Common UK Road Traffic Offences

Motoring Offences in the UK

General Practice Solicitors who deal with multiple areas of criminal law often aren’t fully familiar with the ideal legal arguments that can be put forward on your behalf if you have been accused of any of the driving offences below;

Insurance Related Driving Offences

If you are stopped by the police driving with no motor insurance, you are assumed to be at fault and therefore guilty, regardless of your reason or circumstances.

6 – 8 points is the penalty if convicted for driving without having valid motor insurance in place.

Drivers are often unaware that their insurance provider has cancelled their motor insurance and not informed them.

Only if you can demonstrate to the Court that you genuinely believed that you had motor insurance in place can you then use the Special Reasons Argument.


The penalty for speed related motoring offences is 3 to 6 points, a driving ban if warranted by your offence, incurred court costs as well as a fine.

Speeding allegations are becoming complicated to defend in Court successfully without providing expert evidence on your behalf.

Fail to nominate driver

If you commit a driving offence, an S172 driver information request will be sent to you.

You will receive six penalty points on your driving licence for not returning the form.

The statutory defences in the Road Traffic Act are Section172(4) and Section172(7)(b) Road Traffic Act 1988.

You will need to show that you used reasonable diligence to establish who the driver was at the time of the offence, or that you didn’t receive the S 172 information request.

Drinking and Driving Offences

The maximum breath reading for drink drive in the UK is 35mg. A one year licence ban is the minimum licence suspension if convicted of a drink drive motroing offence.

To win defending a drinking and driving case, you will need to prove one of the following three points, either; you were not the driver, you were not in a public place, or that you didn’t drink until after you had finished driving.

Avoiding a drinking & driving licence ban is also possible if you can prove that you unknowingly drank the alcohol, that it was an emergency situation or that you only drove a short distance.

Drunk in Charge Related Offences

In court, it is necessary for the prosecution to show that you were over the drinking and driving legal limit, and that you were also in charge of the car too.

If you were not intending to drive until you were under the drinking and driving limit and can demonstrate this to the court then you have a possible defence.

You face either 10 penalty points and even a possible discretionary ban if you are found guilty of being drunk in charge of a vehicle.

Drug Driving in the UK

As of the 2nd March 2015, UK law has been updated with respect to drug driving and driving whilst under the influence of certain illegal as well as prescribed medicinal drugs.

The limits permissible for each type of drug have been tightened considerably, creating almost a zero tolerance approach in some instances.

Although the law has been updated, the legal process surrounding convicting guilty drivers doesn’t seem to have kept pace, with instances of different Courts treating the offence differently.

Many courts are using drink driving law as their yardstick for convicting, which has produced some unjust outcomes in the process to date.

For example, in one case, a driver was found to have 10 times the new legal limit for Cocaine in his system, even though it had been more than 24 hours since he had last taken the drug. The effects on his ability to drive were minimal in reality, but the court treated him as if he was a drink driver 10 times over the limit.

Because so many new situations arise from these new drug drive limits, it’s an area on law full of inconsistencies and misunderstandings. It’s never been more important to have experts legal representation if you are going to minimise the impact on your ability to drive.

Caught Driving with a Mobile Phone

The mobile must be held while being used in order for an offence to be committed.

Use of a phone is often a grey area and many Magistrates view it differently.

A stop at lights or a traffic jam is still considered by the Court to be driving.

Without Due Care

To be convicted of without due care, it is necessary for the prosecution to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the quality of your driving was not that of a competent and careful driver.

Undertaking on a motorway and many car park scrapes and knocks are covered by driving without due care and attention.

Depending on the nature of your offence and the severity of its nature, the police force where the incident occurred may offer you a Driving Improvement Course instead of attending Court.

Failing to Stop/Report an Accident

S 170 Road Traffic Act 1988 states that if damage is caused to another vehicle, a person or to property then you are under a duty to stop and provide your details.

Where it’s not possible to exchange details at the time, you must report the matter to a police officer as soon as you are reasonably able to do so and in less than twenty four hours.

Failure to comply carries 5 – 10 penalty points or a driving ban at the Magistrates discretion.

You would have a legal defence if you didn’t know that damage had been caused and you can demonstrate that it would have been reasonable that you didn’t know that you had in fact been involved in an accident.

Magistrates consider these road traffic offences to be serious. Because of that it has the power to impose community service or even prison if the circumstances of your offence warrant it.

Dangerous Driving Motoring Offences

In order to be convicted of dangerous driving, your quality of driving has to be demonstrated to have fallen beneath what is reasonably expected, but also, it must also be clearly obvious to a competent and careful driver that the driving is dangerous.

dangerous driving
An example of blatant dangerous driving

A conviction for dangerous driving carries a minimum 1 year driving licence disqualification, a complete driving licence re-test and a prison term.

No Licence Motoring offences

Much confusion surrounds this motoring offence.

If you are stopped while driving not in accordance with the conditions relevant to your current driving licence, for example not having passed a driving test or no L plates, then it is an endorsable driving offence.

If you have failed to return your driving licence to the DVLA when asked to do so and they suspend your driving entitlement, it is non-endorsable.

It is wrong to believe that ‘no licence’ means that your car insurance policy is invalid, that is not true.

This driving offence is often misunderstood by the police and Magistrates Courts, who often aren’t certain whether it carries driving licence penalty points or not.