If you are reading this, it is likely you feel that there has been a miscarriage of justice in your case whether it be a wrongful conviction or a penalty that was just too severe in the circumstances. Maybe you have just been handed a 6 month ban as a result of totting up and want to see what can be done.
Despite this feeling, clients often doubt that anything can be done but we are regularly successful in overturning convictions and reducing the severity of penalties so we would urge you to contact one of our specialist lawyers to discuss your case further.
If you have been convicted of any offence there are various routes of appeal in UK law available to you depending on the circumstances of the case.
We regularly help motorists appeal against convictions reduce sentences, apply for licences back early after a ban or reopen matters that were concluded without the motorist even knowing of the proceedings.
Most motoring offences are known as “summary only” offences which means they are dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court. Wrongful convictions can be commonplace in the magistrates’ court and it is often due to the lack of legal expertise present in the courtroom. Magistrates’ are essentially volunteers from a non-legal background and they rely heavily upon a court legal adviser for guidance. Unfortunately, legal advisers with expertise in this area are limited and aspects of road traffic law can often be misinterpreted or applied to a case incorrectly due to its intricate nature.
The team at Olliers Motor Law have a proven track record of successful appeals against convictions and/or sentence
There are a number of ways to appeal a case depending on the circumstances, but knowing which method has the most chance of success can be a complicated decision with many variables to consider Regardless of the circumstances, let us help you ensure that you have received the right result in your case.
Routes of Appeal
There are three routes of appeal available depending on the circumstances a case. These are as follows:
- Reopening a Case in the Magistrates’ Court
This is the most appropriate option if you have been convicted because of a mistake or you were not aware of a hearing. The most common example is when a defendant never received the letter informing them of a court date and the hearing has proceeded without them. We have helped many motorists who contact us after they receive a notice of conviction and are now disqualified from driving.
Strictly speaking this is not actually an appeal however; it is available in some cases and may actually be the best option for you.
- Appeal to the Crown Court
If you believe you were wrongfully convicted in the magistrates’ court (possibly due to a lack of understanding of the case) then an appeal to the Crown Court is the most appropriate route of appeal.
In cases where you have been disqualified as a result of the conviction, we can often have your licence returned to you whilst the appeal proceedings go through court so you can continue driving. This is often hugely beneficial to motorists you are dependent upon their vehicle for their job.
Lodging an appeal in the Crown Court essentially gives you the opportunity of a re-trial but before a Crown Court Judge who (unlike Magistrates) is legally trained.
- The High Court – Judicial Review and Stating a Case
Magistrates can sometimes make decisions during a case (whether it be during the preparation stage or at trial) that we strongly disagree with and feel it is detrimental to your case. For example, the court may allow evidence to be used as part of your case that should not be admissible.
If your conviction was as a result of such a decision, then we would recommend a Judicial Review where the High Court would review the entire case and make a ruling on whether or not the Magistrates’ made an erroneous decision.
If the Magistrates misunderstood a legal point or argument and ultimately convicted you as a result of this, we would seek to appeal by way of “stating a case” to the High Court. Essentially, the High Court would consider our argument and make a ruling on whether the magistrates’ court made a decision that was erroneous in law.
If either of the above is successful, then convictions can often be overturned completely.
It is extremely rare that appeals to the High Court are necessary as if the Magistrates’ do wrongly convict, this is usually rectified in the Crown Court.