Whilst most individuals find it difficult to contemplate being prosecuted for serious crime, they will likely acknowledge the possibility of a Road Traffic Act prosecution at some time in their life. Road traffic charges include the multitude of offences ranging from the most minor and non-endorsable construction and use charges to the most serious, such as causing death by dangerous driving, where prison sentences are almost inevitable. Equally, and depending on a person’s driving history, even minor offences can lead to disqualification and all the personal and professional consequences of that.
At Optimum Advocates we have a number of Advocates, including Senior counsel, who are regularly instructed on behalf of motor insurers to defend their insured. Often these arise from fatal or near fatal road traffic collisions, but also where the charges simply concern the standard of driving. What we offer is more than lawyers with a knowledge of road traffic law. Often charges involving driving standards require to be answered with cross examination based on motor vehicle mechanics, quantum physic, road makeup civil engineering, and emergency medicine. As a consequence of defending the most serious road traffic allegations, and indeed other serious criminal charges, a number of our advocates have a knowledge of all of these disciplines. Indeed, a number of them also bring skills from other walks of life, such as holding HGV driving entitlement, firsthand knowledge of VOSA standard vehicle inspection, and motor engineering. This has allowed them to properly understand the most complicated collision reports, and effectively cross examine vehicle examiners and collision investigators.
Such is their knowledge and skill set, that senior traffic police officers and other experts often assume that their background is in collision investigation. But as trial lawyers, their true skill lies in being able to present these complexities to the untrained jury members, or sheriffs sitting without a jury.
Motor insurers’ loss adjusters are increasingly conscious of the value of proper representation of insured in the criminal courts. Our counsel have a proven history identifying areas of culpability beyond the insured driver, including the contribution to a collision of injured or deceased parties, and even roads authorities in failing to adequately maintain the highways. In short, the criminal trial is not simply a forum to determine the guilt or otherwise of a driver, but can also be a forum in which potential mitigation of an underwriter’s loss can be explored, and provide a basis to defend concurrent civil proceedings.
Our counsel can be instructed at any stage of a road traffic prosecution, and can be instructed to consult or provide an opinion in a case prior to committing to instruct them for trial.
Whilst we cannot guarantee success in every case, we can guarantee an honest appraisal of the evidence, and a realistic assessment of what we can add to any case.
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