New Criminal Court Charges

Since 13 April 2015, a criminal court levy has been imposed on most cases where a defendant has either pleaded guilty or been found guilty after trial.
These costs are in addition to your fine, the prosecution costs and the victim surcharge levy. The charges are not mean tested and will be imposed regardless of the circumstances of your case.
The main charges are as follows:
Magistrates’ Court
Summary only guilty plea     £150
Either-way guilty plea             £180
Summary trial                        £520
Either way trial                        £1000
Crown Court
Guilty plea                               £900
Trial                                       £1200
What will this mean?
Well it seems the whole system is designed to stop people defending themselves. In addition to this levy, companies are not entitled to recover their costs when they are found innocent and more fixed penalties are issued now so people pay these rather than going to Court.
However, operators and drivers should consider carefully what to do regarding offences. It is all too tempting to plead guilty to keep your costs down, even when you are innocent of the alleged offence.
However, both operators and drivers need to consider the regulatory action which could result from the conviction. In other words, for an operator it could lead to a Public Inquiry and for a driver it could lead to Driver Disciplinary Hearing. Both could result in disciplinary action being taken on the respective licences of the company or driver, which could include either suspension or loss of the licence.
What should operators do?
Operators should ensure they have legal expenses insurance in place so that their solicitor’s costs can be covered whether they win or not.
On being issued with a summons, the first step an operator should do is check to see whether they have legal expenses in place.
For advice on transport law, contact Jared Dunbar at Dyne Solicitors on 01829 773 100.

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