The Guilty by Post/Online service costs £250, including VAT.
Most Magistrate Court cases are concluded via the Single Justice Procedure process, which allows mitigation to be presented by post / online.
If you admit the offence, pleading mitigating circumstances by post / online is the most sensible approach.
It is the Court's preferred option and avoids the hassle / additional cost of attending Court in person.
Unless the paperwork specifically states that you must attend a hearing in person, the Court would prefer to deal with your case in your absence.
Should the Court conclude that a personal attendance is appropriate, you will subsequently be allocated a hearing date or receive a Notice of Proposed Driving Disqualification, but the majority of cases will be concluded by way of a written plea.
A Plea of Mitigation is information or other evidence, such as personal circumstances, submitted by the Defendant as part of the sentencing process to mitigate the severity of the offence.
Prepared correctly, it can result in a significantly reduced penalty.
However, prepared badly, it can have a detrimental effect.
- For the majority of cases, a Plea of Mitigation by post/online is the most effective approach. Although the Court have supplied a form for you to complete, you can in fact expand on this by presenting mitigation by letter or online.
In our experience, the best approach is a more detailed, personalised written submission, rather than editing your response so it fits the limitations imposed by the Court form.
- If there is a significant risk of disqualification, either due to the severity of the offence, or because you face a totting up ban, or the Court has already demanded a personal attendance, your best interests would be served by going to Court in person, rather than presenting written mitigation in any format.
In some cases, the Court will not give the Defendant the option to plead guilty by post/online.
- The offence is too serious to be resolved in the Defendant's absence; or
- The minimum penalty is a mandatory disqualification, or
- The penalty points to be imposed for the current offence, would take you to a minimum of 12 penalty points and will trigger a totting up ban.
The mere fact that the Court offers the opportunity to plead by letter/online, does not automatically mean that that process will conclude your case.
Whilst the advice documentation will infer that you do not need to attend Court / there is no risk of disqualification, it also states that if the Magistrates feel that an attendance is required, you will be subsequently notified.
If you do face disqualification by way of an instant ban, for example because the speed alleged is substantially in excess of the limit, the Court is unlikely to deal with the matter in your absence.
Equally, if you face a totting up disqualification, the Court will subsequently offer a personal attendance.
If it is clear to us when reviewing your case that written mitigation will not be accepted, we will advise you appropriately.
The Court have 3 options:
- Accept your mitigation and impose penalty points and a fine; or
- Reject your mitigation and issue a hearing date for a personal attendance; or
- Reject your mitigation and issue a Notice of Proposed Driving Disqualification.
You should instruct Motor Lawyers is as soon as you receive the Court process, whether it be a Single Justice Procedure Notice, Summons or Postal Requisition.
We can then prepare a Plea of Mitigation for you immediately.
Bear in mind, that whichever process you receive will be subject to a time limit, so do not delay.
However, there is no benefit to instructing us until you actually have Court paperwork, as we will need to see the Court documents to assist you.
Subject to availability, we can normally allocate an appointment within 24 hours and provide your Plea of Mitigation within 24-48 hours thereafter.
In certain urgent cases, we may be able to assist immediately, but the earlier instructions are received, the easier it is to provide a convenient appointment and accommodate any other issues etc.
We suggest that you allow an hour so that every issue that you wish to raise or are concerned about, is dealt with.
A letter will be supplied to you as a Word/Adobe document for you to sign and send to the Court, either by letter or email, within 48 hours of our discussion.
If you feel that any amendments are required, please notify us.
We can then clarify the issues with you and revise the letter, if appropriate.
If a personal attendance has been demanded, the Court has already concluded that the case is too serious to be resolved by way of written mitigation, that could have been considered in your absence.
By allocating a personal hearing, the Court has allowed more time to consider your case and will expect more detailed mitigation than that which would have been required for a written plea.
If you need the case prepared for you, we recommend our Self Representation or Barrister Representation service.