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Can I Be Charged With Causing Death By Driving Whilst Uninsured?

Can I Be Charged With Causing Death By Driving Whilst Uninsured?


Imagine the scenario – you’re driving one night with your family. You are a responsible driver who has had a licence for many years without any serious motoring convictions. Your car has a full MOT, you check the tyres regularly and your children’s booster seats are regularly checked for safety and wear and tear.


You are driving within the speed limit, taking care to look out for all potential dangers, exactly as you always do, when all of a sudden out of nowhere a car goes through their red light at a crossing and collides with you.


You stay calm and try to keep your car under control, tell your children everything will be ok. The other vehicle flips and the driver is killed. Tests show that he was heavily under the influence of alcohol and drugs and there are several witnesses who confirm that he was driving dangerously before the collision.


Imagine your surprise, then, when the police arrive and notify you that you were driving without insurance. Your wife immediately gasps at this news and explains that she had forgotten to renew the insurance policy recently. It’s always her job, and she had sent you off to work promising it had been done – she’d actually planned to do it that day and the children had been misbehaving and things had got busy and it had completely slipped her mind. A genuine mistake.


Imagine your horror when the police therefore charge you with causing death by driving whilst uninsured, a serious offence that can be sent to the Crown Court and which can lead to a custodial sentence of up to 2 years being imposed.


A person can be guilty of this charge even where this is absolutely no fault in their own standard of driving. A collision can be entirely the fault of another person, even the deceased.


Defences are available for this offence, the most common being duress of circumstances leading to the decision being made to drive.


If you are being charged with causing death by driving whilst uninsured, it is vital that you seek legal help immediately. Call us now on 01623 397200 for a free initial telephone consultation.

Arrested Juvenile – amendment to legal definition



Arrested Juvenile – amendment to legal definition


The upper age limit in the definition of arrested juvenile in section 37(15) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) has been raised from 16 to 17 years.


When did this change take place?


On 26 October 2015, the definition of arrested juvenile under section 37(15) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) was amended by section 42 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. This provision was commenced by The Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (Commencement No. 3 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2015


What are the effects of this amendment?


This means that for the purposes of section 38 of PACE (Duties of custody officer after charge):


  • the additional grounds for authorising detention after charge set out in subsection (1)(b); and
  • the requirement in subsection (6) to move a juvenile who has been detained after charge to local authority accommodation pending appearance at court, apply to any juvenile charged with an offence who appears to be under the age of 18.


What were the provisions prior to this change?


The statutory amendment supersedes the current provisions of PACE Code C which refer to sections 37(15) and 38 of PACE. These are:


  • Paragraph 1.5A(a) and Notes for Guidance 1L and 1M


  • Paragraph 16.7 and Note for Guidance 16D.


Until a revised code is issued, references which indicate that the maximum age limit for transfer to local authority accommodation is 16 no longer apply.


Are there any related amendments to the law?


There is also a corresponding amendment to The Children (Secure Accommodation) Regulations 1991 (as amended), Regulation 6.


This modifies section 25 of the Children Act 1989 with regard to placing children detained under section 38(6) of PACE in secure accommodation and the considerations to be applied.


The amendment simply applies the modifications previously applicable – children under the age of 17 to children who are under the age of 18.


Racially or Religiously Aggravated Threatening Behaviour

Steve Williams of Forrest Williams


Racially or Religiously Aggravated Threatening Behaviour


What does it mean to be charged with racially or religiously aggravated threatening behaviour?


We were recently contacted by a gentleman who was charged with a Public Order Offence, namely using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.  He was also charged with the racially or religiously aggravated offence.


Our client did not really remember much of the alleged incident. Our client accepted that he was drunk. He accepted that he may have been loud. He even accepted that his behaviour could have caused concern. But he did not want to plead to something he did not remember and he was certain that he would not have been deliberately racist or religiously offensive.


We discussed this and agreed that we would obtain all the evidence from the prosecution before advising him on a plea, including the statement of the ‘victim’, any witnesses along with CCTV of the interaction from the petrol station.


The CCTV had no audio, it was a petrol station forecourt so at best it showed our client’s body language. It showed him exiting his car and walking across the forecourt to the station serving window and a verbal exchange happening. He then returned to his car before once again returning back to the shop and rattling the doors – seemingly trying to get in. This, combined with the statement of the victim, did suggest that some level of alarm was caused – we therefore advised our client to plead Guilty to the basic offence.


For the Racially or Religiously Aggravated Threatening Behaviour we looked to the victim’s statement. For an offence to be considered “racially or religiously aggravated” it must meet the following criteria:


  • At the time of committing the offence, or immediately before or after doing so, the offender demonstrates towards the victim of the offence hostility based on the victim’s membership (or presumed membership) of a racial or religious group


  • The offence is motivated (wholly or partly) by hostility towards members of a racial or religious group based upon their membership of that group.


From the victim’s statement we did not believe that either of these were proven and advised our client accordingly that a Not Guilty plea could be appropriate – the victim even said that our client did not say anything directly racist! Our client, when the comments were read back to him, was able to explain to us that it was a political discussion, that he was trying to provoke a debate – and his comments were very clearly not directed at one particular religious group or racial ethnicity as for each he commented on what could be seen to be it’s political opposite. He explained to us that certain comments were more a political commentary on the ‘tit for tat’ situation that appeared to be in place between religious extremists at the moment.  He certainly had not intended to be deliberately racist or religiously offensive.


We supported our client through the initial hearing, and then in the run up to and during the trial. Our client knew that he had a team of experts on his side that believed in him and were fighting for him. And when the verdict was read out and sentence passed he was happy with the outcome.


If you are charged with an offence and want a team who will listen to you, support you and fight for what is right for you then give the Forrest Williams team a call on 01623 397200 . We know that it’s not just about the offence, we understand that this is about you, and we will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome for you.


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