Since 2006, driving while using a hand-held mobile phone has been an endorsable offence in England and Wales due to the increased awareness of how using these devices can impact upon a driver’s awareness, and of the frequency of accidents arising from their use.
Those convicted of using a hand-held mobile phone will be subject to six penalty points and a fine of up to £1,000, rising to £2,500 if the vehicle in question is a bus, coach or heavy goods vehicle.
However, depending on the circumstances, it may be the case that a charge of dangerous driving is pursued, the consequences of which will be far more serious. A conviction for dangerous driving, which will often be the case when a driver is found to be texting while driving, can see a driver receive a custodial sentence. If you find yourself facing a charge of driving while using a hand-held mobile phone it is vitally important to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity to give yourself the best chance of retaining your licence, and to avoid other serious repercussions.
An allegation of using a hand-held mobile phone while driving will not necessarily result in a conviction. Motoring offences are often complex in nature, there are strict procedural rules that the police are required to follow, and failure to adhere to these can be used as the basis for an effective defence. The criminal defence solicitors at Wilford Smith specialise in defending road traffic cases, applying rigorous analysis to the circumstances surrounding any charges that have been brought. Our team will work ruthlessly to develop high-level strategies through our skill, hard work and determination. Accessing quality legal advice as soon as possible provides you with much-needed reassurance at a difficult time, as well as giving you the best chance of avoiding a driving ban. Contact our specialist Road Traffic Defence Team today to find out how we can help.
When can I be charged with driving while using a mobile phone?
You can be charged if you are found to be using a mobile phone while driving a vehicle. The term “use” has been given a broad interpretation by the courts, but is usually seen to be some form of interactive function such as making telephone calls, texting, emailing, receiving data or browsing the internet.
The charge of driving while using a mobile phone also applies when a vehicle is stationary, unless the engine of the vehicle has been switched off. If a passenger is supervising a learner driver they can be charged if found to be using a mobile phone at this time, while employers can be charged if they are found to be allowing or requiring employees to use hand-held mobile devices while driving. You can be prosecuted even if you are able to show that your driving has not been affected by using a mobile phone. The only circumstance in which it is permissible to use a mobile phone will be when you are contacting the emergency services, where the circumstances can be considered a genuine emergency, and it is not safe or practicable to stop.
What are the penalties for using a hand-held mobile device while driving?
For offences committed on or after 1 March 2017, the maximum penalty that you can receive following a conviction for driving a car while using a hand-held mobile device is a fine of £1,000, six penalty points on your licence or a disqualification from driving. If you are alleged to have committed this offence you will normally receive a Fixed Penalty Notice, which imposes a fine of £200 and six penalty points. A Fixed Penalty Notice acts as an alternative to a formal prosecution before the Magistrates’ Court.
If you receive a Fixed Penalty Notice and wish to challenge this, you should consult a lawyer who specialises in road traffic offences. Wilford Smith’sCriminal Defence Solicitors have the expertise and skill to scrutinise all evidence put forward by the prosecution to establish the best grounds on which to mount a challenge to allegations of driving while using a hand-held mobile phone.
What is meant by ‘hand-held devices’?
If a driver makes or receives a call on their mobile while holding the device, the mobile phone will be classed as hand-held. This classification will also apply when a mobile phone is used to send or receive text messages, to send or receive picture messages or to access the internet. The law allows for the use of hands-free devices for the making of phone calls, however drivers should be aware that they can still be prosecuted if the police believe their driving has been impaired by the use of these devices.
Why choose Wilford Smith?
The criminal defence team at Wilford Smith has years of experience handling road traffic cases and is well placed to advise you on challenging allegations of driving while using a mobile phone. Our solicitors appear in court regularly and take a ruthless approach to challenging every detail of the prosecution’s case. We are experts in dealing with road traffic cases, and our lawyers can provide expert legal advice to help you avoid maximum penalty points and the loss of your licence. Contesting road traffic charges can be a complex process, but you can be sure that our experienced criminal defence team will provide you with straightforward, jargon-free advice as part of our client-focused and highly personal service.
Contact our Solicitors for Driving While Using a Mobile Phone Advice, UK
For advice and representation for driving with mobile phone offences, contact Wilford Smith. Our Criminal Defence Solicitors are based in Sheffield and London and serve clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 01709 828 044 to find out how we can help.