Mobile Related Driving Offences
Since 2013, one of the most common offences under the ‘careless driving’ category of UK motoring law has been the use of mobile devices whilst driving. Penalties were increased in 2017 to try and stem an increase in offences, and today you risk a £200 fine and six points on your driving licence if caught on a device whilst driving.
To some, those six points can be vital - the difference, for example, between keeping a job and losing it (if the six points push the total to 12 or above, leading to an automatic disqualification).
If you are at risk of losing your driving licence for this, or any other driving offence, then contact dedicated road traffic offence solicitors Nelson Guest & Partners. There may be aspects of your case which are less clear-cut than you may think. Use of hands-free devices whilst driving, to navigate, for example, remains legal, although if it can be proved the device causes distraction and affects your ability to drive safely, then you could be prosecuted.
According to UK driving law, handheld mobile use is legal only if your vehicle is safely parked. However, there are certain circumstances where exceptions are permissible, for example, in the event of an emergency where you need to call 999 or 112 when it is ‘unsafe or impractical’ to stop.
Every case tends to have its own set of unique circumstances, and with our in-depth knowledge of the complexities of driving law and mobile devices, Nelson Guest & Partners can advise you on your best course of action.
Talk to our road traffic offences solicitors in London
If you have been charged with, or convicted, using a mobile phone or sat nav when driving, our London road traffic offences lawyers can help.
For more information, see Road Traffic Offences - Resources.
How our team can help with a mobile related driving offence charge or conviction
Police station representation for mobile related driving offences
If you are interviewed at a police station or invited in for an interview, it is always recommended that you have legal representation. If you ask us to accompany you, we can advise you on what information to release and ensure that you do not inadvertently damage your case.
We can also advise you on what to expect from the process and ensure that the proper legal procedure is followed.
Advice if you have been released under investigation
The police may decide to release you under investigation. This means that while they are not currently charging you with an offence, they will be attempting to gather sufficient evidence to charge you at some point in the future.
We can help you through the investigation process, liaising with the police on your behalf to request updates and provide information where it is appropriate to do so. We understand how stressful it is to have the threat of a criminal charge hanging over you, and we will do all we can to ensure there are no avoidable delays.
Wherever possible, it is preferable to instruct a solicitor early on to try and provide enough evidence in your defence to prevent charges from being brought against you.
Representation for court proceedings
If you have been charged with using a mobile device while driving, including using a sat nav when driving, then it is important that you are represented by a driving offences legal expert. If you ask us to act for you, we will put together a robust defence on your behalf and hold the prosecution to a high standard of proof.
We can step in to act for you straight away, as soon as you are advised of potential charges, or later on prior to the hearing if you have not already secured representation. It is not recommended that you attend a hearing without a legal adviser to protect your interests.
Appealing a conviction for driving for using a phone or sat nav when driving
If you are convicted of using a phone when driving or using a sat nav, then you have only 21 days in which to lodge an appeal. You can ask us to deal with this as soon as you receive a conviction so that we can ensure the deadline is met.
We will advise you of the strengths and weaknesses of your case and whether you have sufficient grounds for appeal. If you do, we will put together a strong case on your behalf and represent you in court to ask for your conviction to be overturned.
If you have been disqualified from driving, we may be able to ask that this be suspended until your appeal has been heard so that you can keep driving in the meantime.
Our mobile device related driving offence fees
We can represent you in respect of mobile device driving offences on a fixed fee basis. This means that you can have certainty as to the costs involved. The fixed fee will cover work undertaken throughout your case, including advice at the police station, representing you, dealing with the investigation and attending court on your behalf.
For more information about our fees and the work they cover, visit our Road Traffic Offences Fees page.
If you have any questions about representation or our fees or you would like a quote, please contact us for a confidential, no-obligation discussion.
Is using a phone when driving a criminal offence?
Holding a phone or sat nav while driving is a criminal offence. This includes when you are stationary, for example, at traffic lights or queuing in traffic. It is also illegal to use a mobile phone or sat nav when you are supervising a learner driver.
You are allowed to use a hands-free device such as one using Bluetooth or voice command, provided you do not need to touch your phone to use it. It is also illegal not to be in full control of your vehicle, which means you cannot look at your device or be distracted by it.
What is the penalty for using a phone or sat nav when driving?
You can receive six penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200 if you are caught using a handheld phone or other device while driving. If you have only passed your test in the previous two years, you will lose your licence.
If you do not have a proper view of the road or you are not in proper control of the vehicle, you can be given three penalty points.
What defences are there for using a phone when driving?
If you were not holding the phone, then you can raise this as a defence. The law requires that someone actually is holding the phone or looking at it for a criminal offence to have occurred.
The offence also generally requires you to be communicating with the phone. Choosing a downloaded song or filming something with the camera have both been found to be permissible under the letter of the law.
If you were not driving at the time, you might have a defence, for example, if you were stationary in a layby. If you were driving, but it was not on a public road but on private land, you can also raise this as a defence.
If you were using the phone because of a genuine emergency or dialling 999, this could be a legitimate defence.
Can I appeal a conviction for a mobile related driving offence?
If you believe that you have been unfairly or wrongfully convicted of a mobile related driving offence, you can appeal against your conviction. It may be that you had a defence but were not able to present it because you were not notified of the case or that an error was made in applying the law. Our team can advise you whether you have grounds for appeal and, if you do, make sure that your appeal is lodged within the 21-day time limit.
Get in touch with our team about a mobile related driving offence charge or conviction
If you have been charged with, or convicted of, using a mobile phone or sat nav when driving, our London road traffic offences lawyers can help.