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Don’t turn “Be My Valentine” to “Be My Partner in Crime!” – Why taking penalty points is a highly dangerous affair!

February 14, 2017 by in category News with 0 and 0
Home > News > News > Don’t turn “Be My Valentine” to “Be My Partner in Crime!” – Why taking penalty points is a highly dangerous affair!
failing to furnish taking penalty points for your partner

If you woke up this morning expecting a plethora of pink envelopes to be delivered through your door you may be feeling a tad disappointed to be greeted by an official looking envelope with the words “Central Ticket Office” glaring at you! If you have been unlucky enough to receive, today of all days, a NIP (Notice of Intended Prosecution) in the mail, you do have our sympathy.

Let’s say the notice alleges that your vehicle was snapped at 38mph in a 30mph zone and that since you are the registered keeper of the vehicle you will be required to name the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged offence. You remember back and it was you driving the car, on your way home from a long day at work. You’re facing 3 points for speeding, or a possible 6 points if you Fail to Furnish driver details. Problem is, you already have 9 points from within the last 3 years and have had the pleasure of attending a speed awareness course last year meaning you can’t go on one again for some time.  You don’t want to lose your licence, so you begin to think of some “clever” strategy to get you out of this mess!

Amongst other thoughts whizzing around your brain you keep coming back to the fact that your partner has no points and from memory, the photo of your vehicle is unlikely to be clear to show if it was you or her driving. So you start to think about how you can diplomatically suggest that she can take the rap for this offence. As your plan starts to crystallise, you think to yourself, “it’s no big deal and of course, you’ll make up for it with an extra special Valentine’s gift?”

WARNING

Whilst love may be in the air today, this kind of plan could see both you and your Valentine behind bars!

Falsifying information leads to a much heavier penalty than the loss of your licence. If you knowingly name someone else as a driver when you know they were not, you face a charge of Perverting the Course of Justice. This is an indictable only offence (meaning it can only be dealt with in the Crown Court) and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Whilst a life sentence is unlikely for this kind of scenario, prison is a very real probabilty. A common known example of this is the case of Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce. Having taken the penalty points for speeding for her then husband to avoid driving disqualification, years later when their marriage came to a messy end and the truth came to light, the high profile pair found themselves both given a prison sentence following their trial for perverting the course of justice.

Is Perverting the Course of Justice a motoring offence?

Perverting the course of justice is not a motoring offence but is an offence we often come across mainly because motorists don’t understand the severity of the most common motoring related scenarios:

  • A person tries to take penalty points for another
  • A person alleges they were a driver of a vehicle when they weren’t or that they were not a driver when they were
  • When a person says someone else was the driver of their vehicle or makes up a person who was the driver of their vehicle

What counts as Perverting the Course of Justice?

There are numerous examples of perverting the course of justice due to it being a blanket term for several possible different criminal acts, here are just a few that could be related to perverting the course of justice:

  • Making a false allegation of a crime;
  • Assisting another person to evade arrest by the police
  • Taking penalty points for someone else when you were not the driver
  • Perjury (giving false evidence in court)
  • Replying to a NIP naming someone who was not the driver or naming a person who doesn’t exist

What isn’t Perverting the Course of Justice?

The following are all perfectly lawful things to do and do not amount to perverting the course of justice:

  • Refusing to be interviewed as a suspect by the police;
  • Answering “no comment” in a police interview;
  • Asking the police to provide you with extra information before you admit something;
  • Delaying a police interview to speak to a solicitor
  • Pleading not guilty and taking your case to trial; and
  • Failing to provide driver information in response to a police request for driver details

Pleading Guilty or Defending the case?

You should always think very carefully before defending a perverting the course of justice case. This is due to the fact that a guilty plea could be the difference between going to prison or not, as seen in the case of Rita McKenna and Natasha Jasper. If you do decide to defend the case our team of lawyers will review the strength of the prosecution’s case against you before advising you of the merits of your case. If you do however choose to plead guilty, it is our job to present mitigation to the court to minimise the sentence and achieve the best possible outcome for you. In some cases, we might be able to negotiate with the CPS to reduce the charge to a much less serious allegation, such as police obstruction or wasting police time, especially in cases where there has been a misunderstanding.

should I get a lawyer

Should I get a lawyer involved?

When it comes allegations of an offence as serious as perverting the course of justice, we always advise that you seek legal representation. Even if you haven’t been charged with perverting the course of justice, and are just being interviewed by the police, it could be vital to have a lawyer come in at this stage. Remember that “anything you say may be used as evidence”, and having an experienced solicitor can help you formulate the correct strategy and deal with the police interview to your advantage.

Where do I go from here?

If you are facing yourself with a situation that could lead to a perverting the course of justice allegation or conviction, we advise you to call us as we are always happy to go over your case with you. Though obviously, the easiest way to avoid a conviction of perverting the course of justice is to be truthful with your motoring offences, as many would agree that when weighing your licence against possible prison time, losing your licence will always be the first choice.

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