Do you require Court Representation
for a Road Traffic Offence?
Ownership or use of a motor vehicle comes with massive responsibility and if you have ever been either of the former categories, then you are at risk of breaching the law that regulates Road Traffic Offences in Ireland.
While on the face of it, Road Traffic offences appear simple, this is an extremely technical and somewhat complex area of the law and one in which Downing Courtney & Larkin Solicitors LLP have enormous expertise. We recognise that even the most minor Road Traffic offence can result in massive stress for a client and have serious legal and life consequences.
Here at Downing Courtney & Larkin Solicitors LLP, we specialise in representing clients in respect of the following Road Traffic Offences:
Driving under the influence of alcohol or as it’s more colloquially “drink driving” matters arrive before the Courts in one of two ways:
- A charge sheet procedure wherein you will have been charged with an offence at a particular Garda Station and are bailed to appear in Court or;
- You will have received a summons in the post. The majority of drink driving prosecutions will involve three appearances in front of a District Court Judge in the area in which the offence is alleged to have happened.
- On the initial date in court, the Judge will order disclosure of the evidence produced and being relied upon by the Gardaí;
- The Judge will allocate a date for the next Court appearance wherein you will either enter a plea of guilty or contest the charges, upon consideration of the evidence and legal advice by the team at Downing Courtney & Larkin Solicitors LLP.
- If contested the Judge will be heard in full on the third date by the Judge.
If you receive a conviction for Drink Driving, you will receive the following penalties:
- A mandatory qualification of at least 1 year upwards depending on the
- The amount of alcohol that was in your system at the time of the offence;
- The type or class of licence you hold;
- Your previous driving history.
- A monetary fine.
It is possible if you have been disqualified from driving to have your licence restored early in certain circumstances and where certain criteria have been met, namely as follows:
- Two thirds of the disqualification period must have elapsed;
- It must be your first drink driving disqualification in the previous 10 years;
- The monetary fine must have been fully paid and ;
- You must have submitted your driving licence to the local authority to have the disqualification endorsed thereon.
A person is not permitted to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place unless they hold the appropriate driving licence. It is also a legal requirement that the driver carries a drivers licence when they are driving.
Section 6 of the Road Traffic Act 2014 empowers the Gardaí to arrest any person who in their opinion is driving without a licence or who has been disqualified from holding a licence.
It is a defence for a person to show in court that they had a learners permit for the vehicle in which they were driving.
There are monetary and custodial sentences for driving without a licence depending on the circumstances
As a road user, a person driving a vehicle must ensure that they have appropriate insurance to drive same. Similarly the owner of a vehicle may become guilty of an offence if they allow another person to drive their vehicle without insurance, unless they can show that the vehicle was being used without their express consent. The Gardaí Síochána are permitted to demand production of appropriate proof of insurance of a road user within a period of ten days. The failure to do so is in fact a separate offence carrying separate penalties.
Driving without insurance carries the following penalties:
- A maximum fine of €5,000;
- Possibility of imprisonment for up to six months;
- Penalty points;
- A disqualification for a period of two years on the first conviction.
The Court, may when dealing with a first offence of driving without any insurance, where it is satisfied that a special reason exists, use it’s discretion to make a disqualification order of less than a year. There is no list of “special reasons” and it is entirely at the Court’s discretion, but Downing Courtney & Larkin LLP solicitors will be able to advise you based on the circumstances of your individual case and will fully assist and endeavour to obtain the most favourable result available to your case. Please note that any driver who receives 12 penalty points in any three-year period will be liable to incur a six month disqualification from driving.
It is an offence in Ireland for a person to drive a vehicle in a public place without due reasonable consideration for the other persons also using the palace. “Reasonable Consideration” does not have a specific definition and it will normally be for a Judge to decide what is reasonable or not.
It is for the prosecution to demonstrate that the driver was “unreasonable”, therefore it will be a good defence to show that the action the subject matter of proceedings is in fact reasonable. This can be shown through the oral evidence of the person being prosecuted themselves or some other independent witness/evidence such as dash cam or CCTV footage.
It is similarly a good defence to show that the vehicle being driven at the time of the offence had a mechanical defect.
Driving without Reasonable Consideration can attract the following penalties:
- A fixed charge fine of €80 and 2 penalty points if paid within 28 days;
- This rises to 4 penalty points and €120 if convicted in Court.
A person shall not drive a vehicle in a public place without the requisite due care and attention. Again, there is no statutory definition of what constitutes “due care and attention” and this will very much come down to the facts of the particular case and the discretion of a judge on the day in question.
It will be a defence to proceedings to show that the offence alleged did not constitute careless driving, or that there was some sort of mechanical defect or there was duress at play on the driver.
If convicted the following penalties will apply
- A presumptive disqualification order of not less than two years for a first offence and a mandatory disqualification order of four years if the matter relates to a second or subsequent office within a period of three years of the first offence;
- If significant mitigation can be demonstrated to the Court, the judge has discretion on a first offence not to impose a disqualification order;
- If the alleged careless driving causes death or serious bodily harm to another individual, the person convicted is liable on indictment to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 2 yeas or to a fine not exceeding €10,000.
- A fine not exceeding €5,000.
- A minimum four-year disqualification from driving where a person is convicted of careless driving tried on indictment, where the offence caused the death or serious bodily harm of another individual.
It is an offence for a person to drive a vehicle in a public place in a manner, including speed, which, having regard to all the particular circumstances of the case (including the condition of the vehicle, the nature and conditions of the public place etc) is or is likely to be dangerous to the public.
The following penalties apply in the event of a conviction in Court:
- Two-year mandatory disqualification in the case of a first offence;
- Summarily, fine of up to a maximum of €5,000.00 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months;
- On indictment (for example in death or serious bodily harm matters) the accused can be fined up to €20,000.00 and/or can face a term of imprisonment of up to 10 years.
The accused can face a potential four year disqualification on conviction for a second offence.
It is an offence in Ireland to drive under the influence of drugs and these cases can come before the Courts in one of two ways:
- A charge sheet procedure, (insofaras you have been charged with an offence at a Garda station and bailed to appear in court) or:
- You will be in receipt of a summons in the post, compelling your appearance in court. Similar to drink driving most prosecutions for drug driving will involve three appearances in the local District Court where the offence is alleged to have occurred.
- On the first appearance, the Judge will make an order requiring disclosure of the evidence being relied upon by the State. The Judge will also set a date for the next Court appearance where the accused will either contest the charges or plead guilty. In the interim, the team at Downing Courtney & Larkin Solicitors LLP will review the evidence and advise you of the best course of action to take.
- On the second date, we will advise the Court that we are either contesting the case on your behalf or entering a guilty plea.
- On the final date, the case will be heard in full in the event of a full contest.
The following penalties apply if you are successfully prosecuted by the state for driving under the influence of drugs:
- A mandatory disqualification from driving for 4 years and;
- A monetary fine.
Again it is open to you, similar to a Drink Driving offence after a certain period of time to apply for an early restoration of your licence and we at Downing Courtney & Larkin Solicitors LLP will advise you of your options in this regard.
Please feel free to contact us now for a complimentary, no -obligation fee quotation if you have any queries in relation to any queries you have in relation to a Road Traffic Offence and we will revert to you within 24 hours. Or you can telephone us directly on 064 6631061 and speak to a member of our team immediately.
*Please note that the information above is demonstrative only, please contact us directly so that we can discuss your individual case.
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