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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS


ing which carries between three and nine penalty points, simply because you were driving whilst holding your phone in your hand and not potentially giving your full attention to the road.


If you instruct us I would initially like to make represen- tations to the police officer directly to explain that the law has not changed and you were not committing an offence. Hopefully we can persuade him to drop the case altogether. But if not, we can at the very least try to get it down to the lesser offence of not being in proper control, putting you at risk of three points instead of six.


sentence you towards the higher end of the bracket, so closer to 16 months rather than 12 months. But with an early guilty plea and no previous convictions, that might be enough to mitigate the accident and keep it back towards the 12-month disqualification. You should also be given the option to complete a drink drive rehabilita- tions course which will further reduce the disqualification by one quarter.


Q A


I’ve just been stopped by the police for using my phone while driving. It was in my hand but I was only listening to music, I thought that I was allowed to do that because it was only against


the law to make a call or text. But the officer told me that the law had changed recently and now all use of a phone is illegal. Is that right?


The law has not changed, yet. Around two years ago the case of DPP v Barreto clarified that the offence of ‘using a mobile phone while driving’ was limited to using the phone for making/


receiving a call, sending or receiving text messages or accessing the Internet.


There was talk at the time of the law changing, however that has not happened and so if all you were doing was listening to music, then on the face of it, no you would not have been committing the offence - unless of course you were streaming music directly from the Internet in which case you were accessing the Internet, and then, yes, you are using a phone.


However, it’s also worth considering that even though you may not have technically committed an offence of using a phone whilst driving, you may have committed another offence such as not being in proper control of a vehicle, which carries three points, or even careless driv-


AUGUST 2021 case anymore. When did that change?


It is actually a common misconception. Many drivers wrongly believe that if you have got fully comprehensive insurance you are automatically able to drive other vehicles. It was the case years ago that the majority of insurance companies used to offer this as part of their policies, however it is no longer automatic and you will only be eligible to drive other vehicles on a third-party basis if your insurance policy specifically allows you to do that.


Q A


If you have been stopped whilst driving someone else’s vehicle, and you weren’t insured to do so, then you could be looking at between six and eight penalty points and an unlimited fine.


Please call us so that we can go through your case in more detail and discuss the circumstances. You may have a special reasons argument available to you. If we can convince the court that you genuinely believed that you were insured, and that belief was reasonable, then even though you were driving without insurance we may still be able to persuade the court not to endorse penalty points.


So there are certainly ways that we can help you. Call us so that we can discuss in more detail.


This impartial advice has been provided by Patterson Law Solicitors 01626 359800 www.pattersonlaw.co.uk


81


I’ve just got a summons to court for driving with- out insurance. I’m fully comp on my car and I thought that allowed me to drive other vehicles on a third-party basis. Apparently that’s not the


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