Graduated Fixed Penalties (GFPs) have to some extent reduced the number of prosecutions being brought by VOSA, the Police and Trading Standards and do on the whole result in lower penalties and avoid the costs of a Court appearance. However, in the eyes of the Traffic Commissioners they are recorded against a licence holder’s compliance record in exactly the same way as relevant convictions and can lead to a call to Public Inquiry.
For this reason it is essential that vehicle operators have systems in place to ensure that drivers report the imposition of GFPs and that proper consideration is given to challenging these if they are thought to have been incorrectly issued.
Prosecutions are still brought against licence holders and drivers where the offence is too serious to be dealt with by a GFP. As stated above, reporting relevant convictions (a condition attached to every Operator’s Licence) can lead to regulatory action.
Consideration should always therefore be given to any available defences and where a guilty plea cannot be avoided ensure that full and appropriate mitigation is put before the Court to reduce as far as possible the level of penalties imposed.
We are always happy to consider any case and advise on the availability of a defence. We will not look to fight cases that cannot be won, but will advise on the best and appropriate mitigation.