts
 
Answer
 
Firstly you are fortunate not to have been charged with dangerous driving if you were racing as that would be open to the police although you could have argued entrapment which is why they do not usually add this charge.
 
Both speed differentials (100mph in a 60mph limit and 70mph in a 30mph limit) are pretty serious speeding offences although the 70mph in the 30mph area is the one I am most concerned about.
Assuming the police followed correct procedure then you are going to have to argue “mitigating circumstances” as best you can and I strongly suggest you instruct a solicitor to do so on your behalf.
 
In speeding offences the Magistrates will look at “aggravating circumstances” as well as mitigating circumstances. Examples of mitigating circumstances would be that the weather was fine and the roads were dry, that there was no or very little traffic about and likewise no or few pedestrians.
In cases of genuine emergency a complete defence can be accepted but these cases are rare and yours would not appear to be one. Aggravating circumstances would include speeding in a built up areas where there were pedestrians, particularly children, present; where the roads were wet, visibility poor or where the roads were busy. Acts such as wheelies would also be seen as aggravating factors.
 
You do not say if you already have points on your licence. The totting up procedure means that if you get 12 points then the general rule is you will be disqualified. It is not inconceivable that you could be banned for these offences. However, if you can show that you would suffer serious financial hardship as a result of losing your licence or that someone else would suffer, for example a disabled relative who you provide regular care for and that without a licence you could not, then you may escape a ban. I cannot go into more detail here save to say you must get formal legal advice.

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