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Dangerous Driving

It is an offence for someone to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle in a manner that falls far below the standard expected of a careful and competent driver. A person convicted of dangerous driving can face up to 12 months in prison if convicted on summary complaint or up to 2 years in prison if convicted on indictment. In addition this offence carries a mandatory disqualification from driving for at least 12 months and the court will impose a requirement to sit the extended test of competency to drive before the convicted individual is allowed back on the road. This test is more demanding than the standard driving test and the theory test must also be retaken.

Dangerous driving is a very serious charge. The scenarios in which the Crown have alleged dangerous driving in the past are extremely wide-ranging. Some charges of dangerous driving can be reduced to the lesser charge of careless driving for which the penalties are far less severe. We can assist in negotiating with the prosecution to reduce the charge to one of careless driving or conducting trials to ensure you get the best possible result.

Careless Driving

Driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place to a standard below that expected of a careful and competent driver is a criminal offence. The court has a discretion to disqualify any person convicted of this offence and can impose a number of penalty points ranging from a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 9. Careless driving cases often involve complex evidence and legal argument aimed at challenging whether the driving alleged was indeed careless. We have the necessary experience to conduct these trials with a view to avoiding conviction.

Drink Driving

Drink driving involves driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place whilst above the legal limit. It is an offence which can attract a custodial sentence. The offence carries a mandatory disqualification for a minimum of 12 months. Defences to charges of drink driving can be complex and difficult to establish. Our experienced solicitors can prepare and conduct complex defences such as post-incident drinking.

Should you wish to plead guilty to a charge of drink driving we can conduct mitigation with a view to getting the lowest possible ban. Although the minimum ban is 12 months we can seek to persuade the court in certain cases that you should be allowed the opportunity to undertake a specified drink-driving awareness course in exchange for a reduction in your ban. We have made many applications to the court in this regard in the past with great success. Please see the separate section entitled ‘Reduction in Drink Driving Ban’ for more information.

Failure to Provide a Breath Specimen

If police suspect that you have been driving or attempting to drive whilst intoxicated they may make a request for you to take a preliminary (roadside) breath test. Failure to provide a specimen of breath for this purpose without reasonable excuse is an offence which carries a discretionary disqualification and the mandatory imposition of 4 penalty points. If you believe that the police equipment was faulty or you have a medical condition preventing you from providing a breath specimen at the road side then you may have a reasonable excuse. We have considerable experience in preparing and presenting such defences.

If you have failed a roadside breath test the police can arrest you and require you to provide a specimen for detailed analysis. This will usually be done at a police station. The breath test equipment will calculate the level of alcohol in your breath. In some situations the Sergeant at the police station will allow you to provide a specimen of blood or urine instead. Failure to provide a breath, blood or urine specimen for analysis is an offence that carries a mandatory disqualification for a minimum of 12 months and potential imprisonment. It is a defence if the failure to provide was due to a reasonable excuse such as faulty police equipment or medical grounds. Running such a defence is incredibly complex. We have the skills to give you the best chance of saving your licence.

Reduction in Drink Driving Ban

Section 34A of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 allows the court to make an order specifying that a person convicted of drink driving may reduce the length of their ban by a maximum of one quarter by attending a rehabilitation course. The court will always require persuasion to take this course of action. If an order under section 34A is imposed in your case then you will be given the option of attending a relevant rehabilitation course at your own expense.

If you complete the course by the date specified in the order then a certificate will be issued which you can provide to the DVLA when applying for your licence. If for example you are banned for 12 months for drink driving and an order under this section is made then you may only serve 9 months of your ban if you comply with the order. We have successfully persuaded the court to allow many of our clients to attend rehabilitation courses over the years. We have cut the length of many bans as a result and could do the same for you.

Driving Whilst Disqualified 

If you have been disqualified from driving it is an offence to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place. These matters are treated very seriously by the court as, by nature, driving while disqualified involves breaching an order of the court, namely that you do not drive for a specified period.

The penalties for disqualified driving depend of the level of prosecution. On indictment in Scotland you can face up to 12 months imprisonment, or a fine, or both. At summary level the maximum prison sentence is 6 months and a fine can also be imposed as an alternative, or in addition to, any prison sentence. We can assist in the preparation and presentation of a number of defences to such charges.


Have you been caught speeding? It can happen to anyone. A lapse of concentration at the wheel in the wrong place and time can result in a minimum of 3 points endorsed upon your licence. As well as the points a fine will normally be imposed and there are further considerations beyond in relation to your insurance premium. We have conducted many speeding trials and have achieved acquittals for many clients in the past including public figures. Speeding trials can be incredibly complex and often involve a challenge to the accuracy of the speed measurement device used by police. These challenges require certain statutory procedures to be followed and require certain expertise at trial. We have the experience required to give you the best possible chance in any speeding case.

Types of Speed Camera

There are many different types of speed camera used by the police in Scotland to detect speeding drivers. All devices require to be subject to Home Office Type Approval which requires certain conditions to be met. There are a large number of devices that currently hold this type approval. If you have been caught speeding by police using a device other than those listed on this page then please contact our office for further advice. This section focuses on the most commonly used or ‘notorious’ devices.

Click below to read about the different types of Speed Cameras…


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GATSO Speed Camera

The GATSO is the most widely known speed camera. Its bright colouring and familiar shape are well known to almost every motorist in Scotland today. As a consequence of the bright colouring these devices are easily seen by drivers. There are still however a great deal of drivers caught speeding every year by GATSO cameras.

The most common types of GATSO camera measure approaching vehicle speed using radar. If a vehicle is travelling over a certain speed the camera will take two photographs in quick succession. The vehicle speed is calculated using the vehicle position relative to the calibration lines on the road in the two separate photographs. The pictures are taken using a bright flash that illuminates the vehicle registration plate. This allows the registered keeper to be traced. The police procedure involves sending a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) to the registered keeper with a requirement under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. This requires the registered keeper to identify the driver of the vehicle at the specified time.

There are various issues that can be raised in a trial involving a GATSO camera. We have considerable experience in conducting cases involving GATSO speed cameras. If you have been flashed by a GATSO camera and need advice or representation please contact us immediately.

UNIPAR SL700 Laser Speed Meter

The manufacturers of the UNIPAR SL700 Laser Speed Meter boast that it has been ‘championed by the media as the Rolls-Royce of Laser Speed Meters’. With such praise you could be forgiven for thinking this device cannot be challenged. If however you search ‘Unipar SL700’ on google the first news article that appears is about a case conducted by our own Terry Gallanagh. This landmark victory earned Terry the nickname ‘The Speeding Loophole Lawyer’. He successfully appealed a high profile client’s conviction for speeding that had been based on a reading from a UNIPAR SL700. We have already shown that the readings from these devices cannot be taken as gospel and we could do the same for you. If you have been charged with speeding based on a reading from a UNIPAR device please contact us immediately in order that we can begin investigating your case.

To read the Daily Mail article on Terry Gallanagh’s famous UNIPAR appeal click here.

Mobile Speed Detection Devices

There are many different types of non-stationary devices used by police in Scotland on a daily basis to detect speeders. These include the Unipar SL700, LTI 20/20 Speedscope and many others. All devices require calibration before use and annually and should never be accepted as accurate without taking legal advice. We have conducted many trials in the past in relation to many types of mobile speed detection devices. We have had great successes in challenging the accuracy of these devices in court.


SPECS is an abbreviation of Speed Check Services. If you have travelled the A77 from Glasgow to Ayr or the A9 from Dunblane to Inverness you will have experienced these devices first hand. They are commonly known as average speed cameras. They use automatic number plate recognition to calculate the average speed of vehicles between each of the overhead gantries that support the cameras.

Many people assume that these systems are infallible. However they are subject to the same evidential considerations that arise in all speeding cases and we are experienced in challenging them. If you have any questions regarding the SPECS system or are subject to a prosecution based on evidence from a SPECS monitored section of road please contact us and we will be happy to provide advice or representation.

Section 172 Requirement 

Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 allows any authorized police officer to require a relevant person to identify the driver of a particular vehicle at a specified place, date and time. Failure to comply is an offence that carries discretionary disqualification and obligatory endorsement of 6 penalty points.

This provision is often relied upon by police to establish the identification of a driver alleged to be guilty of a road traffic offence. Typical examples include GATSO camera prosecutions, in which the camera only captures the vehicle registration. The police need evidence of the identity of the driver and so a notice of intended prosecution (NIP) will be sent to the registered keeper with a 172 requirement therein. These documents are usually robustly drafted and require an experienced eye to spot any potential defects. If you have received such a document and are unsure of your legal obligations please contact us immediately for advice.

As well as within NIPs the section 172 requirement is often used in the field of duty by police constables. There are strict procedures that need to be followed by police when making such a request and we have found that in practice many officers do not follow the procedure accurately. Any deviation can result in the response to a request being inadmissible in court and prosecutions can fail as a result. If you have had a request made under this section that has led to a prosecution our experienced solicitors can provide crucial advice and representation.

Mobile Phones

Using a mobile phone or other ‘hand held device’ while driving is an offence that currently carries 3 penalty points and a fine. The penalty is expected to increase to 6 penalty points in 2017 and the fine is set to double. Beyond that there is likely to be an increase in your insurance premium if you are convicted of this offence.

There are many complex issues that frequently arise in this particular area. Cases are not always straightforward and there is often scope for legal argument as to whether in the particular circumstances of a case the offence has been committed. The prosecution must prove, in terms of the statute, that you were ‘using’ the device in question. We have in depth knowledge of the law in this area and have the resources available to back up certain arguments with relevant case law authorities.

Driving Without Insurance

It is an offence for an individual to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without being covered by a policy of insurance protecting against third party risks. Driving without insurance will normally be dealt with by way of a fine and the endorsment of between 6 and 8 penalty points.

There are a number of possible defences to a charge of driving without insurance. Our solicitors have the expertise to advise as to whether you have a defence or not. Even if you were not insured at the time of the offence it is still possible to avoid penalty points. Special reasons can be argued where you were driving under an incorrect but honest belief that you were insured. If successful then no points will be endorsed upon your licence. Please see our separate special reasons section for further information in this regard.

Road Signals & Signs

Any driver who fails to comply with a traffic sign or signal is liable on summary conviction to a fine and the imposition of 3 penalty points. The court also has a discretion to disqualify. This offence applies to any road signal or sign lawfully placed in terms of the act. In practice the most common contravention by far is the failure to comply with a red traffic light.

Virtually every driver will have taken a chance as an ‘amber gambler’ at some point in their time on the road. Whilst we do not condone this practice we accept that it occurs on a daily basis and can often result in finely balanced disputes between police and drivers. These cases often require to be decided at trial. Complex considerations arise relative to the positioning of all individuals involved and the sequencing of certain sets of traffic lights. We have succeeded in many cases of this type in the past and could do the same for you.

Special Reasons

The provisions of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 allow for individuals convicted of certain offences to avoid penalty points if they can establish special reasons relating to the offence itself. Examples of such cases include Marshall v McLeod in which the High Court held that where someone is driving under a genuine but incorrect belief that they are insured then the court can refrain from endorsing penalty points. The circumstances in which special reasons could be argued are limitless and we are happy to provide advice on special reasons relating to any endorseable charge. If a proof is required we will prepare and conduct it with a view to avoiding penalty points.

Special Reasons can also be argued in certain limited circumstances to avoid mandatory disqualification. Such cases are rare and invariably complex. If you have been charged with any road traffic offence and there is some peculiar circumstance surrounding the offence that is out of the ordinary then you may be able to argue special reasons. It is essential to take advice from an experienced road traffic solicitor to find out whether special reasons could apply to your case.

Exceptional Hardship

If you accrue 12 points or more within any 3-year period you will be subject to the totting up provisions of the Road Traffic Offender’s Act 1988. These provisions require the court to impose a minimum 6-month disqualification from driving. However, if you are facing a totting-up disqualification it is possible to put forward a case for exceptional hardship. This involves running a proof with a view to satisfying the court that exceptional hardship will be caused to others if a totting-up disqualification is imposed. In these proceedings the word ‘exceptional’ is key. It is not enough that some form of hardship may be caused. The hardship must be ‘exceptional’ and it has long been the view of the courts that the hardship must extend to others and not just the accused.

The many grounds for arguing exceptional hardship are varied and complex. You may find yourself faced with inevitable loss of employment as a consequence of a disqualification from driving. If you are in charge of other employees who will be in danger of losing their jobs as a direct result then exceptional hardship can be established. Also if your family members are likely to face exceptional hardship due to your loss of employment then hardship can be established. Exceptional hardship can also be based on other individuals dependant on your ability to drive for their quality of life to be maintained. People with disabilities or particularly frail elderly relatives can be a basis for such a line of argument.

If the court finds exceptional hardship established your licence will still be endorsed with penalty points but the court will refrain from disqualification. You will thereafter have to drive with the utmost care, as any further points will result in disqualification. This is especially so as once exceptional hardship has been established an accused is barred from putting forward an argument on the same grounds for 3 years. Exceptional hardship proofs are one of the many ways we save our clients’ licences on a regular basis.

New Drivers

If you accrue 6 penalty points or more within the first 2 years of driving your licence will be revoked under the provisions of the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995. Revocation is different from disqualification as you are entitled to re-sit your test as soon as possible after revocation. You will require to re-apply for a provisional licence, book a test and re-sit your theory test if it has expired. It is possible to regain your licence within a relatively short time frame following revocation. Any points on your licence prior to revocation will remain for the prescriptive 3 year period for totting-up purposes.

For any new driver the ability to drive opens a door to greater freedom. We can give you crucial advice and representation in any road traffic case in order to avoid you reaching 6 penalty points within your first 2 years of driving.

Removal of Disqualification

Section 42 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 allows banned drivers to seek early removal of disqualification if certain strict criteria are met. In order to make an application under this section you must have served at least two years or half of your ban (whichever is higher). If you have served the appropriate portion of your ban you can make an application to the court for a hearing. The court will then consider the nature of the original offence along with your character and conduct subsequent to the offence. Often these applications are based on the banned driver having received an offer of employment contingent upon their ability to drive.

The courts do not grant applications under this section lightly. It is essential that you instruct the services of an experienced road traffic solicitor as soon as possible as you must draft a complicated petition for submission to the court. If the court is satisfied in all of the circumstances that it is in the interests of justice to grant the application it will do so. If not the application will be refused. In such an event you are barred from making a further application within three months of the date of refusal. If the petition is successful the disqualification will be removed and the updated information will be endorsed on your licence. We have conducted many of these applications successfully in the past. If you are interested in petitioning the court for removal of disqualification please arrange an appointment with our office in order that we may discuss matters more fully.

High Risk Offenders

If you have been disqualified for certain particular road traffic offences you will fall into the category of High Risk Offenders (HRO). This requires you to undertake an approved medical examination at your own expense prior to re-applying for your licence towards the end of your ban. There is no obligation on the courts to tell a person convicted that they fall into the HRO category. As such it is important to know whether this requirement will apply to you. We are happy to provide advice to help you clarify whether you fall into this category.

If you fall into the HRO category the DVLA will send you an application form 90 days before the end of your ban. You must then undergo medical assessment. This involves filling in a questionnaire about your medical history and how much you drink, a physical examination, a urine test and blood tests.

Professional Drivers

We at understand that working in the transport industry means that your driving licence and livelihood are one and the same. We appreciate the difficulty that road traffic prosecutions can cause professional drivers, especially those facing disqualification. We have the experience and resources to save your licence in many ways. If you are a professional driver whose licence is in peril do not hesitate to contact us.

Supercar Drivers

Every driver has dreamt of owning their perfect car. Few are able to turn that dream into reality. If however you are the proud owner of a supercar you will be well aware of the attention that comes with ownership of such an incredible machine. Unfortunately some of that attention is unwanted. Many supercar drivers feel that their choice of vehicle leads to persecution by the road traffic police. Supercar drivers are often stopped for routine vehicle checks and some have found that police are particularly thorough in their vehicle checks in such circumstances. It cannot simply be coincidence. If you have experienced trouble on the roads from the authorities when driving a supercar it is important to speak with an experienced road traffic solicitor. We can defend you with tenacity in any Scottish court, no matter what the charge, to give you the best chance of making sure you keep your licence and can continue driving your pride and joy.


We are well aware of the capabilities of many modern motorcycles. Acceleration can be much faster than cars. Speeds can be reached more quickly and passing police officers can easily become confused between rapid acceleration and exceeding the speed limit. We have represented numerous motorcyclists in the past with successful results.

We have seen motorcyclists prosecuted for performing overtaking moves that would be considered careless in a car but are clearly not so on a bike. We have obtained expert witness reports to place before the court in order to demonstrate this and we could do the same for you.

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