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Treatment of Minor Road Traffic Offences

The Scottish Government recently consulted over proposed amendments to a section of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 to allow fixed penalty notices to be issued on-the-spot to suspected offenders of minor road traffic offences in Scotland. This section of the Act currently applies in England and Wales, but not in Scotland.

The Law Society of Scotland responded to the consultation, and in its response it highlighted that the introduction of fixed penalty notices shouldn’t remove the right of drivers to go to court when accused of ‘minor’ road traffic offences.

“Extending the fixed penalty scheme to Scotland would promote consistency in respect of the prosecution of road traffic offences throughout the UK, and we can appreciate the arguments in favour of reducing the number of road traffic cases that require to be prosecuted in the courts,” explained Stuart Munro from the Law Society of Scotland Criminal Law Committee.

“However, regardless of the system in place, we believe that that the rights of the accused to opt into the justice system and to have their case heard and determined in court, must be preserved, no matter how minor the offence may appear,” he said.

“There would need to be clarity on the types of road traffic offences which would fall under the new scheme,” he added. “There may well be existing prosecution policy on when the circumstances of an offence merit a warning rather than a prosecution, and we think that any proposed extension of these powers in Scotland should be exercised in accordance with such existing or future policies.”

Road Traffic & Motoring Lawyers Glasgow

Road traffic convictions can cause a great deal of personal hardship. Losing your licence can also mean losing your job. Instructing a road traffic lawyer can help you keep your car on the road and keep your licence clean. Contact our specialist criminal defence lawyers today to find out how we can help you.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.