McGovern Reid were recently instructed by a new driver who was charged with dangerous driving. In the event of conviction, the penalty includes a mandatory disqualification for a minimum of 12 months. This would have had a significant impact on our client who relied on their licence for both their employment and further education commitments.
They met with one of the partners, Matthew McGovern, who discussed our client’s personal circumstances as well as the driving on the date in question. Our client accepted that their driving had fallen below the standard of a careful and competent driver. They instructed Matthew to contact the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) and try to persuade the COPFS to accept a plea to careless driving instead.
The distinction between careless driving and dangerous driving is that careless driving comes with discretionary- rather than mandatory- disqualification and the Court can impose between 3 and 9 penalty points as an alternative to disqualification.
Matthew was able to successfully negotiate a plea with the prosecutor which significantly reduced the seriousness of the charge and the case called at Hamilton Sheriff Court. The client was keen to plead guilty at the earliest possible opportunity to maximise the discount in sentencing which is available to accused persons charged with criminal offences. An accused who pleads guilty at first calling can expect to receive a discount of roughly 33%, if they plead guilty later on in the case a discount of 20-25% can be expected and an accused who pleads guilty before the start of trial can receive a discount of 10%.
Following detailed submissions from Matthew, the Sheriff was persuaded to impose penalty points- as opposed to disqualification- which allowed the new driver to retain their licence.