2017 Legal 500 Ranking

Marcus Croskell is pleased to announce that for the fourth year in a row, he has been recognised in the Legal 500 as leading junior barrister in chancery and commercial law.  In particular it was noted that he is “...experienced in commercial and insolvency disputes.”  The Legal 500 is one of the leading directories of lawyers in the UK and relies on input from referees to decide if someone is listed or not.

Marcus is also proud to say that his Chambers has maintained its Top Tier status in the South East Circuit Regional area with its commercial team marked out particularly for its work and expertise.

If you would like help with your legal problem, do not hesitate to contact Marcus on 0843 886 2603.  Alternatively you can email Marcus Croskell.

High Risk Offenders - Getting Your Licence Back After a Drink Drive Ban

Once you have served a drink-drive disqualification, getting back your licence can be complicated, especially if you are categorised as a “high risk offender”. However, a lawyer can give you advice and help you through the process.

Anyone convicted of drink-driving will normally be banned from driving for at least a year, although the length of the ban depends on various factors. As a specialist drink drive lawyer, Marcus Croskell works with many motorists in East Anglia and further afield who have been disqualified from driving, giving expert legal advice.

Who is Categorised as a High Risk Offender?

Drivers are legally categorised as “high risk” for a number of reasons. This includes people with a high alcohol reading and repeat offenders who have been convicted for the second time in 10 years.

However, these are not the only motorists who are regarded as high risk. This also normally applies if you refused to give a sample of breath, blood or urine or refused to allow analysis of a blood sample, which may have been taken while you were unconscious following an accident.

So even if you were only just over the drink-drive limit, or not over the limit at all, refusing to blow into a breathalyser can potentially put you into the “high risk” category. This is one of the reasons why it is very important for drivers to be aware of how serious it is to refuse to take a breath test.

However, there can sometimes be genuine medical reasons why someone can’t give a breath test, and if this applies to you it is important to get legal advice at the stage of being charged so that your defence can be put in court. Drink drive lawyer Marcus Croskell can advise you on this, and provide expert representation. 

Applying to Get Back Your Licence  

Once a ban from the road has been served, the procedures for high risk offenders differ from the standard procedure for having a driving licence restored. In most cases, a driver is sent a D27 renewal form 56 days before their ban ends.

However, if you fall into the high risk bracket you will be sent the licence application 90 days before your ban ends, because you have to undergo a medical examination before you get back your licence. You will also have to pay the cost of the examination.

It is important to be aware that, if you haven’t yet undergone the medical and been passed as fit to drive, then you are still disqualified, even if the period you were banned for has finished. So, if you were to drive during this period, you could be charged with driving while disqualified.

DVLA Medicals

As part of the medical, drivers have to answer a questionnaire about their alcohol use and their medical history, and will also be physically examined by the doctor.

They also have to have a blood test which looks for the Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin (CDT) biomarker. There is a higher level of this in the blood if people are heavy drinkers. The blood sample is sent for analysis and the test results are categorised on a traffic light system, as red, amber and green.

Green means the reading falls within the normal range. However, amber means there may possibly be excessive alcohol consumption, and with this type of result the DVLA will check with a doctor before giving back the licence. Red indicates someone is alcohol dependent and the licence application will be refused.

Temporary licences can also sometimes be issued, which would mean you would need to undergo another medical after a period of between 12 and 36 months.

If the return of your licence is refused because of concern over alcohol use, you will be informed of what you need to do and any time limits before you can reply. If refusal was because of alcohol misuse, a minimum period of 6 months controlled drinking or abstinence is usually required before your licence can be returned. If the problem is alcohol dependence, you will normally need evidence of 12 months abstinence.

After refusal, you will usually need to provide a medical report from your own doctor and undergo another DVLA medical before you can get your licence back.

Right to Appeal

If the DVLA refuses to return your licence, you have the right to appeal to a magistrates’ court. You will need to do this within 6 months of the decision, and it is important to have expert legal advice and present your case as strongly as possible.

One example of circumstances where a driver might appeal are if they have been abstaining from drinking but the medical examiner doesn’t believe them. Another could be if there was an amber CDT blood reading and the DVLA has decided against returning the licence after checking with a doctor, but the driver feels this decision is wrong.

A lawyer can help by advising you over whether you have a realistic chance of success and representing you in court if you decide to go ahead with an appeal. 

If you are looking for barristers based in East Anglia to represent you in an appeal, Marcus Croskell frequently appears in courts in the area, as well as in Suffolk, Essex, East Anglia, London and other parts of the UK.

Facing a drink-drive charge is bound to be very stressful, but, as a direct access barrister, he can support you and give expert legal advice throughout the whole process, from initial charging right through to getting your licence back.

As well as appealing against a refusal to return a licence, he can also represent you if you are applying to have a long driving ban reduced. Email Marcus Croskell here or call 0843 886 2603 for an initial free consultation.  

What do different courts do?

When you are having dealings with the courts for the first time, it can be confusing finding out which court does what. Having to attend court, perhaps after being charged with a motoring or criminal offence, is bound to be a stressful experience. A good way to prepare is to consult barristers in Ipswich, who can explain the court system to you before your first appearance.

Barrister Marcus Croskell frequently appears in different types of court, not only in Ipswich and Suffolk but across East Anglia and in other parts of the UK. Here we look at some of the main types of court you may come into contact with and the types of cases they hear.

Magistrates’ Courts: All criminal cases in the UK start with an initial appearances in a Magistrates’ Court, with most being heard there, either by a panel of magistrates or by a District Judge. However, the more serious cases go on to Crown Court for either trial or sentencing. Magistrates’ courts have limited sentencing powers, with the maximum prison sentence they can impose normally being six months.

Many types of charge are “summary” cases which have to be heard in a Magistrates’ Court with no option to go before a jury. Most types of driving offence fall into this category, as do less serious criminal damage cases and common assault cases. There are also some “either way” cases which can be heard at either a Magistrates’ or Crown Court, including thefts and burglaries, fraud charges and many drugs cases. Some civil cases are also heard in the Magistrates’ Court.

Crown Court: Crown Court operates with a judge and jury rather than a bench of magistrates, and hears more serious cases. ‘Indictable’ cases must go to Crown Court, including murder, manslaughter, rape and robbery.

Magistrates can decide to commit “either way” cases to Crown Court if it has potential punishments over a certain threshold. They can also hear a case but then send it to Crown Court for sentencing where they feel their powers will not be high enough. If you are pleading not guilty to an either way offence, you also have the option to choose a jury trial. This is an important decision and needs to be discussed in detail with your barrister.

Youth Court: Although Youth Courts sit within a Magistrates’ Court building, they are not so formal. Also, different terms are used to describe the various officials and processes. They deal with an age group from 10 to 16 and a wide range of different charges, including drugs and anti-social behaviour. Young people can be committed to Crown Court for trial in very serious cases.

County Court: Most civil disputes resulting in litigation are heard by the County Court. These include many different types of business dispute where you will need a lawyer with expert knowledge, including debt recovery. Disputes between landlords and tenants and injury compensation cases are also heard here. A judge presides over the hearing and usually hears it alone before giving judgement. Cases below a certain level normally operate on a “small claims” basis. Many civil disputes are settled via mediation or other means of Alternative Dispute Resolution without coming to court.

High Court: The High Court is based at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, but some cases are heard at its district registries in other parts of the country. It deals with appeals against decisions in lower courts and also with more important civil cases. It has three main divisions, which are the Queen’s Bench, Chancery and Family Divisions. Cases are heard by judges, who often sit alone.

Many contract law cases go before the Queen’s Bench division, which also deals with injury compensation and negligence claims. Chancery deals with a wide range of cases involving business law and trusts, while the Family Division deals with matters such as divorce and child custody. There are some areas of overlap between the divisions and there are also various specialist courts which operate as part of the High Court, for instance the Admiralty Court which comes under the Queen’s Bench umbrella.

Cases heard in the High Court can go on to the Court of Appeal, which deals with both criminal and civil appeals in the UK, and then in some cases there can be a further appeal to the Supreme Court. At present, cases can go on to be referred to European courts, although this may change in the future.

If you are looking for barristers in Ipswich to represent you, Marcus Croskell has extensive experience of appearing in different types of court. These include both criminal and civil courts across East Anglia and in other parts of the country, as well as Manchester High Court and the High Court and Court of Appeal in London. He is also expert in Alternative Dispute Resolution outside the courts. You can either telephone for an initial free consultation on 0843 886 2603 or email.   

Who's Who at Court

court gavel

If you have never been in contact with the judicial system before and are charged with an offence, facing a court appearance will inevitably be nerve-racking. However, it will help if you find expert barristers in the Ipswich and Suffolk area who have a detailed knowledge of the local courts and can advise you on what to expect.

Here we look at some of the main officials you will see when you attend a Crown or Magistrates’ Court and describe what their roles are.

Crown Court Judge – The judge sits at the front of the court and wears a wig, as the barristers appearing in Crown Court also do. This traditional headdress has been worn by the judiciary for centuries. All judges are qualified and experienced lawyers. It is the role of the judge to oversee the whole proceedings, ensuring that the trial is fair. He/she will also decide the sentence if the defendant either pleads guilty or is found guilty at the end of a trial.

Court Clerk or Legal Advisor – The Crown Court clerk sits at the front of the court and is in charge of all the paperwork which may need to be referred to in the course of a case. In Magistrates’ Court, the Legal Advisor performs a similar role and also has the job of taking notes. In Crown Court, digital recording equipment has replaced the former stenographers.

Crown Court Jury – A jury consists of 12 members, who have the role of deciding a verdict in Crown Court cases, with the judge then deciding the sentence. Jurors have to listen to all the evidence before going into the deliberation room to consider their verdict. Initially they will try to reach a unanimous verdict, but if this isn’t possible the judge may ask them to see if they can instead reach a majority verdict, with at least 10 agreeing. There are various safeguards to ensure they decide the case fairly, such as not being allowed to discuss details of the trial with family and friends or research cases on the internet.

Magistrates and District Judges – Unlike judges, magistrates are volunteers and are usually not lawyers. They are also sometimes known as Justices of the Peace or JPs. Most Magistrates’ Court cases are presided over by three magistrates, with legal support. There are no juries in this type of courtroom, so if there is a trial the magistrates decide on the facts of the case, as well as sentencing. District Judges also sometimes sit at Magistrates’ Courts and hear more complex cases alone.

Prosecution Lawyers – Most cases in UK criminal courts are prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). However, sometimes prosecutions are also brought by other agencies, such as the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency. The CPS employs a number of lawyers, including both barristers and solicitors. They can appear in both the Crown and Magistrates Courts, although barristers usually prosecute in Crown Court.

Defence Lawyers Both barristers and solicitors can act as defence lawyers in court. Barristers traditionally defended people in Crown Court, but now often appear in Magistrates’ Court as well. If you are looking for a barrister to defend you, there are advantages to choosing a direct access barrister. From speaking to them before the case, you will know that it will be somebody you get on with. Dealing with them direct, rather than through a solicitor, will also mean there is greater continuity and that you pay only one set of fees.

Ushers – Ushers make sure that everyone is present and call through the defendants and witnesses as they are needed. As a defendant, you need to make sure you are there in good time, because you won’t be given an exact starting time for your case. Ushers also have to ensure the courtroom is properly prepared before a case.

Security Guards – Security staff check everyone at the door in Crown Court and there are also security officers at Magistrates’ Court. Their role involves meeting people at the door and ensuring the safety and security of the court. Some court security officers are employed by private companies.

If you need representation by barristers in Ipswich, Marcus Croskell has extensive knowledge of courts in the area. He frequently appears at both Magistrates’ and Crown Courts, representing people from the Woodbridge and Suffolk areas and further afield in East Anglia. He specialises in motoring offences as well as being a criminal defence lawyer. You can send an email for a free initial consultation or call 0843 886 2603

Your Driving Licence After Age 70

70 is the new 50, so they say – but not according to the DVLA. In the UK, all driving licences automatically expire when the motorist reaches their 70th birthday. From then on, they have to be reviewed and renewed every 3 years to ensure the driver remains medically fit to drive.

If you need to fight a decision to revoke your licence on medical grounds and to present evidence that you are still fit to drive, it is important to get legal advice. For anybody looking for barristers in Ipswich specialising in motoring issues, Marcus Croskell has extensive knowledge of this whole area of the law, including helping drivers over 70 to retain their licences.

What Does the Law Say about Driving After Age 70?

Licences cannot be revoked purely on grounds of age, but only on medical grounds, in instances where a driver has a condition which could make them unsafe on the road. While carrying out checks makes sense in terms of ensuring that people are fit to drive, it can create problems for over-70s who have to keep renewing their licences and proving that they are in good health.

At this age, it can often happen that someone becomes medically unfit to drive for a time, but then regains health and fitness due to medical treatment. Unfortunately, however, if a licence has been revoked, it can often prove hard to have it reinstated later on.

With an increasing number of people in the UK falling into the 70-plus age range, driving over this age is increasingly important. Many people in this age group are still fit and healthy, and want to continue driving to maintain their independence. More than 3.8 million over-70s currently hold driving licences.

Driving Over 70

A growing number of over-70s are now putting off retirement and carrying on driving for employment reasons, including part-time and voluntary work. Others have important family responsibilities, including providing childcare for grandchildren or caring for spouses or more elderly parents, which can also require regular use of a car.

For all these reasons, retaining a driving licence is important for many people’s independence and livelihood. Also, public transport can be quite limited in rural areas in particular, including some of the villages in Suffolk and East Anglia, such as those around Ipswich and Woodbridge. This means a car is often needed to travel to all kinds of appointments or just to go and do the household’s shopping.

How Can You Prevent Your Licence Being Revoked?

A licence can only be revoked on medical grounds, which requires a doctor or specialist to certify that you are fit or unfit. If you are informed that your licence may be revoked, the next step is to seek written evidence from a doctor or other relevant specialist, for instance an optician, to show you are fit to drive. In cases where you are genuinely fit to drive, this evidence will normally be accepted by the DVLA.

What To Do if Your Licence is Incorrectly Revoked

If you feel that your licence should not have been removed, the first line of defence is to provide evidence to the DVLA from a suitable doctor or specialist. If this is rejected, you can then go to the Magistrates’ Court to appeal. It is at this point that having experienced motoring lawyers to argue your case is vitally important.

In one recent case, a client approached Marcus Croskell for advice and representation regarding his appeal against the revocation of his driving licence on medical grounds. He had been a professional driver all his life and was eligible under his licence to drive nearly all HGVs (classes C, C1 and CE). Like many people, he was surprised to receive a letter from the DVLA revoking his licence due to a report made by his local GP.

Where the DVLA Medical Group receive a report from a medical practitioner that a driver is considered dangerous, they are obliged to act within 24 hours. In this instance, the client immediately appealed and was helped by Marcus Croskell through the appeal process, including appearances at the magistrates' court.

During the intervening period, he underwent further medicals and a driving assessment. With the help of his barrister, he was able to show that the alleged minor degeneration of his cognitive function was not a recognised medical condition for licence revocation.

Where a driver succeeds in retaining their licence and the DVLA has failed to follow the appropriate procedures, there may be scope for bringing a formal complaint with a view to obtaining a public apology and nominal compensation. If the DVLA does not engage in this process, there is always the option of having the matter referred through your local MP to the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman. They will independently look at the case and they have the power to force the DVLA to give both an apology and compensation.

If you need to find barristers in Ipswich specialising in motoring law, Marcus Croskell is based in the town. He regularly represents people in all types of driving case across a wide area, including Essex, Norfolk and all of East Anglia. Follow the link to make a free initial enquiry or call 0843 886 2603.

Recent Changes to Driving Legislation

There have been a number of changes to the law in relation to motoring have occurred on the past few years.  Some of these changes are completely new, creating new types of motoring offence, whereas others are the development and extension of existing legislation.  Unfortunately, each government feels the need to tinker with the law to show that they are tough on crime whilst not always making it for the better.

These changes mean drivers may now find themselves being prosecuted for behaviours that were previously legal, or which were not strictly enforced or carried fairly minor fines.  Here we outline three of these changes and discuss the best course of action if you are accused of breaching these laws.

Smoking in Cars

It has been illegal to smoke in public buildings and work vehciles for some years, but it is now illegal to smoke inside a car where under 18's are also present.  An offence may be committed by (a) the person smoking and/or (b) the driver, for failing to prevent the smoker from smoking.

In the case of a "failure to prevent smoking" by another person there are a number of defences available including showing that someone took reasonable steps to prevent smoking, or that they did not realise someone was smoking.  One can imagine this will be difficult to show if the prosecuted party was present because of the natural smell of the smoking tobacco.

The penalty involves a fine only, and does not involve getting points on your licence – so you may decide it is not worth contesting and just paying up. But it does count as a criminal offence, which you may not want to have on your record  for two reasons:

* Your occupation / career

* Possible implications for future insurance, as insurers usually ask whether you have any been convicted of any motoring offence

So, if you have been wrongfully fined for smoking in a car, or for preventing someone else from smoking, it is worth consulting a barrister to assess your options and see if a defence is possible.

Drug Driving

It is illegal to drive while under the influence of a number of substances, including some prescribed medications which were not previously restricted.  This has had a huge impact since was introduced and has effectively replaced the old law of driving whilst udner the influence of drink or drugs.  The old law was clumsy and difficult to prove.  The new legislation allows the police to take forensic sample and prosecute it like a drink drive offence.

The penalties include a criminal record, driving ban, fines and potentially a jail sentence.  This is not to be under estimated given that cannabis can stay in your system for an extended period of time and a habitual user may not be effected by it, but if they are over the threshold, then will be guilty of the offence.  The thresholds are also very low as these are for the most part controlled drugs and therefore there is a zero tolerance.  This contrasts to drinking where of course it is legal to drink, just not be over the legal limit.

With such far reaching penalties – and the high possibility of people not being aware of the new laws or unwittingly being over the limit – it's important to consult your doctor about any medications you regularly take.  Especially important if driving is your profession or you regularly have to drive as part of your job, to avoid being caught out.

With regards to any defence you may have it is a critical aspect whether your driving is impaired as a result of the medication – the prosecution has to show this. So it is essential to take advice from a barrister to ascertain your best defence.

 Hogging the Middle Lane

The offence is not really "lane hogging" specifically, but generally a crackdown on inconsiderate or careless driving.

Exactly what constitutes "inconsiderate" or "careless" is highly dependent on the specific road conditions at the time and therefore there is often considerable scope for interpretation.  From experience police officers view these things through a prism and vary hugely between individuals.  It therefore makes sense to consult a barrister at the earliest opportunity to establish what defence may be possible.    

Marcus Croskell is an expert barrister specialising for over a decade in road traffic offences.  If you need advise and assistance with your legal problem, then do not hesistate to contact him by EMAIL HERE or on 0843 886 2603.

Arranging Funding for Legal Services

When you need to find a direct access lawyer, one of the main concerns is how to fund legal advice and representation.  People are often worried over running up large legal costs and, if you have not had dealings with courts or legal processes in the past, you may have no idea of how much the charges are likely to be.

However, it is important to have proper representation to put your case properly and achieve the best outcome. Whether you are facing a consumer or business dispute, a motoring charge or a case related to your home, such as a negligence claim, it is essential to have someone at your side who has expert knowledge.

Marcus Croskell has expertise in all these areas of the law.  As a direct access barrister based locally in Ipswich and working with clients in Suffolk, Norfolk, across East Anglia and further afield, can advise you on your case and represent you both in and out of court. At an initial consultation he will also discuss the costs with you and how to fund them – often insurance may be an option here.

Funding via Insurance

Fortunately, in many cases, it is possible to fund legal services via insurance policies. You may not even realise that your household or motoring insurance includes a Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) section.  These are often sold as an extra for small additional charge on policy but may also be included as standard.

If you are claiming on these policies, it is essential to go about it in the right way.  You need to follow correct procedure and keep insurer fully informed. Also amounts covered for each claim can vary depending on insurer. Marcus Croskell often provides on behalf of individual and business clients formal written advices to the insurer to trigger funding including on the prospects of a success of the client’s case, whether the client will plead guilty, or not guilty or the prospect of settlement in a civil case.

Household Insurance LEI

LEI is often a bolt on to the actual insurance policy for your home or business.  It will have a different regime and you may only cover you for certain types of claim or personal  problems.

A household policy insurance bolt-on is likely to cover:

  •  Proceedings connected to your home
  • Personal injury, such as if you are injured in a fall (uneven pavement etc) and want to try to get compensation
  • Consumer disputes over goods and services.

Motoring LEI

If an insurance policy is associated with your vehicle, then it is most likely it will be limited to recovering uninsurred losses connected with your vehicle or road traffic offences.  It is a useful tool to have as it goes far beyond standard motoring insurance for damage etc.  Policies for motoring offences only pay out if insurer thinks you are reasonably likely to succeed in fighting the charge, so helpful if your lawyer advises them over this.

If you are having to deal with the law and a court case it is very worrying time and it adds to the strain if you are not sure how you can fund a case. However, it is well worth checking if you have a policy bolted on to your household or motoring insurance which will cover you. 

Marcus Croskell is an expert barrister specialising for over a decade in road traffic offences and one of the first things he will often ask is about opportunities for funding to avoid clients having to pay from their own pockets.  If you need advice and assistance with your legal problem, then do not hesitate to contact him by EMAIL HERE or on 0843 886 2603. 

Dangerous Driving - Finding an Expert Lawyer

Every year, more than 3,000 people in the UK are charged with dangerous driving. Anyone convicted of this offence faces a high risk of going to prison and receiving a sentence of up to two years, as well as facing a long period of disqualification.

If you face this serious charge, it is essential to get expert legal advice from a dangerous driving lawyer.  Marcus Croskell has over a decade of assisting drivers with offences relating to their vehicles before magistrates, juries or if required, appealing to the Court of Appeal in London.  He is highly experienced in defending people charged with offences of this type across East Anglia.

There are also potential longer prison terms for people convicted of the new offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving or the even more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving – up to 5 years prison for injury or up to 14 years for causing death. It is immensely distressing for a motorist, who often has never been in any form of trouble before, to face court over these serious charges, making it all the more essential to have expert representation.

What is Dangerous Driving and What Is the Court Process?

Dangerous driving is not a set way of driving as such - the test the court will apply is whether the standard of driving fell well below that of the reasonable and prudent driver.  This requires the magistrates or jury to try to be objective and assess the standards to what would be commonly expected of reasonable driver on a day to day basis.  Marcus recently assisted a gentleman in the Court of Appeal (he did not represent him at trial) who approached him after he had been convicted and desperately needed help.  Marcus Croskell helped him set out his appeal and was successful by reducing the period of ban by nearly 50% for his offence that would be described by the newspapers as 'road rage'.

This is an either-way charge, i.e. it can be tried at magistrates or Crown Court.  These are types of offences that can be tried in either venue.  In the first instance, the Court will consider whether it is so serious as to whether it could only be tried in the Crown Court.  However, if they remain happy to retain it, you can overrule them by electing to have you right to be tried by a jury of your peers.  What does this mean?  In many respects, very little as in Marcus Croskell’s experience, if something is so serious a magistrates’ court will likely commit for sentence if it warrants it and Crown Court judges tend to be more sensible with their sentences.  Plus statistically, you are more likely to be acquitted in the Crown Court.

Defences and Mitigation

It is up to the court to decide what constitutes dangerous driving.   There may be possible defences, for instance a car developing a fault which was not previously known about or a driver becoming ill at the wheel with a condition which developed suddenly and again was not previously known.  This was not a defence recently available to the dustcart lorry driver in Glasgow as he knew he had the condition and concealed it from his employer.

Often, an expert dangerous driving lawyer will help consider whether an alternative plea could be offered to reduce the risk of a larger sentence.  For instance, a course of driving may amount to driving without care and attention (careless driving), but not dangerous.  The former carries no mandatory disqualification so it may be more attractive to offer this.

In other cases, where it is clear that the driving was dangerous, it is still possible for your lawyer to offer mitigation, explaining the circumstances.   There may be a wide amount of mitigation available such as the conduct of other drivers, a long history of good driving and behaviour, etc.

Causing Serious Injury or Death by Dangerous Driving

In 2012, causing serious injury by dangerous driving became a separate offence and more drivers now starting to be charged with this. As explained above, this is an either-way offence that may be tried in the magistrates’ court or crown court.  There has been a recent rise in death by dangerous driving cases which the court’s are vigilant to monitor and ensure motorists realise that they driving is a privilege and not a right.

If you face a dangerous driving charge it is bound to be a difficult and traumatic time, especially if someone was injured or even killed in the accident.   It is essential you have expert legal advice from the start of the whole process, and as a specialist in this whole area Marcus Croskell can advise you. Legal aid likely to be available in for the more serious offences, although this is wholly dependent on your income.  Marcus Croskell can help you through this process or on a privately paid basis if you are not eligible but still want assistance. 

Marcus Croskell is an expert barrister specialising for over a decade in road traffic offences including dangerous driving.  If you need advice and assistance with your legal problem, then do not hesistate to contact him by EMAIL HERE or on 0843 886 2603.   

Why Representation is Vital?

Many thousands of drivers land up in court every year charged with drink-driving. Being convicted of this serious offence can have a devastating effect – you could be sent to prison and lose your licence, meaning you are also likely to lose your livelihood. If you face a charge of driving over the limit, it is essential to find an expert drink driving lawyer who can advise you and give you the representation you need.

Marcus Croskell specialises in motoring law and has advised and represented many people who face drink drive charges. Importantly, he can give you an honest evaluation as to whether you have a defence and, if you do have to plead guilty, explain any mitigating circumstances to the court on your behalf. 

More than 55,000 people were convicted of drink-driving in 2010-11 according to a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Justice.  Unfortunately rate dramatically increase over the festive period, including 'morning after' drinkers who get behind the wheel in the morning after a party, failing to realise they are still over the limit.

According to official Department of Transport estimates there are more than 8,000 casualties in accidents involving drink drivers each year, including over 200 deaths. If you were involved in an accident where someone was injured or killed, you are likely to face a longer sentence, so it is even more important to find a lawyer who can represent you effectively.  The penalties are severe an may include prison and long disqualification.

Providing a Breath Test

Police officers are on the look out for odd pieces of driving - maybe a car weaving down the road, hitting a curb or potentially causing damage to street furniture or other property.  Marcus has in the past represented persons have literally bounced down a residential orad whilst in drink causing damage to multiple cars on each side of the road.   To stop you for a you breath test, the police officer needs to have a reasonable cause to suspect you are committing a traffic offence or after you were involved in an accident.  In reality this is rarely a difficult hurdle for the police to prove as long as they can point to some conduct from lights being switched off to erratic driving.

If the roadside breath test is positive you will be arrested and taken to police station and you will have to provide two specimens of breath there to be analysed. Under some circumstances you can also provide a blood/urine test.  However, the statutory option to seek an alternative if the breath reading is close to the limit has now been removed from 2015.

If you fail to provide a breath, blood or urine sample it is also a serious offence. This is considered on more depth here.  The consequences of this offence are akin to that of drink driving althought there may be defence to the charge if the polcie officers failed to follow key procedures and secondly as a result of medical problem, for instance if you have a breathing problem.  Your lawyer will be able to explain this to the court if this is the case.

If the tests at the station are positive, you will be charged and usually bailed to appear in court on a specified date.

Drink Drive Offences

The charge you may face vary.  Firstly, if you have not driven the vehicle, but are in charge, you will commit an offence which has a discretionary period of disqualification.  The most common offence is a standard driving or attempting to drive with excess alcohol in one’s system which carries a mimimum mandatory disqualification of 12 months and could result in imprisonment.  These offences are all heard in the lower court, namely the local magisrates’ court to where the offence took place.

By far the most serious drink driving offence is causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink – this is an indictable offence which must go to Crown Court for plea or if a trial, before a jury.  The penalties for this are include potentially substantial prison sentences. Also, if you are charged with drink driving together with other motoring offences such as dangerous driving the case may go to Crown Court, where you will need to be represented by expert motoring barrister.  Marcus Croskell has been representing drivers for over a decade in all courts all the way to the Court of Appeal if required.  Many of the more serious offences such as dangerous driving have a mandatory extended re-test.  This is not a simple task as the test is very long and comprehensive.  Furthermore, there be further requirements to pass a medical examination.

Possible Defences and Mitigating Factors

An expert lawyer will go over the facts of the case with you and advise you if you have a defence, e.g. if you were not driving on a public highway or place to which the public have access (a pub car park by way of example), if someone gave you a spiked drink or if you had a drink after driving but before you were breath tested, in which case scientific evidence may be needed to prove this was the case.

If you have to plead guilty, your lawyer can explain any mitigating factors on your behalf, for instance if you were responding to an emergency which amounts to “special reasons”. One way of reducing a sentence in the first instance is by expressing a desire to complete a drink-drive rehabilitation course.  This will cost you more money as these are courses provided by government approved suppliers.  Furthermore, you can also apply for long driving bans to be reduced after you have served at least two years.  See more information on this here.

Marcus Croskell is an expert in representing people charged with drink driving and has appeared in many cases of this type across East Anglia.  He understands that it is bound to be a very difficult and stressful period, but he has all the expertise for you to be sure that your case is put to the court accurately and your defence or mitigating factors are fully explained.

Marcus Croskell is an expert barrister specialising for over a decade in road traffic offences.  If you need advise and assistance with your legal problem, then do not hesistate to contact him by EMAIL HERE or on 0843 886 2603.   

Driving Whilst Disqualified

More than 7,000 people in the UK are convicted of driving while disqualified annually. This is a serious offence which carries a possible custodial sentence of six months in prison – so it is essential to get expert legal advice as soon as you are arrested or hear you are being summonsed.

Direct access barrister Marcus Croskell is a specialist motoring offence lawyer with extensive experience of defending people charged with the whole range of driving offences, including driving while disqualified. Here is a look at the law in this area, including the introduction of tough new penalties for drivers who cause death or serious injury through driving while disqualified.

Reasons for Driving Bans

There are a number of reasons why a driver may be facing a driving ban from being caught driving while over the alcohol limit or under the new drug-drive laws, speeding, etc or being caught as a so-called “totter”, i.e. reaching 12 points.

It may be possible to argue in court that you should not be banned and it is for this reason that it is always advisable to seek advice even when getting standard 3 point type offence to avoid becoming at risk of reaching 12 points.  See my articles on having too many penalty points and special reasons for more details.

It may also possible to apply for a driving disqualification to be lifted/shortened.  Further information is available here about reducing a long ban. If you want to try to keep your licence/shorten a disqualification, it is vital to get expert legal representation.

What Happens When Drivers Are Caught Defying Bans

Once a driver has been disqualified, if they decide to risk driving in defiance of the ban, it is highly likely at some point they will be caught – they could be recognised by local police or by people who know them and are aware of the ban. Also automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) is used across the UK and enables law enforcement authorities to check numbers if there is suspicion over potential criminal activity.

Driving Whilst Disqualified

When motorists are caught driving while disqualified, this is an arrestable offence – this means they are normally arrested, taken back to police station and fingerprinted, searched etc. Usually they will be bailed to attend magistrates' court – but a driver could be refused bail and held in custody if there is a fear of them committing further crimes.  Serial offenders for driving whilst disqualified are often punished harshly, so there is real risk of a party failing to attend court.

Court Appearances and Sentencing

There is a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment and an unlimited fine and you are also likely to receive a further period of disqualification.

When the case comes to court, it is an “absolute” offence – this means the prosecution only has to prove that you were driving. Even if you argue you did not realise you were committing the offence or had a good reason to do it, you are still guilty in law.

However could be mitigating factors/special reasons – for instance if someone was banned after totting and did not attend court so did not know about the ban, or if they were just moving the car a short way or were reacting to an emergency. An expert motoring lawyer can fully explain the circumstances to the court on your behalf.

Causing Death or Serious Injury by Driving While Disqualified

There has been recent changes with new offences under the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for causing death, which is a case that can only be tried in Crown Court. In particular, with the advent of the new offence of causing serious injury whilst disqualified, there is substantial sentence available to the court of up to 4 years.  The prison sentence itself will not mean the ban is avoided.  The Court has the power to delay the coming into effect of the ban until the release date.  This makes sense from a public policy point of view, but means the driver’s sentence will continue well on after release.

Marcus Croskell is an expert barrister specialising for over a decade in road traffic offences.  If you need advise and assistance with your legal problem, then do not hesistate to contact him by EMAIL HERE or on 0843 886 2603.