You’ve never had a car accident before, never been arrested and never even seen a trial – much less be the subject of it.

Yet you have to explain your driving decision-making and judgement to Magistrates – and be cross-examined by a Prosecutor.

I prosecute as well as defend Road Traffic cases– and where licences and livelihoods are on the line, I’m amazed to see Defendants go it alone – or with a lawyer who does not regularly practice in this specialist area of law.

In the last few days, I’ve seen people

• fail to “put their case” to Crown witnesses;
• try to raise faulty traffic lights for the first time in their closing speeches; and
• fail to understand that even a momentary lapse of judgment is enough for a Without due care / Careless Driving guilty verdict.

Advocacy does matter. So does knowing the rules.

What would I do?

1. Find a lawyer who specialises in Motoring law. Ask them what percentage of their practice is dealing with Motoring offences, Road Traffic law and Magistrates Court trials.

2. Shop around. The lawyer with the top Google Ad may or may not be the right lawyer for you.

3. Websites that tell you everything but the name of their lawyers make me wonder if they are run by middle-men – adding an extra layer of costs.

4. There are a few of us who specialise in Motoring law with websites we’re happy to be associated with. Google us and find out our history before parting with any money. Ring us direct. Find an advocate you gel with – and who you have confidence in.

5. Take expert and impartial advice. It may be that your defence is in fact a “special reason” – or vice versa.

Ordinary people with good driving records who’ve never set foot in a Magistrates Court can find themselves facing fines, costs, penalty points and even the loss of their licence. This may not be the time to go it alone or with someone who doesn’t know precisely what they’re doing.